On the year her children would have turned old enough to drive and graduate high school, Cheryl Daniel holds out hope of one day seeing her two children again.
“I can still feel them. It’s not as strong as it was; it’s like they’re further away from me I guess maybe, but I feel that they are alive,” Daniel said.
On the night of September 23, 2012, 7-year-old Gage Daniel and 9-year-old Chloie Leverette were living with their grandparents in Bedford County when a fire broke out at the home. The remains of both grandparents, a dog, and even the remains of a small pet bird were found. But, there were no signs of Gage or Chloie.
“Nothing, not a tooth, not a morsel, not anything,” Daniel said.
That prompted the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to issue an Amber Alert, and nearly 9 years later, they still consider this a missing persons case, not a death investigation. Last year, the TBI shared an age-progressed photo of Gage and Chloie, who would now be 16 and 18.
“I talked to the crematorium, and they said to cremate a body, it has to be 5000 degrees. My mom and dad’s house was just 1800 degrees. And [even after] they cremate the body, there’s still a muscle and there are a couple bones they have to grind because it will not burn,” Daniel said. “There would have been something left. They would have found something of Chloie and Gage.”
Multiple experts were brought in to sift through the debris several times; each time verifying the children’s remains were not missed.
Daniel believes the fire was set on purpose.
“This is a true fact. My parents, they would’ve… they died fighting for my children. I do not believe the fire was the cause of it, because there’s no way anybody would have got my babies without killing them.”
For anyone who has any idea where her children might be, Daniel begs them to pass it along somehow.
“Just pick up the phone, say where they’re at, you don’t have to give your name, number, nothing like that,” Daniel said. “I’m on Facebook messenger, they can send it to me.”
When her children went missing, Daniel was battling addiction, from which she’s come full circle and now serves as a certified peer recovery specialist.
What matters to her now is getting her children home.
Daniel said continued, “Nobody should ever have to go through this, and I would love for them to put themselves in my shoes just for a few minutes and feel what I feel and that would change their mind. That would bring them home.”
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With these children missing for so long, the TBI asks for any information that could help solve the case. They would especially be interested in talking to anyone who was in the area of Kingdom Road in Bedford County on September 23 or 24, 2012.
Tips can be submitted by calling 1-800-TBI-FIND or by emailing TipsToTBI@tn.gov.
On July 11, Daniel plans to have an event the public is welcome to attend to celebrate Chloie and Gage’s birthdays.