Details of Disappearance
Katie was last seen on November 29, 2004 in West Paducah, Kentucky. She was in a Chevrolet S-10 Blazer SUV with her parents, Johnnie and Sandy Gray. Johnnie, a mechanic, was test-driving the SUV to check repairs. He stated he often took Katie on long drives to help her fall asleep.
The Grays stated that the SUV was swamped when the family tried to cross Massac Creek near Mayfield-Metropolis Road at approximately 12:15 a.m. on November 29. Sandy was able to get out of the water safely, but she dropped Katie's car seat. Johnnie took the car seat and while he was attempting to get to dry land, he lost his grip on the seat and Katie was swept away. Johnnie and Sandy searched for their daughter without success before walking to the a friend's house a mile and a half away to report the incident to authorities. The Grays called police about an hour after Katie disappeared.
Extensive searches of the creek turned up Katie's diaper bag and bottle, but no sign of the baby or her car seat, although cadaver-smelling dogs indicated the presence of a body downstream from where Katie was swept away. Several days after his daughter's disappearance, Johnnie took a polygraph test. That same day, investigators announced that while they were still searching for Katie, the search was no longer concentrated on Massac Creek. They continue to conduct occasional searches of the water, however.
Friends of Johnnie and Sandy stated they were suspicious of the couple's story and that Katie's parents gave inconsistent accounts of the events of November 29. The case was handed to a grand jury in October 2005, nearly a year after Katie vanished, and in late October, both her parents were charged with second-degree manslaughter in the child's death. They were also charged with possession of marijuana, tampering with evidence and leaving the scene of an accident. The manslaughter indictment stated Johnnie and Sandy either "wantonly" caused Katie's death, or "wantonly" failed to take measures to prevent her death.
In April 2006, Katie's parents reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. Johnnie and Sandy both pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, tampering with physical evidence, possession of marijuana and leaving the scene of an accident, and Johnnie also pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended license. The Grays were sentenced to five years in prison each.
Katie and her parents resided in Lone Oak, Kentucky in 2004. The child has never been located.