TBI: Father confesses to killing 5-year-old Dickson County boy

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DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The father of a 5-year-old boy who was reported missing in Dickson County was charged Saturday with his murder. 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported Joseph Ray Daniels, 28, intentionally killed Joe Clyde Daniels sometime before Wednesday morning and hid his body. 

Investigators are still working to locate Joe Clyde’s body and no motive has been released. 

“The search continues this morning for Joe Clyde’s body. Though this news is profoundly disappointing, we feel grateful for the volunteers who gave their time and resources this week to help search for Joe Clyde,” said TBI Deputy Director Jason Locke. 

TBI investigators are at the Daniels’ home Saturday morning and are treating the area as a crime scene. 

Friendship Baptist Church, which served as a staging area for the search effort, will observe five minutes of silence Sunday ahead of special prayer service in Joe Clyde’s memory. 

Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe thanked members of the community for their ongoing support. 

“I want to thank all of the agencies for working with us this week and the work is not done. We are still there, we are still on scene and we are going to be there and we are going to get a recovery, bring resolve to this,” said Bledsoe. 

We have other family members who are mourning, and it’s just been a devastating end to this, with our hope the whole time being that there would be a safe rescue. I wanted you to know with all the agencies partnering and pulling together, that there is a lot of passion and a lot of experience that has gone into this, a lot of people have poured their heart and soul into this in the community, and even outside of our community has rallied around each agency and organization there to support us and carry us through this week,” added Bledsoe. 

Daniels was booked into the Dickson County jail and is being held on a $1 million bond. 

MORE: TIMELINE: Search for Joe Clyde Daniels

Joe Clyde, who has autism, was reported missing by his parents, who claimed he was last seen at his home on Garner’s Creek Road Tuesday night. An Endangered Child Alert was issued by the TBI on Wednesday morning. 

His parents told investigators they discovered he was missing when they went to wake him up for school around 5:20 a.m. After searching their home and property for nearly an hour, they called 911 just before 6:30 a.m. to report the boy missing.

Hundreds of volunteers and multiple law enforcement agencies have searched for Joe Clyde around-the-clock since early Wednesday morning. 

News 2 spoke to the boy’s father by phone Friday afternoon. He said he was afraid his son was “lonely, tired, scared and confused.” 

He also told News 2 “Baby Joe,” as the family calls him, had snuck out of the their home before, but it was always during the day and he would always be found nearby. 

The family said they were praying for the best, but were “really scared.” 

Authorities did not initially suspect foul play and sightings deemed credible by the TBI of the boy were reported.

The Daniels family has two other boys, a 3-year-old and an 8-year-old, who are now staying with relatives.

The Department of Children’s Services is investigating. Late Saturday afternoon, spokesman Rob Johnson told News 2, “The Department has no prior involvement with the family over the previous three years.”

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and refresh this page for updates. 

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