Five-year-old Joe Clyde Daniels, who is non-verbal and on the autism spectrum, had a history of wandering out of the house.

And that’s what his parents said they believed he did on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. As News Channel 5 reported, the last time Joe’s parents said they saw their son was when they put him to bed on April 3.

Following the three day search for the boy, his father, Joseph Daniels, admitted to killing the five-year-old, CNN reports.


According to WTHI, Joe’s father initially told police that when he went to wake Joe and his brother up in the morning, he saw Joe was gone. He said he realized the door was unlocked and thought Joe may have wandered off.

Dickson, Tennessee Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe told News Channel 5 that there was sighting of a boy matching Joe’s description early Wednesday morning walking near the road by his house.

Sheriff Bledsoe said that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations spoke with the witness and said they thought the sighting was valid.

According to News Channel 5, over the three day search, authorities teamed up with volunteers to search for the five-year-old. They searched anywhere and everywhere, including bodies of water, according to the Tennesseean.

Many found it suspicious that Joe’s parents were not among those searching.


However, Bledsoe said that Joe’s parents were asked not to help in the search because their scent, which is similar to their son’s, might throw off the K-9s who were also aiding in the search.

Joe’s father told WTHI on Thursday that he was heartbroken over his little boy’s disappearance and worried that he was “lonely, tired, scared and confused.”

The 28-year-old father said that even though there were no signs of foul play, he thought there was a possibility that his son was abducted.

But three days later, on April 7, Joe’s father admitted to killing his son.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations told CNN:

“After a three-day search, it was determined that the child’s father, Joseph Daniels, intentionally killed his son sometime during the night of April 3-4, in their residence and then hid his son’s body.”

He was charged with one count of criminal homicide and is currently being held at the local jail on a $1 million bond.

Bledsoe said during a news conference following the homicide charge:

“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.”

As WKRN reports, a local pastor’s daughter is planning a memorial for Joe. Joe’s two siblings have been placed with family members.

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