Michael Anthony Gray Jr., has been charged with murder and abuse involving children his parents adopted

A Tennessee man was charged with murder days after his parents pleaded not guilty to similar charges of death and abuse of adopted children.

Michael Anthony Gray Jr., 40, was arrested after investigators discovered the remains of a boy buried in the yard of a Knox County house where he lived with his parents and several adopted siblings.

Gray’s parents have been charged with murder in the death of a girl whose remains were found on family-owned property in Roane County. The Roane County case led authorities to search Knox County property.

Michael Gray Sr., 63, and Shirley Gray, 60, pleaded not guilty Monday in Roane County to murder and dozens of other crimes, including abuse. Officers say they also found the couple’s 15-year-old son locked in a basement of their home.

Gray Jr. was charged Wednesday with the felony of murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect and abuse of a corpse. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

Authorities began investigating the family in May after a little boy was seen walking alone along a road in Roane County.

The arrest warrants indicate that a passer-by called 911 and an officer began asking questions.

Investigators quickly discovered the skeletal remains of the girl, identified by WBIR as Sophie Gray, in a barn on Roane County property, after which Michael Gray Sr. confessed to having buried her there.

She had been locked in the basement for a few months before her death in 2017, while a 15-year-old boy was locked in the basement for four years, according to the warrants.

A search of the Knox County home reportedly uncovered Jonathan Gray’s remains.

Michael Anthony Gray Sr. and Shirley Ann Gray plead not guilty to similar charges

Michael Gray Sr. told authorities the girl was around 10 when she died

Michael Anthony Gray Sr. and Shirley Ann Gray plead not guilty to similar charges

Michael Gray Sr. reportedly told authorities the girl was around 10 when she died.

Two other children spent time in a wire dog crate, all of whom were supposed to be homeschooled and appeared to be “stunted,” according to the warrants.

WVLT reports that a seized cell phone from Gray Jr. contained a message sent to Gray Sr. on March 25, 2020, which read, “Hey, should I put [redacted name] and [redacted name] in the census? I don’t know if they share any information with the IRS.

The State Department of Children’s Services removed three children, ages 11 to 15, from the home on the day the couple was arrested.

The older Grays also face a charge of theft. Authorities say they did not report the girl’s death and continued to receive state benefits to be her adoptive parents.

Their adopted young daughter was reportedly confined to a basement for months before her death, surviving only on bread and water.

Michael Anthony Gray Jr., 40, was arrested after investigators discovered the remains of a boy buried in the yard of a Knox County house where he lived with his parents and several adopted siblings.

Michael Anthony Gray Jr., 40, was arrested after investigators discovered the remains of a boy buried in the yard of a Knox County house where he lived with his parents and several adopted siblings.

Shirley Gray signed documents stating that all the children met their homeschooling requirements, but police said two of them

Shirley Gray is pictured.  The warrants say Shirley admitted the children had not received medical or dental treatment for at least six years before the inquest.

Shirley Gray signed documents stating that all of the children met their home schooling requirements, but police said two of them “appeared to have had no formal education” and “were, in fact, astonished at what a refrigerator does when they have observed one in their foster home

During the home search, officials said Michael Anthony Gray showed investigators where the girl died and where her body was kept in a cardboard box before her burial.

During the home search, officials said Michael Anthony Gray showed investigators where the girl died and where her body was kept in a cardboard box before her burial.

In the same interview, authorities said the disgraced father admitted to locking his 15-year-old son in the partially flooded basement of the house for stealing fruit from the refrigerator shortly after the family moved into the house in June 2016.

Investigators determined the teenager had been confined to the basement ever since, with no contact with anyone outside until authorities abducted him on May 22, 2020. Officers who released him teenager said he was surrounded by feces, garbage and mold.

Like his sister, the boy also received only small amounts of food, including bread and water, authorities said. Parents reportedly admitted that they sometimes refused to eat the children as a punishment.

During the home search, officials said Michael Anthony Gray Sr. showed investigators where the girl died and her body was kept in a cardboard box before her burial. His skeletal remains were found in a grave full of dead farm animals.

The 63-year-old also revealed a small concrete room built under the stairs where two of the children had been held for punishment, officials said. The room would have neither running water nor electricity.

Police noted that a bucket that had been placed inside the small room was filled with human excrement and magazine pages that had been used as handkerchiefs. The rest of the house was filled with a strong smell of urine, with human and animal feces strewn throughout the house, on the walls and in a bed.

Gray's parents have been charged with murder in the death of a girl whose remains were found on family-owned property in Roane County, pictured

Gray’s parents have been charged with murder in the death of a girl whose remains were found on family-owned property in Roane County, pictured

Michael Anthony Gray Jr., 40, was arrested after investigators found the remains of a boy buried in the yard of a Knox County house, pictured

Michael Anthony Gray Jr., 40, was arrested after investigators found the remains of a boy buried in the yard of a Knox County house, pictured

After finding the body buried under a barn at the Grays' house in Roane County, police subsequently obtained a warrant to search property in neighboring Knox County where the Grays lived before 2017. The house is now owned. to their adult son, Michael Gray Jr.

After finding the body buried under a barn at the Grays’ house in Roane County, police subsequently obtained a warrant to search property in neighboring Knox County where the Grays lived before 2017. The house is now owned. to their adult son, Michael Gray Jr.

Their home also had no running water and had exposed wires and litter dumped all over the place, police said.

The surviving children, aged 10 to 15, have been removed from Michael and Shirley’s custody by the State Department of Children’s Services. They are not their biological children, the attorney general’s office said.

The warrants say Shirley admitted the children had not received medical or dental treatment for at least six years before the inquest. All four children had been enrolled in homeschooling.

Shirley Gray signed documents stating that all of the children met their home schooling requirements, but police said two of them “appeared to have had no formal education” and “were, in fact, astonished at what a refrigerator does when they have observed one in their adoptive family. ‘


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