Baby Joe: Reactions to charges against parents

Special Reports

DICKSON, Tenn., (WKRN) — Not knowing remains an aching in the hearts of community members following every twist and turn in the notorious Dickson County missing case of Joe Clyde Daniels III.

Even days after the boy, known as Baby Joe, disappeared April 4, 2018, the search for him only continued to ramp up.

“It takes a toll on us mentally and physically with Baby Joe still not being recovered, and we have a search planned again this Saturday,” said then Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe in 2018.

Instead, Saturday April 7, 2018, brought shocking news that ended in shackles.

The now 30-year-old father, who reported his own son missing, was charged with criminal homicide after allegedly confessing to killing his son. He later recanted his story. 

“It was very painful for everyone,” remembered Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial who recalled the moment Joseph Ray Daniels walked through a gauntlet of angry citizens. 

“Where is Baby Joe?” was chanted outside the Dickson County courtroom in 2018. Onlookers were armed with a litany of signs convinced the parents of Baby Joe were responsible for his sudden disappearance. 

One after another Dickson County residents read hand-written signs out loud. “Dad knows where. Mom too.” “You were there my first day, and my last.”

Those messages meant for Krystal Nicole Daniels, now 29, who police arrested April 9, 2018. She was charged with aggravated child neglect or endangerment.

“There’s the frustration of not being able to find him, but the tragedy when it occurred, it really cut to the soul of the community,” said Mayor Rial.

In the years following the child’s disappearance, authorities haven’t stopped looking for the body of Baby Joe. The most recent search conducted in the yard of the boy’s residence in May of 2020 by the TBI

Even now, neighbors still reel in the revelation that the sweet non-verbal boy, who had autism, may never be found. 

“I can’t look across the street. I’m probably going to cry. I’ll try not to,” said a neighbor. “Even when I go to mow my pasture, I’m still looking for him.”

A prevalent pain, still felt by the entire community, three years after Baby Joe was last seen alive.

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