Carlie Trent Reunites With Her Rescuers As Her Uncle Appears in Court On Kidnapping Charge
Hundreds flocked to welcome home 9-year-old Carlie Trent, the Tennessee girl who was missing for more than a week after she was allegedly abducted by her uncle.
"Took my breath away. The most beautiful little girl," said Roger Carpenter, one of four men who helped rescue the child Thursday after they found her in a remote area of Hawkins County.
"It's unreal. Unreal. Beyond imagination to me," said Larry Hamblen, who also was part of the search, according to CBS affiliate WVLT-TV.
The community of Rogersville gathered in droves for a welcome home party Saturday. Many were moved to tears recounting her alleged kidnapping and safe return.
"They missed her and I'm just glad that she got to come back home," Jason Goins told the station.
Carlie played with other children, had her face painted and seemed a bit taken aback by all the attention.
She sprayed Silly String at the TV station's camera while a reporter asked her questions.
"Well, I mostly like playing on my trampoline, playing basketball," the girl said. "I like ... looking around the yard and like, finding stuff interesting."
Her father, James, said he wanted to express his gratitude to the men who found his daughter. "Just to come up and say thank you is just an understatement," he said. "I just wanted to make sure I gave them both a hug and know that I appreciate them for everything they done to bring my girl home," he said.
Meanwhile, his brother-in-law, the man accused of kidnapping Carlie from her elementary school, had his first court appearance Monday.
Gary Simpson is led into court Monday
Gary Simpson, 58, sat shackled in a Hawkins County courtroom and said he did not understand the count of especially aggravated kidnapping filed against him.
After the judge read the charge in its entirety, Simpson responded, "I'm charged with something that her dad's girlfriend does occasionally," he said.
The judge granted his request for a public defender. Simpson, who said he was indigent, did not enter a plea. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 23.
Simpson is being held in lieu of $1 million bail. If he posts bond, the judge ordered Simpson to stay away with from the Trent family and not to contact them in any way.