NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After an eight-day AMBER Alert, little Carlie Trent from East Tennessee is finally back home.
“She’s doing great. She’s absolutely doing great,” her pediatrician Dr. Chris Calendine told WISH-TV’s sister station WKRN.
The 9-year-old was released from the hospital Friday after being found in a remote, wooded area with her uncle the day before.
Gary Simpson is charged with especially aggravated kidnapping in her disappearance after he picked her up from school on May 4 and vanished, setting off an extensive search.
While she was missing, Carlie’s pediatrician vowed a $10,000 reward for information that led to her safe recovery.
The doctor doesn’t expect to see Carlie until early next week but said he spoke to her aunt earlier Friday.
“She is thrilled with her new teddy bears that have come from law enforcement, the hospital and different sources,” Calendine said with a smile. “She has her favorite blanky, that was in her backpack, but she is doing great.”
He spoke highly of the two men who found and rescued Carlie, saying “they are amazing” for what they did.
She was located by Donnie Lawson and Stewart Franklin, who set out to search remote, wooded property in the Clinch Valley area with two other friends, Roger Carpenter and Larry Hamblen.
“They are amazing. These gentlemen, they were looking from day one.” Dr. Calendine told News 2. “This had nothing to do with reward money; they wanted this little girl home. They had been out day and night for seven days straight.”
The pediatrician echoed what others have said about the area Carlie was found—it was remote, hard to find, and difficult to travel.
Calendine said there was a gate on the property where a vehicle would fit, but the men didn’t notice any tire tracks and passed over searching the area one day.
The next day—the day they found Carlie—they decided to search the area anyway, according to the doctor.
Once they found her, Calendine says they secured Simpson with a belt and held a gun on him while they contacted authorities.
“But it’s an area where you don’t have cell service, so bless their hearts, one of the gentlemen they had to leave with [Simpson] and the other had to go down to an area where they had cell service where they can call,” he explained.
As for Simpson, he remains in solitary confinement at the Hawkins County Jail.
Due to his uncertain mental state, officers put him in what’s called a “turtle suit” to prevent him from trying to kill himself. He will remain on suicide watch for the next 24 hours.
According to court documents, Friday is his 58th birthday.