ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. - A man accused of abducting his 9-year-old niece bought a little girl's bathing suit, a pack of underwear, two bottles of nail polish, two tubes of women's colored lip gloss and other items, before taking the child out of her school in rural Tennessee and fleeing on May 4, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Video surveillance released Tuesday by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that is taken from another store on that same day in Rogersville shows Carlie Marie Trent with her uncle in a checkout line at a Save-A-Lot store. The uncle, Gary Simpson, can be seen purchasing large quantities of toilet paper, food and other items.
Simpson has no intention of bringing her home anytime soon, based on the way he was stocking up, Josh DeVine, a spokesman for the TBI said.
The agency has received about 600 tips that involve possible sightings of the girl in 11 different states, he said, but none of the sightings have been confirmed.
The Cooper County, Missouri, Sheriff's office issued an Amber Alert for the girl on Tuesday after someone saw something Monday on the Lamine River in Clifton, according to the sheriff's office Facebook page. Law enforcement swarmed the area with boats, aircraft and manpower, but the van spotted was not the same one that belongs to Simpson, un updated post on the page said.
The girl had previously been in the custody of Simpson and his wife, who both lived close by to the girl's biological father, DeVine said. However, he said, the father regained custody of her back in 2015. It's not clear why she was living with the uncle and why she was returned to the father. Rob Johnson, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, said in an email that he could not provide any details because of confidentiality laws.
The pictures released by the TBI showed items that Sampson, 57, had purchased before taking the girl, DeVine said. In addition to the child's bikini, they include an outdoor chair, a throw blanket and a pack of child's underwear. In the surveillance video taken at a Save-A-Lot store, the girl can be seen behind a cart at the checkout, while Simpson places groceries on the counter. At one point he hands her what appears to be two soft drinks.
Officials believe he may have taken the girl to a campsite or isolated area.
Carlie is 4 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 75 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Simpson is balding, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 157 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. He often wears a hat. Both are white.
Authorities said they may be in a white van with a Tennessee registration of 173GPS.