Carlie's pediatrician puts up $10,000 reward for her safe return

Jeff Bobo • Updated May 7, 2016 at 2:38 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Missing 9-year-old Carlie Trent’s pediatrician, Dr. Chris Calandine, said Saturday if the $10,000 reward he has posted can shorten Carlie’s ordeal by just 10 minutes, it will be money well spent.

Carlie has been missing since Wednesday afternoon when her uncle by marriage, 57-year-old Gary Simpson, picked her up from school under false pretenses.

The two haven’t been seen since, and remain the subject of a massive search.

An Amber Alert was issued for Carlie Thursday morning and a kidnapping warrant has been issued for Simpson.

Calendine told the Times-News Saturday he’d been in touch with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and he was struck by how little information was streaming in to investigators from tipsters.

He noted that although he’s never had much interaction with Simpson, he did recall that it was always Simspson who brought Carlie to her doctor’s appointments.

Calendine said the main reason he’s putting up a $10,000 reward is in hopes that it will help spread the news about Carlie to areas where cell phones, TVs and Internet aren’t available.

“The TBI told me they hadn’t had a lot of information coming in, and they felt like (his reward) might open up some of the information,” Calendine said. “I’ve been impressed with the word getting out about her, but it’s frustrating there’s not more information coming back.”

Calendine added, “To be honest, Mr. Simpson didn’t seem like the kind of person who had the means to go very far. In my heart I hope he just headed across the (Clinch) Mountain. You think to yourself, how could anybody not know about this, but you go across the knob into Clinch and cell phones don’t work, there’s no cable or Internet, and people aren’t using Facebook as much.”

On Friday the TBI released video surveillance of Simpson purchasing camping equipment at the Rogersville Walmart Wednesday shortly before picking up Carlie. Newly released video Saturday shows Carlie and Simpson putting food into a cart at the Rogersville Save-A-Lot store shortly after he picked her up from school. 

The TBI said Friday it is suspected Simpson had taken Carlie to a remote location.

Calendine said if his $10,000 can shorten this ordeal for her by just 10 minutes it will be money well spent.

“I just know her from the clinic, but she’s a precious little girl,” Calendine said. “She’s just a sweetheart. Quiet. Always smiling, and the last couple of visits it seemed like she always had a tooth missing. We never saw her for anything other than routine type visits, and there was never any indication at the clinic that this child was at risk in any way.

If you have seen the Carlie, Simpson, or Simpson’s van, please call the Rogersville Police Department at 423-272-7555 or TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

On Wednesday, May 4 at 1:25 p.m., Simpson, removed Carlie from Hawkins Elementary School under false pretenses, claiming that her father had been badly injured in an accident.

Although Simpson and his wife have had temporary custody of Carlie in the past, and he is on the list of people approved to pick her up from school, Simpson currently has no custodial rights to Carlie.

TBI spokeman Josh DeVine said Saturday agents and intelligence analysts continue to work to validate more than 100 tips received since issuing the AMBER Alert on Thursday morning.

“At this time, however, there have been no credible sightings of Carlie Trent, Gary Simpson, or the van in which investigators believe the two may be traveling,” DeVine said in a press release Saturday. “Though their whereabouts are currently unknown, investigative efforts suggest they may be out of public view and in an isolated area, such as a campground or park.”

Carlie is 4’8″ tall, weighs 75 lbs with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a black and grey tank top and blue jeans.

Simpson is a 57-year-old white male, 5’10” tall, weighing 157 lbs.

He is balding and has brown hair and eyes.

He was last seen wearing a brown cap, a dark colored shirt and jeans.

He was last seen driving a white 2002 Dodge Conversion Van with TN registration 173-GPS.

The van has a dark stripe down the middle with light gold running boards and paint is chipping off of the hood. Warrants have been issued for Simpson for Kidnapping.

In addition to Dr. Calendine’s $10,000 reward, on Friday the U.S. Marshal’s Service indicated they were offering $2,500 in reward money for information leading to the child and the capture of Gary Simpson.

“We continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and alert law enforcement if they see the child, the suspect, or the van involved in this incident,” DeVine said. 

RELATED: Father expresses fears for missing 9-year-old Hawkins girl taken from school                         

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