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Thread: KY - Katie Gray, 10 months, West Paducah, 29 Nov 2004

  1. #1
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    KY - Katie Gray, 10 months, West Paducah, 29 Nov 2004

    Baby girl swept away by flood near Paducah
    Father lost his grip on car seat in creek

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By James Malone
    jmalone@courier-journal.com
    The Courier-Journal
    WEST PADUCAH, Ky. Rescue teams searched five miles of a rain-swollen creek yesterday for a 10-month-old whose father said she was swept from his arms after his vehicle stalled in the water.

    By midmorning, searchers two miles downstream on Massac Creek found only the diaper bag and blanket belonging to Katie Michelle Gray, said Mitchell Covington, a McCracken County Rescue Squad member.

    Her father, Johnnie Gray, 37, a mechanic, told investigators that he had been test-driving a sport-utility vehicle to check repairs, county Chief Deputy Terry Long said.

    Gray and his wife, Sandy Gray, 32, also said they occasionally took the baby on drives at night to help her to fall asleep, Long said.

    About midnight they drove on a remote gravel road off Mayfield-Metropolis Road, crossed the creek and turned around in a nearby gravel pit, Long said the father told investigators. The family waited about 15 minutes before attempting to return, Long said.

    But the water had risen, the vehicle stalled, and Gray and his wife attempted to get out, Long said.

    Sandy Gray said she was swept away by the current, but she was able to get out of the water, Long said.

    Johnnie Gray said he grabbed his daughter's car seat with her in it and attempted to get to the bank but lost his footing and his grip on the seat, Long said.

    Long said it took the couple about an hour to report what happened because Johnnie Gray said he tried to find the baby and then had to walk to the closest house to call authorities.
    --->>

    http://www.courier-journal.com/local...2010-3123.html

    Katie is missing in Paducah, KY, where I live. There seems to be no way Katie can still be alive. Local SAR teams and other volunteers have been out night and day searching but nothing found yet except a baby blanket and diaper bag.

    The circumstances are tragic and questions do arise about the situation, timing, location, etc

  2. #2
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    This sounds highly suspect.

  3. #3
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    Dear God how horrible. I pray that it was an accident and there was no foul play. We've had way TOO much of that!!

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    I also hope the parents were just behaving foolishly--and not criminally-- Monday night regarding their own and their daughter's safety.

    Police did the right thing immediately searching near the couple's apartment (it's 8 miles from the creek site by my calculation) and innocent parents also have the right to be upset for being suspected. That's just part of investigating a tragedy.

    Johnnie Gray is angry that police searched the woods and dumpster behind his apartment instead of searching the creek. "We've been up all night dealing with the police, and last night the police shows up ... and cleans out every dumpster in the apartment, and put the dogs in the woods, looking for our baby.

    Police say it's part of their investigation and they do not suspect foul play at this time.
    - http://www.wave3.com/Global/story.as...5&nav=0RZFTkAV

    MrPigeon is a volunteer fireman and we heard the call Monday night for rescue assistance on his radio (next fire district over, so he didn't respond). Of course it's front page news here but our local newspaper (The Paducah Sun) although online can't be read without paid subscription so the news available on the internet is from other sources in the state.

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    from the Associated Press today:

    Paducah (AP) The father of a 10-month-old missing since Monday in flooded Massac Creek took a polygraph test.

    Johnnie Gray claimed he lost his grip of his daughter's car seat the creek.

    Gray says he voluntarily took the test to prove his innocence in the disappearance of Katie Michelle Gray.

    McCracken County Sheriff Frank Augustus confirmed that Gray took the test but would not discuss the results.

    Crews were working to build a makeshift earthen dam and pump water out of the creek. That came after two cadaver dogs indicated a body may be in an area just downstream from where the incident happened.


    Drove by the site this afternoon and not a soul there. Nothing on the local news and nothing new on the internet, either. From the looks of things--actually the lack of -- at the creek the search has been suspended.

  6. #6
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    thanks LP for the updates. I really hope this was an accident. To many babbies are dying at the hands of someone they trust.

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    The search has been suspended. Sheriff Augustus says other leads are being pursued. The Ohio is rising and that causes water to back up into the creeks that empty into the river, so that could be one reason to suspend the search.

