Missing children Chloie Leverette, 9, left, and Gage Daniel, 7, are seen in undated photographs provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. / AP
NASHVILLE — Police in Middle Tennessee continue to search for leads in the case of two children who have been missing since their home was destroyed by an intense fire last week.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued a statewide Amber Alert on Friday for 9-year old Chloie Leverette and 7-year old Gage Daniel after investigators spent a fifth day trying to determine if there were any remains of the children in the fire debris. TBI said fire experts had come up empty.
TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said that agents continue to “develop investigative leads” but were not searching Saturday at the site of the blaze about 50 miles southeast of Nashville.
TBI has said the children were living with their grandparents. Two bodies tentatively identified as 72-year-old Leon “Bubba” McClaran and his wife, 70-year-old Molli McClaran, were recovered Monday and have been sent to the Nashville medical examiner’s office for autopsy. She was the children’s maternal grandmother, he their step-grandfather.
“I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to think,” Christopher Daniel, Gage’s father, told The Associated Press in a brief telephone interview Friday. “They don’t think that they burned up in the fire, the way I took it they don’t.”
Daniel, his voice breaking, said he had no idea what could have happened to the children, who have not been seen since before the fire on Sept. 23.
TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said Friday that the alert had not been sent to other states.
“We don’t know where they are,” Helm said Friday. “We don’t have any indication that they’re in another state.”
Multiple fire experts had processed the debris of the incinerated farmhouse, located in horse country roughly 50 miles southeast of Nashville. No trace of the children was found, the TBI said in a news release announcing the alert.
On Wednesday, when officials still had not found evidence of the children’s remains in the debris, TBI issued an endangered child alert.
Helm said Friday the TBI does not have any direct evidence that the children are victims of foul play. She said there are no persons of interest in the case and that investigators are following all leads, but she would not elaborate.
Forensic teams from Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville had been brought in to help in the search.
Christopher Garrett, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshal’s office, said he did not have any information on a cause of the fire