ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Carlie Trent is home with her family and Saturday the entire community celebrated with a party at the Rogersville city park.
The 9-year-old was the center of a national search effort after she was kidnapped by her non-custodial uncle, Gary Simpson on May 4.
What was supposed to be a large-scale search party Saturday, became a day of thanks.
“I think it’s amazing that one little girl can bring the whole community together,” said Rogersville resident, Shannon Hensley.
Volunteers spent over a week searching for Trent and Simpson. Four men from Rogersville found her eight days after she disappeared, on Gravely Valley Road in Hawkins County. They credit their faith is what led them to Trent and Simpson.
“I’m not a detective, I’m not a bounty hunter, but I am an old country boy,” said rescuer, Roger Carpenter. “I know the woods. I know how to track, and I had some of the best trackers in the world with me. When we went to the Clinch Valley area that day, we knew we were right. We knew it.”
“She’s a beautiful little girl, and thank God she is back safe,” said Carpenter.
The celebration included bouncy houses, games, food, and live music by The Gentlemen & Liars. People signed “Welcome Home” cards, banners, and Carlie had the opportunity to open presents from the community.
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