    Another is that the area of the creek where cadaver dogs indicated interest has been searched and dug out and nothing found.

    The car seat with the body inside could have been swept into the river while the creek waters were first high. Or searches of the creek have just failed to find the body. Or, the car seat and Katie were never in the creek at all.

    I think cadaver scent on the baby blanket would indicate that the blanket was in contact with a dead child but I'm not absolutely positive whether the cadaver dog indicated a firm alert on the blanket or on the creek bank or at all. I know interest was shown at the same area by both cadaver dogs brought in, but I don't know if the dogs actually were given the blanket to scent after the blanket was found.

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    Thanks for the updates, LP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Casshew
    This sounds highly suspect.
    I'm with you on this one Cass.

    They are out at midnight with him supposedly checking repairs that were done on an S-10 Blazer.

    They cross the creek, turn around in a gravel pit and then.... 15 minutes later try to cross the creek again. What were they doing in that 15 minutes? Was he under the hood checking something that sounded funny since they were apparently driving the vehicle for that reason? Couldn't see or hear the creek rising?

    And did they grab the diaper bag when trying to save their lives and the life of their baby? Or leave the vehicle doors open and it floated out?

    Nope, this just doesn't sound right to me. Wish I knew more.

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    Interesting that the Dad took the Polygraph and not the Mom. I hope this is just a freak tragedy and that no one murdered this infant

    I know all families are different but driving around at midnight with an baby to check car repairs just sounds all wrong. Can't blame the police for checking out the dumpster etc... and can't blame innocent parents for being upset that they are suspected on top of dealing with thier grief and guilt.

    Waiting to hear more on this one.. thanks LP

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    Why is this suspect to you? Are you familiar with the flooding in this area? I am very familiar with this area. The rivers and creeks. Unless you are in downtown Paducah, you have to walk a ways anywhere. This is sad, but sounds to me to simply be a tragedy. I am very sorry for the greiving parents. It is always sad to me when people try to make the greiving loved ones out to be villians.
    Quote Originally Posted by Casshew
    This sounds highly suspect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeBee
    I'm with you on this one Cass.

    They are out at midnight with him supposedly checking repairs that were done on an S-10 Blazer.

    They cross the creek, turn around in a gravel pit and then.... 15 minutes later try to cross the creek again. What were they doing in that 15 minutes? Was he under the hood checking something that sounded funny since they were apparently driving the vehicle for that reason? Couldn't see or hear the creek rising?

    And did they grab the diaper bag when trying to save their lives and the life of their baby? Or leave the vehicle doors open and it floated out?

    Nope, this just doesn't sound right to me. Wish I knew more.
    Actually, this IS exactly the type of thing I would expect to see in Paducah.

    No, you very likely wouldn't see or hear the creek rising, either.

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    If you've been to this area, you could see how very easily this type of accident could occur. There were parks in the Paducah area that I specifically didn't go to with my children because of the rivers.

    Very Sad. I hope WS's will simply pray for the greiving family and not falsely accuse them.

    Quote Originally Posted by alpharee
    thanks LP for the updates. I really hope this was an accident. To many babbies are dying at the hands of someone they trust.

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    Fran, I live in Paducah, or more specifically in Lone Oak. The area where this happened is out in McCracken county and not in town. You have to turn off of Massac Metropolis road onto a gravel road that runs alongside a soybean field that's private property. It's 8 miles by Mapquest from their apartment to that location.

    The creek was full, rising, and it was still raining when the Grays drove out there last Monday night. It could be an accident that the car was caught in rising creek water but it's not as if the creek were dry then suddenly flooded. There had been lots of rain before that night and creeks were full and still rising on Monday.

    BeeBee, the dad told police early on that they drove across, sat for a few minutes listening to the water in the creek, then attempted to drive back across. Listening to the water is what he told police they were doing in that 15 minutes or so.

    Casshew, the mother was checked into the psychiatric ward of one local hospital just a few hours after this happened. Police haven't been able to talk to her at all.

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    I'm glad you live there. It is a wonderful place. Surely you can understand how this could be an accident. Unfortunately, many people die each year not realizing the danger of rising water.

