Uncle’s motive for kidnapping 9-year-old still unclear

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Gary Simpson and Carlie Trent image from Tribune Media

ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities are trying to determine why an East Tennessee man charged with aggravated kidnapping disappeared for more than a week with his 9-year-old niece.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn told news outlets that Gary Simpson is being interviewed to determine what transpired over the last eight days.

Two men searching the back country of northeastern Tennessee on Thursday found Carlie Trent, who had been missing since Simpson signed her out of school May 4.

Gwyn said Donnie Lawson and Stewart Franklin were acting on law enforcement appeals to search isolated areas on all-terrain vehicles when they found the two in a barn. Franklin held Simpson at gunpoint while Lawson went to call police.

Gwyn said there were no indications that Carlie was harmed, but she was being checked as a precaution.