DICKSON, Tenn. (WKRN) — An early morning call had the power to change a community forever.
DISPATCHER: “911, where is your emergency?”
JOSEPH DANIELS: “Uh, yes, is this Dickson County 911?”
DISPATCHER: “Yes, sir.”
JOSEPH DANIELS: “Um, I live at **** Garners Creek Road and my son has escaped. We cannot find him.”
DISPATCHER: “Do you know how he got out of the house?”
DANIELS: “He must’ve unlocked the door. He got out.”
News 2 Anchor Hayley Wielgus reported, “We begin with that breaking news tonight. A father desperate to find his missing 5-year-old son.”
April 4th, 2018, Joseph Daniels told a dispatcher his son Joe Clyde, who has autism and is non-verbal, was missing.
“It really just cut to the soul of the community,” said Dickson Mayor Bob Rial. “It was all hands on deck.”
Residents and professionals lined shoulder to shoulder in 90-degree heat and through cold rainy nights searching for any sign of the child lovingly called Baby Joe.
“I have searched from day one,” a Dickson grandmother told News 2 in 2018.
Tiny clues kept them combing through fields and ponds in the sky and by foot.
“Last night we had some things that were positive for us with a footprint,” said then Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe in 2018.
“We’re doing every pull-off that we can, that makes sense. We feel that that’s what the suspect did,” said David Rader, the director of the Midwest Chapter of EquuSearch.
News 2 was on the scene every day speaking to Baby Joe’s family. “I believe in my heart that my baby grandson is alive,” Joe Clyde’s grandfather told Andy Cordan.
The boys father also talked to News 2 but didn’t want to be recorded. He said the family is praying but is “really scared”.
Then came Saturday morning. The bombshell no one wanted to hear. “It was determined the child’s father Joseph’s Daniels intentionally killed his son,” announced a detective on the case.
Then late Monday, news emerged of his mother Krystal’s arrest.
“The grieving process had a lot of anger and angst initially,” remembered Mayor Rial.
“Fess up to what you’ve done. Fess up to where that baby is!” shouted one Dickon County resident as Joseph Daniels was lead into court.
As another year passes and still no answers, his friends remembered the innocent boy who lives forever in the hearts of many.
“He’s awesome. That’s what I think about him,” said a young boy to News 2 back in 2019.
“Baby Joe became all of our children,” said Mayor Rial. “Baby Joe became Dickson County’s child. And like with a loss of a child, the pain still remains.”
A hearing in the case has been set for Thursday, April 1st. News 2 will bring you the latest developments on-air and right here on WKRN.com.