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Missing in America

Men Who Helped Rescue Tennessee Girl Carlie Trent Donating Reward Money to Charity

Four of the men credited with helping to rescue a missing Tennessee girl are now donating their part of the $35,000 reward to local charities.

Carlie Trent Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

In May, Carlie Trent, 9, was picked up from her elementary school in Rogersville, Tennessee by Gary Simpson, her uncle by marriage. Simpson, 57, previously had custody of Carlie and her younger sister, but they had since been returned to their biological father.

The families lived next door to one another. There was no plan for Simpson to pick up the girl that day.

An Amber alert was issued, and hundreds turned out to join law enforcement in the search.

Four men, Roger Carpenter, Stuart Franklin, Larry Hamblen and Donnie Lawson, were among the group. The four friends spent several days combing the countryside before acting on hunch that they should search along rural trails on properties that were so remote, they were "only accessible by four-wheel drive," police said.

It was there, eight days after the little girl vanished, that they discovered Simpson and Carlie.

"It was God leading us," Carpenter told NBC affiliate WBIR. "That was not luck, and somebody would have a hard time convincing me that that was luck."

Simpson was arrested and charged with "especially aggravated kidnapping." His next court appearance is scheduled for September 14.

Carlie Trent (right) and two of the men who helped rescue her. WBIR

Tuesday, Carpenter, Franklin, Hamblen and Lawson announced they have decided to donate the $35,000 of money raised for finding Carlie to local charities that help children, including chapters of the Boys and Girls Club, Camp Hope for Kids and the Imagination Library. None of the men is keeping any of the fund for themselves, they said.

The four men have reportedly stayed in contact with Carlie and her family.

Related: Missing Tennessee Girl Carlie Trent Found, Uncle Nabbed