Baptist Minister Holds Kidnapper at Gunpoint, Frees 9-Year-Old Girl

An Amber Alert was issued May 5, 2016, for Carlie Marie Trent, age 9. (Photo: TBI)

Why don’t we see these stories in the headlines of newspapers and topping lead stories on news programs across the country?


Authorities confirmed 9-year-old Carlie Trent was found yesterday afternoon more than a week after she was kidnapped by her uncle in Tennessee. And wouldn’t you know it? A good guy with a gun held her kidnapper at gunpoint, freeing the little girl and alerting authorities to their whereabouts.

As part of the search efforts to find little Carlie Trent, local volunteers Donnie Lawson, Stuart Franklin, Larry Hamblen and Baptist Minister Roger Carpenter were searching a rural property out in Hawkins County. The men were acting on law enforcement appeals to search isolated areas on all-terrain vehicles search vehicles were unable to reach when they approached, and entered the property where 57-year-old Gary Simpson was holding Carlie, Franklin told the Daily News.

Carpenter, who was carrying a firearm on the search, held Simpson at gunpoint while Lawson called authorities. The remote area was only accessible by 4-wheelers and had limited cell phone service, said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn.

While the girl and her uncle were discovered just 20 miles from Rogersville, where Carlie had been in school last Wednesday, Franklin, one of the four men who ultimately found Carlie, said his group had ridden some 90 miles on ATVs searching over 40 rural properties Thursday.

He said they were about ready to give up for the day when they checked one last area in Gravelly Valley.


Franklin told The News he isn’t allowed to divulge details of the moment they found the girl, but thanked the community for their prayers.

“Prayers do work and the girl is safe now,” he said. “If there is hope in every situation like this when looking for missing people, every person in the community needs to do their part in looking and helping search buildings and places for missing folks.”


“I am very pleased and relieved tonight to announce that the AMBER Alert issued for the Rogersville Police Department on May 5, for Carlie Trent, has been successfully resolved,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said. “Carlie is safe tonight because an entire community pulled together and worked with law enforcement to bring her home.”


Carlie’s family issued the following statement just minutes after officials said she had been found, “We are so happy that God answered prayers today and Carlie is home safe.”

Just after 5:15 p.m. Thursday, the AMBER Alert was cancelled for Carlie Trent in Rogersville.

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