HURRICANE — A man who allegedly abducted a Tennessee girl last week may have been spotted Wednesday morning at a Hurricane grocery store, authorities said.
Hurricane City Police are investigating a tip on the possible sighting.
At approximately 10:24 a.m., a witness at Lin’s Marketplace located at 1120 W. State Street reported seeing a man who matched the description of a suspect involved in the missing child case that has been broadcast in an Amber Alert, Hurricane City Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said.
An endangered child alert was issued last Wednesday followed by an Amber Alert on Thursday for 9-year-old Carlie Marie Trent. Trent was reported missing last Wednesday from Rogersville, Tennessee.
According to the Amber Alert, Trent was removed from school on May 4 by her uncle-by-marriage, Gary Simpson, under false pretenses. Simpson has no custodial rights to Trent, authorities said.
The two are believed to be traveling in a white van with Tennessee tag 173GPS.
The witness reported they had seen the man fitting Simpson’s description at Lin’s at around 10 a.m., Buell said. While the witness said they didn’t see a girl with the man, they did see a white van but were unable to see the license plate information.
“The person reporting this was not absolute,” Buell said, “but concerned enough to call police.”
Although there is no definitive evidence at this time to confirm whether the man is the suspect in the case, Buell said police are taking the situation seriously. Officers responded to the area to interview possible witnesses. They are also collecting and reviewing surveillance footage.
This is an active and ongoing investigation, Buell said. Additional information will be released as it is made available.
Warrants have been issued for Simpson for Kidnapping, according to the Amber Alert.
Description of Simpson
- Name: Gary Simpson
- Age: 57 years old
- Race: Caucasian
- Height: 5’10″
- Weight: 157 pounds
- Hair color: Brown and balding
- Eye color: Brown
- 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.
Anyone with information about Trent or Simpson’s whereabouts, call 423-272-7555 or 1-800-TBI-FIND. Locally, call the Hurricane City Police Department at 435-627-4999 or 911.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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