A Tennessee girl who went missing for more than a week was reportedly rescued by two men who held her suspected kidnapper at gunpoint.
Nine-year-old Carlie Marie Trent and her uncle by marriage, Gary Simpson, 57, were found on May 12 in a mountainous section of Hawkins County, Tennessee, Fox 4 News reports.
Simpson had checked Carlie out of school on May 4, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) spokesman Josh DeVine. He did not have custodial rights or permission to do so.
The public was asked to look in their barns and check their property for four-wheel trails. An Amber Alert was issued, and the FBI made the disappearance the case of the week on its website.
Simpson and Carlie were eventually located by a group of private citizens, which included Donnie Lawson and Roger Carpenter. Lawson is a farmer, and Carpenter, pictured below, is a Baptist pastor. One of the men in the group held Simpson at gunpoint while another called 911, TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at a news conference.
"These are two heroes who went on their property just to see if they were there," Gwyn said, according to Fox 4 News. "The public is who rescued Carlie and without their assistance I wouldn't be standing here tonight."
On May 10, Carlie’s father, James Trent, 39, had told WLTV that Simpson and his wife (James' sister) used to look after the 9-year-old.
“He had access to her every day, he was obsessed with her, he wanted her and he wanted her all to himself,” James said. “‘That’s a scary thing to think about.”
Trent also voiced concerns about how the kidnapping will affect her over time.
“It’d be a great moment [when she returns], but then again, it’s gonna be a scary moment because I’m just wondering how she’s going to be,” Trent explained.
“Is she going to be as happy as she was or is she going to be scared to death of everybody? That’s what I worry about, that she just won’t be the same.”
Carlie was taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out, Fox 4 News notes. She reportedly appeared to be in good health.
Simpson has been charged with aggravated kidnapping and could be facing other charges as well.