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SKELETAL REMAINS OF CHILD FOUND IN ROANE COUNTY, TWO ARRESTED

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The 9th District Attorney General’s Office announces that two suspects are in custody as part of an ongoing investigation involving 63-year-old Michael Anthony Gray, Sr. and 60-year-old Shirley Gray of 1275 Dry Fork Valley Road in the Ten Mile community of Roane County.

The investigation is being conducted by the Roane County Sheriff’s Office and the 9th District Child Crimes Unit with the cooperation of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and other law enforcement agencies. The 9th District Attorney General’s Office emphasizes that, even though arrests of the two named individuals have been made, there is still more to be done. District Attorney General Russell Johnson stated that he does anticipate further charges and that “there is still more forensic evidence to be analyzed by the investigators and forensics experts which will still need to be reviewed by the prosecutors”.

The horrific discovery started to unfold this past Friday when a 911 call was made regarding a boy walking in the street near Dry Fork Valley Road. An officer found the child and made contact with his parents at their home.

Deputies found three children living in the home ranging in age from 11 to 15 under reportedly adverse conditions. Authorities say that is when the father, Michael Gray Sr., allegedly admitted to burying a deceased female child on the property.

Saturday morning around 3 a.m., officers discovered the remains. The cause of death is under investigation. It’s not clear at this time when she was buried.

The children were reportedly adopted by Michael Gray Sr. and his wife Shirley and are not the biological parents.

Charges have been taken by warrant against Michael Anthony Gray, Sr. by the Roane County Sheriff’s Office for two counts of Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, two counts of Aggravated Child Abuse, three counts of Aggravated Child Neglect, and a single charge of Abuse of a Corpse.

Charges have been taken by warrant against Shirley Gray by the Roane County Sheriff’s Office for two counts of Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, two counts of Aggravated Child Abuse, three counts of Aggravated Child Neglect, and a single count of Abuse of a Corpse.

District Attorney General Johnson publicly thanked the lead investigators – RCSO Lt. Detective A.E. ‘Art’ Wolff, RCSO Detective John Mayes and 9th District Child Crimes Unit Agent Cortney Dugger – for their nearly ‘round-the-clock’ efforts since the situation involving the Gray family came to law enforcement attention from DCS on Friday evening. Also, he thanked the Child Advocacy Center of the 9th District and the forensics interviewer, Kari Watkins, for conducting nearly day-long interviews of three minor children yesterday.

Also, Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan of the Knox County Regional Forensics Center came in to examine skeletal remains yesterday. Dr. Murray Marks of the forensics center and UT Anthropology Department and Roane County Medical Examiner Dr. Tom Boduch have been or will be involved as well.

General Johnson re-emphasized the ongoing nature of the investigation and the review of the evidence, so additional charges are likely relative to the deceased child.

Both defendants will be arraigned before Roane County General Sessions Judge Terry Stevens tomorrow (Tuesday, May 26, 2020) at 1 p.m. at the Roane County Courthouse, most likely via video link to the Roane County Jail because of Covid-19 restrictions. Bond will be set at that time. Both subjects are in custody in the jail pending the arraignment and the setting of bond.

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