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Roane Co. parents face aggravated kidnapping, child abuse charges after child's remains found on property

Michael Anthony Gray Sr., and Shirley Gray face child abuse, child neglect, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse charges.

Two Roane County parents are facing multiple charges after the remains of a child were found on their property. 

The 9th District Attorney General’s Office said Michael Anthony Gray, Sr., 63, and Shirley Gray, 60, are in custody as part of an ongoing investigation involving multiple law agencies.

Investigators said in a Monday press conference they found skeletal remains on the Grays' property, which they believe to be one of the Grays' children.

The investigation, which began Friday, also involves the state Department of Children's Services. 

In a Monday press release, the AG's Office said Michael Gray made a statement about burying a deceased daughter in the backyard of his residence, located on Dry Fork Valley Road.

District Attorney General Russell Johnson said the child had been dead "for awhile." Investigators found the remains early Saturday morning.

Credit: Roane County Sheriff's Office
Micheal Gray Sr. (left) and Shirley Gray (right) face multiple charges.

As of Monday afternoon, the DA's office said warrants have been filed against Michael 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.

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Warrants also have been taken out 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.

The AG's office said additional charges are likely.

The AG's office said the Grays had three other minor children. They are not the children's biological parents, investigators said in the press conference.

In the press conference, investigators said the investigation began last week when another couple found one of the children riding a scooter alone on the road. Concerned with the child's condition and situation, the couple called 911. The Department of Children's Services and then other law enforcement agencies were contacted.

According to the AG's office's press release, child advocacy experts with the 9th District conducted nearly daylong interviews with three children on Sunday. Experts with the Regional Forensic Center, the UT Anthropology Department, and the Roane County Medical Examiner have or will be involved with the investigation as well.

Both defendants will be arraigned before Roane County General Sessions Judge Terry Stevens at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Roane County Courthouse, most likely via video link to the Roane County Jail due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Bond will be set at that time. Both subjects are in custody in jail pending the arraignment and the setting of bond. 

This is a developing story.

Video courtesy of David Ball Media.