Lost in the Ashes

On the evening of September 23, 2012, EMTs respond to the report of a fire at a farmhouse in rural Tennessee. They arrive to find the McClaren home totally engulfed in flames. It is assumed that Bubba and Mollie McClaren and their two young grandchildren, Chloie, 9, and Gage, 7, were trapped inside. Their mother, Cheryl, arrives to the scene and watches in horror, assuming that all have perished. In the days following the fire, world-class investigators sift through the smoldering debris searching for the family’s remains. They find Cheryl’s parents and two family pets, but they do not find the remains of her children. The investigation pivots to support Cheryl’s theory that Chloie and Gage were actually kidnapped from the scene before the fire was intentionally set. An Amber Alert is immediately issued for the children. One year after the incident, there’s a sighting – and photo taken – of a young girl in a diner. Cheryl is convinced it’s Chloie. But authorities are unable to track down the child in the photo. Cheryl continues to hope that Chloie and Gage will someday return to her.

See digitally rendered age progression photos of Chloie and Gage below. If you have any information about their disappearance go to unsolved.com or email the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at [email protected].

Download a transcript of this episode


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    Lady J

    Christie M Groves, I was thinking the same. I 100% agree with you.


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    This reminds me of the case from Welch, OK of Ashley Freeman and Laura Bible from 1999. They were two teenagers best friends staying at one of their homes for a sleep over and a huge fire broke out. In the ashes they found one of their two parents shot to death by a shot gun but the girls were missing and have not been located.


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    Alisa O'Kelly

    @christie groves do you seriously think you’re more of an expert than a forensic anthropologist of 30+ years? Imbecile.


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    does anyone know where we can find the photo from the diner?


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    Christie M Groves

    I am certain the children died on that day in the fire as sad as this is. Oil Furnace Fires can burn at such hi levels they will destroy children and pets completely, I even know where safes have melted down to something that looks like coal. What ever caused this fire it was Hot and sudden, I can only suggest having an arson investigator or forensic investigator review the files and the autopsies on the pets and adults. I am trying to be realistic at how hot the fire was and depending where the children were it could have been hottest in that area. It sounds like the floor gave out and the Grandparents were on their way to see what was happening it could have been as simple as a back draft and the heat and the house exploded and the children were just blown up so bad as not to be found. It takes a very special crew and technology to sift through damage such as this. We need far more info for this to be a mystery. I hope the Mother gets the help she needs to resolve this so she can move on. Very sorry for the losses.


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    Ann Hashbarger

    I so hope these kids go home to their mother. Prayers for all of you. I’m so sorry this happened and can’t even imagine how devastating this has been.


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    Felix Chen

    Thank you for bringing renewed attention to this. I hope they are found safe soon <3


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    This is my hometown. So very sad, I pray that they are found one day.


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    This was such a sad story but I think these children may be alive based on what I heard and hope they are. Fingers crossed they are found.