Gary Simpson made his first court appearance early Monday morning after allegedly abducting nine-year-old Carlie Trent on May 4, 2016.
The search for Carlie lasted eight days after Gary, her uncle by marriage, picked her up from school under false pretenses.
Gary reportedly told the Rogersville Elementary School office that her father, James Trent, was in a bad car accident and that she would most likely be out the following day, as well.
On May 12, 2016, Carlie Trent was found alive by two east Tennessee natives, clutching a teddy bear in a remote part of the Tennessee mountains just twenty miles from where her family resided.
After Carlie was finally returned to her father, all eyes focused on her Uncle Gary. Why, after having unlimited access to both her and her sister in the first place, did he take his nine-year-old niece without telling anyone?
According to WJHL, the answer to that question is still a mystery, but Gary's first court appearance did give people a small glimpse into what he was thinking when he reportedly kidnapped Carlie almost two weeks ago.
After the judge formally charged him with felony aggravated kidnapping and violation of custodial interference, the 58-year-old was asked if he understood the charges that were being brought against him.
Simpson admitted that he didn't understand why he was bring charged with kidnapping.
“From what I understand I’m charged with something her dad’s girlfriend does occasionally," Simpson replied.
Simpson has been in solitary confinement since he was first brought to the Hawkins County Jail. His bond remains at $1 million, and he isn't allowed to have any contact with Carlie or her family.