TBI: National Amber Alert does not exist

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ROGERSVILLE (WATE) – In a press conference Tuesday, a spokesperson for TBI said local, state and federal law enforcement are helping with the Carlie Trent case. However, there is not a “national” Amber Alert in place.

There is no such thing as a “national” Amber Alert, according to TBI. “Tennessee and the contiguous states will only issue an Amber Alert if there is verifiable information that the child is actually in one of those states,” said TBI spokesman Josh DeVine.

TBI does not know if Carlie Trent and her uncle Gary Simpson have gone to another state and has not specifically asked any other agency to extend the Amber Alert. Despite this, the sheriff’s office in Cooper County, Missouri, issued an Amber Alert there after a possible sighting in the Otterville, Missouri, area on Monday. The alert was cancelled on Wednesday after the alleged sightings turned out to be false.

Related story: Tennessee Amber Alert extended to Missouri after possible sighting

DeVine said information has been given to organizations for missing children in surrounding states.

“Everyone across this southeast region and increasingly the nation knows who this girl is and knows to be on the lookout for her,” said DeVine.

TBI believes Gary Simpson could still be driving a white Dodge Conversion van with license plate 173-GPS. If you see it, call 911 immediately.

Two Amber Alerts have sadly been going on in Tennessee for years. One was issued in 2012 for two Bedford County children, Chloie Leverett, 9, and Gage Daniel, 7, who disappeared before a fire at their grandparents’ house. The other involves Zaylee Grace Fryar, who was only four months old when she disappeared in May 2011. Her mother was found dead on May 10, 2011 in Millersville, which is near Nashville.

Experts say the first 48 hours after a child goes missing are critical in the search.

“We always says that time is of the essence and of course with any missing child case the more time that goes by the more they are at risk especially with runaways,” said Ashley Iodice, spokeswoman for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, adding the center worked almost 14,000 missing child cases in 2015.

Private investigator Robert McCarter has worked missing child cases and says when a child goes missing, the parents have to immediately give law enforcement clear answers.

“Where was the child last seen? What was the child wearing? Who were they seen with last?” said McCarter.

If the abductor is family, more information is needed.

“If it’s a family member you want to look at their history their mental state what their capabilities are,” he said.

McCarter says you want to find the abductor as soon as possible.

“As time goes on of course they have a lot more opportunity to get under the radar 30 during this time of the year the summer time the foliage is really thick so lots of time people will go and hide in mountain areas,” he said.

McCarter said it’s also important to keep the community involved and to remember that children have been found, even if missing for years.

“Even though we say time is of the essence, it definitely does not mean that children are forgotten about or that we ever stop working their case,” said Iodice.

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