Gary Simpson spending birthday on suicide watch, in solitary confinement

Simpson's bond has been set at $1 million

Gary Simpson (Hawkins County Sheriff's Office)

ROGERSVILLE (WATE/WJHL) – The man charged with the especially aggravated kidnapping of 9-year-old Carlie Trent is in solitary confinement at the Hawkins County jail and will likely remain there, according to Sheriff Ronnie Lawson.

In addition, District Attorney Dan Armstrong said Simpson’s bond has been set at $1 million. Simpson is scheduled to appear in Hawkins County General Sessions Court on Monday at 8:30 p.m.

Due to Gary Simpson’s uncertain mental state, the sheriff says his officers put the man in what’s called a “turtle suit” to prevent him from trying to kill himself. The vest makes it impossible for the inmate to use clothes to try and hang himself.

The sheriff expects Simpson will remain on suicide watch for roughly 24 hours. Private citizens found Trent and Simpson Thursday night. The Rogersville girl was previously the subject of a weeklong Amber Alert.

More: Amber Alert cancelled: Carlie Trent found, uncle Gary Simpson in custody

According to Simpson’s arrest warrant, Friday is the man’s 58th birthday. Simpson is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

Armstrong said they will be checking out Gary Simpson’s past, as well as interviewing other family members, to build their case against him. Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office has released the official warrant for Gary Simpson, who remains in custody. Simpson was charged with Especially Aggravated Kidnapping. TBI said he may face more charges.

Armstrong says the charge carries 15 to 60 years, if convicted. The sentence will also depend on Simpson’s criminal record.

He said they will be checking into Simpson’s past actions with children, if there are any.

“We were very concerned about some of the purchases he made, especially the lipstick and makeup,” Armstrong said. “That always causes red flags to go up when you’re purchasing that kind of stuff for a 9-year-old.”

According to the Affidavit, Simpson was charged after picking Carlie Trent, 9, up from school on May 4, 2016. At 5:17 p.m. Carlie Trent’s father, James Trent called Rogersville Police after his daughter did not get off the bus.

After reviewing video, investigators discovered Gary Simpson had picked up Carlie Trent at 1:25 p.m., telling school staff that James had been in a vehicle accident and the child would probably not be at school the next day. James Trent said he had not been in an accident and had not given Gary Simpson permission to pick up his daughter on that date.

“Statistics tell us that usually it doesn’t end well when a child’s been gone this long, so we are very grateful that she’s been found,” Armstrong said. “We don’t know at this point everything she’s been through, but we do know that she’s going to have a lot to overcome.”

Armstrong said new information on the case will be limited, but he thanked the public for their help.

“We have to balance the public’s right to know with the defense, the defendant’s right to a fair trial, so our comments will be somewhat limited,” he said. “But we are certainly thankful with the help we’ve received from the public.”

Arrest warrant

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