    I am very sorry for the parents and what they are going through.

    (OT, Last time I was in Paducah they were putting up the lovely murals downtown along the water. They had many done. How does it look now?)
    Quote Originally Posted by LovelyPigeon
    Fran, I live in Paducah, or more specifically in Lone Oak. The area where this happened is out in McCracken county and not in town. You have to turn off of Massac Metropolis road onto a gravel road that runs alongside a soybean field that's private property. It's 8 miles by Mapquest from their apartment to that location.

    The creek was full, rising, and it was still raining when the Grays drove out there last Monday night. It could be an accident that the car was caught in rising creek water but it's not as if the creek were dry then suddenly flooded. There had been lots of rain before that night and creeks were full and still rising on Monday.

    BeeBee, the dad told police early on that they drove across, sat for a few minutes listening to the water in the creek, then attempted to drive back across. Listening to the water is what he told police they were doing in that 15 minutes or so.

    Casshew, the mother was checked into the psychiatric ward of one local hospital just a few hours after this happened. Police haven't been able to talk to her at all.

  16. #16
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    Check under Museums/Attractions at http://www.paducah-tourism.org/ for info on the flood wall murals.

    Yes, this could have been an accident. It could have happened just as Gray tells it. But there are some suspicious circumstances and the story he tells could be concocted. I don't know which. I do know that local law enforcement suspects that Katie was never in that creek but died and was disposed of elsewhere.

    I much prefer it was just an accident, however stupid and preventable an accident. To be falsely suspected and/or accused is a horrible sitation, and I think that's where the Grays find themselves now.

    Mr Gray appears to be a very unsophisticated, perhaps even illiterate man. He also appears to relatively unemotional. His public presentation makes one wonder if he could be capable of concocting and sticking with a lie in the face of repeated interrogation.

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    Thanks for the link.

    I would tend to support the family before I accused them in this situation.

    Further, the police in Kentucky can vary from being very warm and hospitable to having a reputation for being harsh and accusatory depending on the town/county.

    I hope this couple is supported unless firm evidence supports the contrary.

  18. #18
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    I can definately see how this was a stupid accident. Although I'm not familiar with this area at all, there is a similar spot in San Antonio, TX. It is called Salado Creek and it floods practically every time it rains. And yet, someone is always caught in it at a low water crossing. Everyone knows that it floods and is dangerous, yet people are constantly dying in the thing. Bottom line, many people are stupid and take stupid risks because that sort of thing "just can't happen to them. They are good drivers, their cars are better able to handle the deep water, etc etc etc"

    The story of driving around with the baby in the car to get her to go to sleep makes perfect sense to me. Many people do it. Checking out the repairs made to a car earlier in the day also makes sense to me. If you are going to have to drive around, why not do something useful while you are at it. Stopping for 15 minute in a dark spot, leaving the car running and listening to the water would be very soothing to an upset child I would think. I don't really find the story to be all that suspicious. It is not something I would do, but I can certainly see it happening.

    But then, I also remember seeing one of the forensic shows where a man killed his wife and then disposed of her in a flooded creek hoping that this would not be considered homicide. I think we are just naturally suspicious people and I think that it is sad that we are so.

  19. #19
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    This creek crossing is not on a paved road. It's on private farm property, 1/4 mile off the paved road, down a dirt/gravel lane. It seems an odd place to drive to late at night and especially during falling rain.

    I understand LE having suspicions around this case, and particularly after not finding Katie following extensive searching of the creek and surrounding area.

    Of course, everyone in the county is talking about it and I haven't yet run into a person not expressing suspicions of their own about the circumstances. It may have been an accident but local public opinion doesn't seem to be leaning that way.

    Meanwhile, Katie is still missing, presumed dead.

  20. #20
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    From Paducah's News Channel 6:

    Sunday, December 05, 2004

    Search crews did not rest Sunday. They are still hard at work, trying to find Katie Gray. The 10-month-old baby disappeared nearly one week ago when her parents tried to cross the rain swollen Massac Creek in Paducah, KY.

