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Gage Daniel and Chloie Leverette: Amber alert issued for Tenn. kids missing since fire

This combination of undated photos provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows Gage Daniel, 7, left, and Chloie Leverette, 9. The two children, initially believed to have perished in a Tennessee farmhouse fire along with their step-grandparents, are now considered missing and in danger, investigators said on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the remains of Leverette and Daniel were not found and the agency issued an endangered child alert for them on Wednesday afternoon. Investigators said neighbors last saw the children Sunday evening, Sept. 23, 2012, hours before a fire destroyed the home in Bedford County about a half-hour from Nashville.
AP Photo/Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Gage Daniel (left) and Chloie Leverette (right)
AP Photo/Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

(CBS/AP) NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Authorities in Tennessee issued a statewide Amber Alert on Friday for 9-year-old Chloie Leverette and 7-year-old Gage Daniel, who have been missing since their home was destroyed by an intense fire.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation sent out the alert late Friday evening after investigators spent a fifth day trying to determine if there were any remains of the children in the fire debris.

The children were living with their grandparents at the house that burned a week ago Sunday night and early Monday.

"I don't know what to think. I don't know what to think," Christopher Daniel, Gage's father, told The Associated Press. "They don't think that they burned up in the fire, the way I took it they don't."

Daniel said he had no idea what could have happened to the children, who have not been seen since before the fire Sunday evening.

Two bodies tentatively identified as 72-year-old Leon "Bubba" McClaran and his wife, 70-year-old Molli McClaran, were recovered last Monday and have been sent to the Nashville medical examiner's office for autopsy. She was the children's maternal grandmother and he was their step-grandfather.

TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said the alert has not been sent to other states.

"We don't know where they are," Helm said. "We don't have any indication that they're in another state."

Multiple fire experts had processed the debris of the incinerated farmhouse and 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 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 would not elaborate.

Forensic teams from Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville were brought in to help in the search.

More on CrimesiderSeptember 27, 2012 - Gage Daniel and Chloie Leverette: Two Tenn. kids believed dead in house fire now thought missing