A farmer and a preacher approached a barn at the back of one of the men’s properties, and inside they found a completely unexpected scene. They immediately acted, and now they’re being hailed as heroes by the local community.
Farmer Donnie Lawson was out searching his property with Pastor Roger Carpenter on Thursday afternoon after local authorities alerted landowners in the area about a possible missing person in the area and told them to search their property. According to KDAF-TV, the two men approached a barn at the rear of Lawson’s land, and inside of it was a shocking scene – 9-year-old Carlie Trent, who was kidnapped last Wednesday, and her uncle were inside.
Trent had disappeared from school with her uncle, 57-year-old Gary Simpson, after he showed up and told officials that her father had been in an accident. The manhunt for Simpson and Trent started in Rogersville, Tennessee and on Thursday, came to an end in Hawkins County at Lawson’s farm.
When Lawson and Carpenter found Simpson and Trent, they evacuated the little girl to safety and held Simpson at gunpoint until authorities arrived.
“These are two heroes who went on their property just to see if they were there,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said. “The public is who rescued Carlie and without their assistance, I wouldn’t be standing here tonight.”
The search for little Carlie became intense after Simpson was caught on video at a Walmart purchasing some rather troubling items – “girls’ khaki pants, two shades of lipstick, two shades of nail polish, a pink folding camp chair, a purple child-sized nightgown, a bikini and a Fruit of the Loom brand girls’ multipack of underwear,” the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported.
Shortly after, Tennessee Bureau of Investigations spokesman Josh DeVine said in a news briefing that his agency believed Carlie to “be in imminent danger.” However, thanks to the two heroes at Lawson’s farm, she’s home safe with her family and her uncle will be brought to justice.
Carlie’s father, James Trent, credits both the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and both Carpenter and Lawson for finding his little girl.
“I was still positive these guys were going to find her because they were relentless in their search,” Trent said in a statement, according to WSMV-TV.
Normally we wouldn’t do a story like this, but the bravery and heroism of these two men deserves to be recognized by everyone. Thanks to their efforts, and the fact they were both armed, a scared little girl no longer has to worry and a man who could have had horrible intentions is in custody.
If that’s not a feel-good story, then I’m not entirely sure what is.