PETERSBURG, Va. -- Eight days after Gary Simpson reportedly checked his non-biological niece out of school under false pretenses, two men found the nine-year-old girl and her alleged abductor safe.
Roger Carpenter said he, Stewart Franklin, Larry “Hambone” Hamblen and Donnie Lawson had been searching for Carlie for the past three days.
Franklin found Carlie carrying a teddy bear while riding an ATV through a rugged area of Hawkins County, which belongs to Lawson's brother. One of the men held Simpson at gunpoint while Lawson called 911.
Investigators activated an Amber Alert shortly after Simpson disappeared with Carlie and word spread rapidly on social media.
Dyeisha Tucker, who lives in Petersburg, can relate to what Carlie’s family is going through.
“Every time I see an Amber Alert, it's like pins and needles for me,” she said.
Police issued an Amber Alert in April of last year when her daughter’s dad, who did not have custody of the little girl, abducted her.
“Each hour, minute that passes, you think about where you child is, what condition they are in,” Tucker said.
Thankfully, Kaleya Ketter was found within 24 hours.
But, Carlie’s family waited for more than a week.
“I'm literally shaking because I can't imagine eight days,” Tucker said.
Investigators said Carlie appeared to be “OK,” but she was sent to the hospital to be treated.
“The best advice I could give is keep faith cuz God got it,” Tucker said.
Simpson was charged with aggravated kidnapping, but investigators said he may face additional charges if warranted.