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Alleged Kidnapper Bought Camping Gear Before Abduction

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Investigators in the case where Gary Simpson, 57, allegedly kidnapped his niece, 9-year-old Carlie Marie Trent, from her elementary school in Tennessee, discovered he had bought camping supplies and clothes for a girl only days earlier.  

Simpson allegedly went shopping at a nearby Wal-Mart, where he purchased camping gear, girl's underwear, a bikini for a child and glitter cosmetics, reports New York Daily News. On May 4 he arrived at his niece's school, and according to school officials, claimed the girl's father had been in an accident. Carlie went off with her uncle and has not been seen since. 

Authorities say Simpson and his wife of 34 years had taken custody of Carlie and her younger sister while their father, a single parent, went back to work after a stint in prison.  

Carlie's father, 39-year-old James Trent, said Simpson and his wife -- Trent's sister -- had taken care of his two daughters before, and that he never could have imagined his brother-in-law would do something like this.  

"He'd go out of his way for me," Trent told Inside Edition. "He didn't give any clues he'd do this." Trent went on to theorize that "for some reason, he's developed this obsession with Carlie. There's a reason he chose her and not my other daughter. He had access to both of them every single day."  

Trent also claims his sister -- Simpson's wife -- is also in shock about the incident. "She's been with that man for that many years and lived that close in the home with him and never noticed anything out of the ordinary," he said. "We never saw this coming. It was a deep down evil inside him," said Trent.  

Trent says Simpson is not an experienced camper, but he was captured on a Wal-Mart store monitors purchasing camping gear, in addition to girl's clothing and cosmetics.  

Police issued an Amber Alert for Carlie, and believe the two are holed up in an "isolated area" such as a campground or park. Josh Devine of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation urged residents of eastern Tennessee to be on the lookout for the pair, as he believes the girl to be in "imminent danger."

Devine encouraged people who live in rural areas to go for a drive on their property to check for anything suspicious.  

"I'm very worried, I'm very concerned," Simpson's wife, Linda, told the New York Daily News. "I think she's in a lot of danger. I don't see why you would kidnap a kid if you weren't up to something bad."  

Authorities said Simpson may be driving a white van with a Tennessee registration of 173GPS. Carlie is 9 years old and 4 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 75 pounds. Gary Simpson is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 157 pounds.  He is balding with brown hair and eyes. Both are white. 

Sources: Daily Mail, Inside Edition, New York Daily News / Photo credit: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation via Daily News

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