On September 23, 2012, in Unionville, Tennessee, 72-year-old Leon “Bubba” McClaran and his wife, 70-year-old Mollie, had reached bed for the night. The couple had custody over their two grandchildren, half-siblings Chloie Leverette, 9, and Gage Daniel, 7. At nearly 9:30 that night, a neighbor aroused the authorities that McClaran’s house was fully destroyed by flames.
Firefighters fought the serious fire from Sunday night to Monday morning. When the fire was eventually extinguished, nothing but ashes was left of the spectacle. The fire was so severe that it melted metal and took 36,000 gallons of water to alleviate it. Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce said, “There wasn’t a chunk of that house left. There was nothing, absolutely nothing. All that was left of that home was a little bit of plastic dripped from the vinyl eaves. The rest drop in the basement and burned up.”
No Remains Of Daniel And Gage
Leon and Molli’s remains were regained and recognized by fire investigators that Monday. Nonetheless, the remains of the couple’s two grandchildren were never discovered. Investigators made every action to discover a trace of the kids. It is thought that the kids were home, as their neighbor noted that they saw them at nearly 6:30 that evening. Search teams searched the spectacle and infrared cameras connected to helicopters hovered over the property. All that was regained was one tooth, which could have belonged to either of the kids or their dog. When nothing definitive turned up, an Amber Alert for the two kids was issued. Kristin Helm, Spokeswomen for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said, “The fact that we don’t have enough evidence from fire detectives right now to positively infer that they perished in this fire, makes us want to make certain that they are not somewhere else.”
No Clue Of Gage And Daniel
As days progressed, there was still no clue of the kids. The fire’s cause or origin has never been deduced, but investigators presume it was accidental. Molli was on oxygen, was taking morphine, and tended to light cigarettes while in bed. Also, that special night was very cool, and they had various space heaters in their room. The couple was also hoarders, with uncountable items occupying huge amounts of space in their house, making it hard to pass through each room. Leon had once worked for a propane company and obtained castoff tanks, some of which were still holding fuel when the blaze set. While there was an indication the tanks had ruptured, there was no indication of an explosion.
Various specialists believe that it’s probable that the kids burned to ash in the fire. Nonetheless, other specialists argue otherwise. Dr. Mike Tabor, Chief Odontologist for the Medical Examiner’s Office, said, “I’m confident they [Chloie and Gage] weren’t in there. We were not eligible to discover any remains in the home fire. That belonged to the kids, so now we wonder, where are these children?” Dr. Tabor additionally mentioned that searchers found the untouched remains of the two family pets. A poodle and a cockatoo, so he thinks that, at the very least, identifiable teeth would have turned up.
Further information suggests that the kids may not have been in the home when the blaze set. Because they napped in the same area as their grandparents. So if they were in their room that night, they too should have been discovered. Nonetheless, there is no way to conclusively say whether or not the kids were asleep at the same time as their grandparents.
Another professional, Dr. William Bass, who founded the Body Farm research center at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, said, “When you cremate a corpse in a crematorium, and it is cooling down, when you open the door, you can still recognize the bones even if they are kids. A child’s skeleton includes many more bones than an adult skeleton, and bones and teeth shrink in size when uncovered to fire, so the bones that the investigators are looking for could be only a couple of inches long.” To note, cremations happen at around 1500 degrees, but fire specialists say it’s uncertain the house ever got that hot.
Cheryl Daniel, the mum of Chloie and Gage, thinks that her kids were kidnapped, and were not casualties of the fire. Cheryl said, “They did discover my mom, they discovered my dad; they found a cockatoo bird and a poodle. I think like if they were going to discover those bones, they would’ve found something of one of my kids, but nothing ever showed up.” Mary Lamb, Chloie and Gage’s aunt, added, “I think that somebody came. They [the McClarans] let them in, and I think whoever came, they did what they wished to do with the two [adults], and the home burned, and somebody took the children.”
Investigators queried everyone who knew the kids in some capacity, but investigators say they have no suspects. Cheryl has reportedly been cooperative with the media and law enforcement and Gage’s dad, Christopher Daniel. Chloe’s dad is reportedly deceased, and his individuality has not been disclosed. The precise reason why the kids had been living with their grandparents is uncertain, as the family has only reported that the kids “needed a home” and “their grandparents were generous people who adored their family.” The state Department of Children’s Services examined Cheryl and Christopher between 2006 and 2010, but the purpose has never been disclosed. It was later confirmed that the McClaran’s had supervision of the kids, but the Department of Children’s services has never taken supervision of them nor placed them in a house.
In 2018, Josh Devine, spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said, “From time to time, we’ll get advice, they’re vetted, and none to this point have proved useful in attempting to give closure to this case. This is a mystery. Fundamentally, we just don’t know what occurred here.” 6 years later, Chloie and Gage stay officially missing.