Thursday, August 1, 2013


Two Tenn. kids thought dead in house fire now believed missing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee investigators are trying to
locate two children who were initially believed to be dead but their
bodies were not found at the scene of a weekend fire at a farmhouse that
killed their step-grandparents.
The Tennessee
Bureau of Investigation issued an endangered child alert on Wednesday
for 9-year-old Chloie Leverette and 7-year-old Gage Daniel under "under
an abundance of caution."
"As time moves on, we don't want to
miss our opportunity to locate them if they were not in the house,"
said TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm.
Bedford County Sheriff Randall
Boyce said investigators did find the bodies of 72-year-old Leon
McClaran and his 70-year-old wife, Molli McClaran, as well as the
remains of a dog.
The two children who lived at the house were
initially believed to have perished in the intense fire, which
firefighters battled overnight Sunday and early Monday. But their
remains were not found in the rubble.
Investigators said
neighbors last saw the children Sunday evening, hours before a fire
destroyed the home in Bedford County, about 40 miles southeast of
Helm said there is no evidence yet that the children
were not in the house, but investigators are speaking with family
members, friends and people at the children's school.
The State
Fire Marshal's Office said in a statement "that there are no remains of
the two children in the structure. The children's location at this time
is unknown." Its investigators will determine a cause.
anthropologists and cadaver dogs searched through the rubble for the
bodies and the Tennessee Highway Patrol used a helicopter to search the
surrounding area.
Family members told The Associated Press that
the McClarans were raising their step-grandchildren because the kids
needed a home and described the McClarans as generous people who loved
their family. Relatives of the McClarans said the girl also used the
last name Pope.
The state Department of Children's Services
investigated the mother of the two children and Daniel's father between
2006 and 2010, said spokesman Brandon Gee. Gee would not release the names of the parents nor say why the parents
were investigated. He confirmed that the McClarans had custody of the
two children, but he said DCS never took custody of the children nor
placed them in a home.

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