    Sunday a new detective joined the scene. Grim, a bloodhound from Missouri, has experience recovering human remains from fast moving water. Even though K-9 detectives have looked all week for Gray, handlers say now is the best time for them to find her. Coroner Dan Sims tells News Channel 6's Lisa Ripley, "Basically, the body is going to be putting off gases, fumes, and odors that the dogs are trained to detect."
    - http://www.wpsdtv.com/articles/stori...ocal_news.html

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    How very sad... I refuse to make any accusations at this time...
    It is very normal for parents to take their children out for a drive to get them to sleep. I used to do it with my oldest daughter all the time.. That was one of the only ways Icould get her to sleep for awhile..
    I have NO IDEA what the creek area is like and will not speculate.

    I cant imagine losing hold of the car seat though... If it were me, I would hang on to it with dear life and we would go down together... But again, I was not there and have not been in that situation (thank God) and I don't know if it was physically possible to hang on to it or not...

    Right now, all I can think about is this poor little girl.. I hope they find her soon, so she can be put to rest properly... I hate to think of the creek being her eternal resting place.

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    " I KILLED MY BABY... ", REPORTS WITNESS
    DAY 7 OF THE SEARCH
    Anna Prendergast
    Monday, December 06, 2004
    In an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 6, a couple that knew Johnny and Sandy Gray say the couple showed up at their doorstep the night their daughter, Katie, was lost in a rain-swollen Massac Creek acting suspiciously.

    The couple, who only agreed to an interview if their identities could be protected, say they told their story to authorities. --->>

    a couple that lives near Massac Creek, and claims to be friends of the Grays, says the story the public is hearing is not the entire story, "There was too much of a time lapse from when they got to our house and the time the baby supposedly dissapeared".

    In his report to police and in interviews with NewsChannel 6, Johnny Gray said his Blazer (actually a vehicle he was working on for a former employer) in Massac Creek near Mayfield-Metropolis Road around 10pm November 29th.--->>

    Gray says he then lost his footing and let go of the car seat.

    He says he then walked down this road for about a 1/2 mile before stopping at a friend's house for help.

    The couple that has come forward says they were those friends, but that Gray and his wife claimed their car had broken down and they needed a ride home.

    "I asked them where Katie is they said she's at the babysitters".

    Later, the Gray's returned to the house with a different story, said one witness, "the second time they came back they said we got to tell you the truth. Katie is down there in the creek".

    That was about 1AM. The 911 call came into police at 1:08AM.

    That's when, according to our source, Sandy Gray, sobbing, said,

    "She said I killed my baby....I killed my baby...I know i killed my baby!"--->>

    http://www.wpsdtv.com/articles/stori...ocal_news.html

    I had heard this story already but this is the first time I've seen it reported.

    Another detail I have heard, but isn't reported here, is that the mother said she had the car seat first, dropped it, then the dad was able to recover it, then dad also dropped it.

    All this could still be a tragic accident. It could also be that the parents were afraid they'd be suspected of harming their child on purpose and were just trying to avoid that. I don't want to think the worse of this couple, and I sure hope it turns out to be accidental.

    As of this afternoon, Katie still hasn't been found.

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    The 'witnesses' being unnamed is also suspect.. this could be true, this could be nonsense. I guess there is nothing to do but wait.

    Katy's Mom still in the hospital?

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    No local news about the mom being released as yet. It could happen and not be reported on, though.

    I think it's very possible the mother would still feel supreme guilt over accidently losing her grip on the car seat, if that's what happened. If so, that could account for her statement to the witnesses.

    The witnesses are real, and live where they say they live. Local LE didn't want them to talk to media and when media persuaded them to talk they wanted to remain anonymous. I don't think that will pacify Sheriff Augustus but there's no gag order in place so there's really nothing he can do about it.

    I haven't heard or read when Katie was last seen by anyone other than her parents, and don't know if when will impact on the case or not, but I can't help but wonder.

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    You have to wonder how the media persuaded the witnesses to speak if local police told them not to. $$$

    As soon as I heard the Father took the Polygraph, I immediately wondered about the Mom, perhaps she has done something and her husband is covering for her with the flood story?

    Poor little baby, they need to find her ASAP. Thanks for the updates, this is a tragic loss however it happened.

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