TBI(DICKSON, Tenn.) — Before busloads of volunteers spent days on foot or four-wheelers combing through rough forest terrain and paddling in ponds in hopes of finding 5-year-old Joe Clyde Daniels alive — his father, Joeseph Daniels, dialed 911 to report him missing.
“My son has autism and we cannot find him,” the 28-year-old dad told the dispatcher on the morning of April 3 during a four-minute recorded phone call that authorities released Sunday.
Three days later, Daniels was booked for one count of criminal homicide after Tennessee authorities accused him intentionally killing his son inside their Garners Creek Road home Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning and then “hid” his body somewhere.
“During the course of the investigation, it was determined the child’s father Joseph Daniels intentionally killed his son in his residence and then hid his body,” said Jason Locke, deputy director at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, at a Saturday morning press conference.
Daniels remains jailed on $1 million bond, according to a release by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Rather than holding out hopes for rescuing Joe Clyde, authorities are now in a tireless search to find his body.
“The search continues … for Joe Clyde’s body,” Locke said.
During his call to a 911 dispatcher to report his son missing, Daniels suggested his son “must have just unlocked the door and got out.”
When asked when his son was last seen, Daniels said “last night”, referring to April 3, according to the recording.
He also struggled to inform the dispatcher a complete description of the pajamas Joe Clyde was wearing before he supposedly vanished.
“My wife would know better than I would on that,” he said.
After ticking off a description of Joe Clyde’s blonde hair and blue eyes, his 4-foot height and 65-pound weight, the father explained to the dispatcher that his son had autism, adding that he was “nonverbal” and that while his symptoms weren’t “so severe” he was unable to do things like taking a bath without help.
“He tries to bathe himself, but we have to bathe him,” Daniels said on the phone call.
While Daniels has been charged, the investigation continues, Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said on Saturday.
He said “nothing is off the table” and added that investigators were still poring over evidence.
“We’re not sure where the next turn will be or where the evidence will lead us,” he said.
On Saturday night scores of Dickson residents convened in the cold at Buckner Park — 10 minutes away from Joe Clyde’s crime scene home — to try to make sense of the tragedy. Another vigil is scheduled for Sunday night.
“We just had high hopes,” one of the vigil organizers, Amanda Curtis, told ABC station WZVN-TV of the widespread sense of defeat and remorse. “Everybody is hurt right now and I don’t think we should have to go through it alone. We may not have had specific ties to the child, but we all searched.”
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