Fire officials unable to locate child's remains

Apr. 22, 2014 @ 11:17 PM

Sevier County and state officials said Monday they were unable to locate the remains of 5-year-old Tyveon Temple in the debris left from a cabin fire April 12.

Investigators from those offices and the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Center spent five days combing through the debris from the fire, which razed the three-story cabin to the ground.

They could be seen during that time shoveling ash and other remnants into buckets, which were carried to a machine on site that would help detect human remains. Officials said they also brought cadaver dogs to the site.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased,” said Dewey Woody, director of the state bomb and arson investigation division. “We will continue to focus on processing evidence and investigating the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.”

The cause has not been determined. Sevier County Fire Investigator Jay Breeden said he will meet with state investigators this week to review evidence they’ve collected at the scene.

There is no evidence at this point to indicate the fire was deliberately set, Breeden said. In addition to taking pictures and collecting materials at the scene, they interviewed all the survivors after the fire, as well as the occupants of the other cabins in the complex. “We followed up on every lead they gave us,” he said.

Temple has not been seen since the fire. Family members have indicated he was with adults when the fire started and they thought he was with them as they fled the cabin, but they realized he wasn’t with them when they got out.

He was with more than 20 family members on a trip to the area. They had reportedly driven down from Indianapolis and Louisville on April 11 to stay at the seven-bedroom cabin. Witnesses said the family arrived in time for a swim in the pool at the cabin complex, and were sleeping for the first time in the cabin when the fire started at the main entrance to the cabin around 4 a.m. April 12.

Family members broke windows and jumped from higher stories onto the steep ground below to escape the flames. Ricky Hudson, 56, of Indianapolis, died of blood loss from wounds he reportedly suffered while breaking glass. Family members said he helped several relatives escape the fire before succumbing to the wounds. Several other family members suffered broken bones and other injuries.

Most of the family returned to their homes April 13.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com