Search for Missing 9-Year-Old Girl Taken Out Of School By Her Uncle Enters Fifth Day
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said on Monday it is shifting its resources to continue the search for 9-year-old Carlie Trent, saying time is of the essence to locate the little girl who was taken from school by her uncle five days ago.
“We’re establishing a command center in Rogersville,” TBI Public Information Officer Josh DeVine told InsideEdition.com, adding that investigators believe the girl is in "imminent danger."
The TBI’s decision to add to their boots on the ground in Trent’s hometown came as there continued to be no credible sighting of Trent, her uncle Gary Simpson, 57, or the white Dodge van in which they were believed to be traveling.
“When we issue an Amber Alert in Tennessee… there are normally hundreds and hundreds of tips. That is not the case with this particular instance,” DeVine said. The bureau has received about 150 tips in total, none of which has been credible, he said.
Trent was taken from school Wednesday after Simpson lied that her father had been badly injured in a car accident, police said.
Simpson, who was an uncle by marriage, had signed parental permission to pick up Trent from her elementary school and once had custodial rights. Trent is now under the care of her biological father, who has sole custody, DeVine said.
Simpson, who has no criminal record, was captured on video purchasing camping equipment Wednesday, officials said.
“Investigative efforts suggest they may be out of public view and in an isolated area, such as a campground or park,” the TBI said in a release.
A reward for information that leads to finding Trent had reached $12,500 by Monday, as the little girl’s pediatrician added $10,000 to the U.S. Marshal’s Service’s $2,500 reward.
Dr. Chris Calendine had previously planned to use the money to buy a boat, but said he would rather see it go toward bringing Trent home, officials said.
A Nashville musician also reportedly offered to add $2,500 to the reward, but the TBI has not spoken with him, DeVine said.
“At the end of the day, we just want this child home,” DeVine told IE.com. “Her family wants her home, her community wants her home.”
A woman who identified herself as Trent’s mother issued an emotional plea on Facebook for the safe return of her daughter, writing on Sunday. “All I want for Mother’s Day is to find Carlie! I’m gonna be driving around all day in search for her! Please pray for Carlie to return safe today!” she wrote.
DeVine stressed that the public’s efforts to locate the little girl are crucial. Tennessee has between a 97 and 98 percent success rate in locating a child when an Amber Alert is issued, thanks in big part to the public’s vigilance, DeVine said.
“It’s absolutely critical,” DeVine said of the community’s assistance. “We believe the child to be in imminent danger.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.