HURRICANE — A possible sighting in Hurricane Wednesday of a man who allegedly abducted a 9-year-old Tennessee girl last week turned out to be false, authorities said.
Hurricane City Police investigators had been in contact with Tennessee investigators Wednesday to share video surveillance, details and other information regarding the incident gathered by local police, Hurricane City Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said Wednesday afternoon.
An endangered child alert was issued last week followed by an Amber Alert for Carlie Marie Trent. Trent was reported missing from Rogersville, Tennessee, after she was removed from school on May 4 by her uncle-by-marriage, Gary Simpson, under false pretenses.
The two are believed to be traveling in a white van with Tennessee tag 173GPS.
Hurricane City Police were investigating after a witness reported seeing a man fitting Simpson’s description at Lin’s Marketplace located at 1120 W. State Street at around 10 a.m., Buell said. The witness told police of seeing a man with a white van, but a girl was not seen with him.
Officers responded to the area to interview possible witnesses and to collect surveillance footage, later determining that the man wasn’t Simpson.
A separate reported sighting of Simpson and Trent on Tuesday was also determined by authorities to be unfounded. It had been reported that Trent was seen with Simpson in a canoe on the Lamine River in Missouri. However, that report was investigated and found to be untrue.
Simpson previously had custody of Carlie Trent and her younger sister up until recently, when they were returned to their biological father, James Trent. Simpson currently has no custodial rights to Carlie Trent, authorities said.
Warrants have been issued for Simpson’s arrest for Kidnapping, according to the Amber Alert.
“As with any Amber Alert, please be aware of the details provided in them and,” Buell said, “if you see the vehicle, suspect, or have other information you believe to be related, contact police immediately.”
Anyone with information about Trent or Simpson’s whereabouts, is asked to call 423-272-7555 or 1-800-TBI-FIND.
- Name: Gary Simpson
- Age: 57 years old
- Race: Caucasian
- Height: 5’10″
- Weight: 157 pounds
- Hair color: Brown and balding
- Eye color: Brown
Description of Trent
- Name: Carlie Marie Trent
- Age: 9 years old
- Race: Caucasian
- Height: 4’8″
- Weight: 75 pounds
- Hair color: Blonde
- Eye color: Blue
Description of vehicle
- Make: Dodge
- Model: RAM 1500 van
- Year: 2002
- Color: White
- License plate: TN 173GPS
- Distinguishing marks: Dark stripe down the middle with light gold running boards with paint chipping off of the hood.
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