ROGERSVILLE, TN (WJHL) – Child abduction suspect 58-year-old Gary Simpson appeared inside a Hawkins County courtroom this morning. The judge ordered Simpson not to have contact with Carlie Trent or her immediate family and not to come within 1000 feet of her or any place she may be such as her home or school.
Simpson is charged with felony aggravated kidnapping and violation of custodial interference. His next court date, a preliminary hearing, is scheduled for May 23 at 1:00 p.m.
Simpson told the judge that he has not worked in a long time, has a handicapped son and his only income comes from government assistance. So the judge will grant Simpson’s request to seek a public defender.
On May 4, Simpson checked Carlie out of school under false pretenses prompting an Amber Alert in our region. Carile and Simpson were found by citizens on a piece of property near Clinch Mountain in Gravely Valley Road in Hawkins County.
When asked if he understood the charges against him, Simpson told the judge that he did not understand why he is being charged with kidnapping.
“I’m charged with something her dad’s girlfriend does occasionally,” said Simpson.
In response, the judge went on to read statements from an affidavit of complaint from Carlie’s father who told investigators on the evening of May 4, that his daughter Carlie did not get off the bus at their home. Simpson, the child’s uncle, allegedly told school administrators that Carlie’s father had been in a car accident and that Carlie would not be at school the following day. The father told investigators, “It was not like Gary to not return home with Carlie and he had not given Gary permission to pick his child up.”