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Missing kids' mom insists they're alive

September 28th, 2013 12:27 pm by DAVID MELSON, Shelbyville Times-Gazette

Missing kids' mom insists they're alive

This file combo image made of in undated photographs provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows Chloie Leverette, 9, left, and Gage Daniel, 7, who haven't been seen since Sept. 23, 2012.

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — "I miss my children."

One year after Cheryl Leverette Daniel's children were last seen, shortly before a fire that destroyed her parents' home where they were staying, she holds on to hopes of seeing them again.

Chloie Leverette, 9, and Gage Daniel, 7, haven't been seen since Sept. 23, 2012, a few hours before the Kingdom Road home of their grandparents, Leon McClaran Sr., 72, and Mollie McClaran, 70, burned.

Partial remains of the McClarans were eventually identified by forensic scientists. No remains of the children have been recovered. They continue to be listed as "missing" by the Tennessee Bureau of Identification.

"We know that the children were not victims of the fire," Daniel said, naming a long list of law enforcement agencies and forensic specialists that have found no traces of remains.

"I want people to pray for them that guardian angels are watching over them."

The past year has been hard, Daniel says, after losing two parents and the disappearance of her children.

"Prayer and the Lord have kept me going. It's enough losing my parents, but for my kids to be missing...We miss our parents, very much so."

Sheriff Randall Boyce said a year of hoping and searching has been hard on him and his officers as well.

"We've lost more sleep over this than anything else since I've been sheriff. When it's children it touches home with all of us guys. I have grandchildren the same age. It touches our hearts."

His department, along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, continues the search for answers.

"We're still getting a few leads from people who think they know something, We still keep looking and hoping something turns up."

But one grim possibility exists, according to investigators.

"There's still that possibility that they burned up in the fire," Boyce said.

Daniel doesn't see it that way at all.

"They found the bones of my parents and the bones of a bird but no bones of my children," Daniel said.

"It's like after people saw the headline '4 dead in fire' they gave up looking for them because they (law enforcement) said they were dead. I don't want people to give up looking. They were not victims of the fire."

Boyce understands her feelings.

"We're going to continue to look. We're not going to take it for granted that they died. We're going to continue to look until we find something solid one way or the other."

Daniel's hopes remain strong.

"Everyone, please keep looking for them. Don't give up on them. They are out there somewhere. Call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND."

A reward fund, administered by Regions Bank's Shelbyville and Eagleville offices, is up to $3,000, Daniel said.


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