Authorities continue the search for two children initially thought to have died in a house fire that claimed the lives of their grandparents.
More then 50 people from various law enforcement and rescue agencies have descended on the small Tennessee community of Unionville to continue their search for Chloie Leverette, age 9, and her brother Gage Daniel, age 7. The children were thought to have been killed in a fire that destroyed their grandparent's home on Sunday. Two bodies were recovered from the remains of the home shortly after the fire. The bodies have been tentatively identified as Lean McClaran, 72 years-old, and his wife Millo McClaran, 70 years-old. Fire marshal investigators could not locate the remains of the children however.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the children were last seen by a neighbor around 6:30 pm on Sunday, September 23, 2012. Although the TBI has been working on several leads in the case, they have not yielded any results. Interviews conducted by the TBI indicate the two children were actually in the house at the time of the fire.
TBI officials told News Channel 5 no evidence of the children has been found at the fire scene and there is still no evidence that they are with anyone else.
Heavy machinery used earlier in the week to lift bulky pieces of debris turned the scene into what appears to be an archaeological dig. Family members and reporters are being kept back from the home so as to not disturb any potential evidence.
Agents from the TBI, the state's arson and bomb squad, Shelbyville Police Department detectives and Bedford County firefighters and sheriff deputies began painstakingly hand-sifting through the ashes and debris for any remains of the children on Wednesday. Benton County Sheriff Randall Boyce told the Times Gazette that nothing has been located.
A statewide Amber Alert was issued on Friday for the children after investigators spent a fifth day trying to determine if any remains of the children where in the fire debris, however the TBI said fire experts had come up empty.
Officials told WSMV they found at least 20 propane tanks in the basement of the house, which probably contributed to the intensity of the fire. Arson is not suspected, but authorities stated they may never know the cause of the fire.
Chloie Leverette and Gage Daniel
Chloie Leverette is a 9 year-old white female with brown hair and blue eyes. She is 4'8" and weighs 75 pounds. Gage Daniel is a 7 year-old male white with brown hair and hazel eyes. He is 4'0" and weighs 60 pounds. Anyone with information about Chloie or Gage are asked to please call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463).