Joseph clyde daniels

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BABY JOE VERDICT: Joseph Daniels found guilty of murdering Joe Clyde

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Joseph Daniels was convicted Saturday on multiple charges, including felony murder and second-degree murder, for fatally beating his five-year-old son, Joe Clyde, known as &#;Baby Joe.&#;

The jury began deliberating around 2 p.m. Friday and returned the guilty verdict just before noon Saturday, following a weeklong trial in Dickson County.

Joseph Daniels murder trial verdict

The jury found Joseph Daniels guilty of five charges, including first-degree murder in perpetration of a felony, second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, filing a false report, and evidence tampering.

When is the sentencing hearing?

Joseph Daniels will serve life in prison with the possibility of parole on the murder charges. He will be sentenced for the additional charges during a hearing scheduled for Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.

He will be jailed at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

What happened to &#;Baby Joe&#;?

Daniels called around a.m. on the morning of April 4, and said Joe Clyde had &#;escaped&#; from the family&#;s residence on Garners Creek Road.

Two days later, in a recorded interview with law enforcement, he confessed to the fatal beating of his son, who had autism and was non-verbal, after the five-year-old had urinated on the floor of a bedroom. He told investigators that he dumped Joe Clyde&#;s body in a rural area.

Multiple searches were conducted over the days, months and years that followed, but the child&#;s body has never been found.

Jake Lockert, the public defender representing Joseph Daniels, has argued that his client&#;s confession was coerced, but the judge allowed it to be played and used as evidence in the trial.

The jury, which consisted of 12 members, was chosen from a pool of people in Chattanooga, all of which the judge said had never heard the name “Baby Joe.”

Krystal and Joseph Daniels

Krystal Daniels witnessed the fatal beating, but went to bed instead of helping her son, according to investigators.

She is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect and will go to trial at a later date that has not been determined.

Copyright Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Here's a timeline to help understand the Joe Clyde Daniels case

When Joe Clyde Daniels was initially reported missing on April 4, , the Dickson County community rallied in support to find him. He was presumed dead a few days later.

Three years after Joe Clyde's initial disappearance, his body still has not been found, and the Dickson County community still wants answers about what exactly happened to 5-year-old "Baby Joe," who was autistic and non-verbal.

Joseph Daniels, Joe Clyde's father, is charged with criminal homicide in the case. June 1 marks the beginning of the father's trial.

Here's a timeline of dates from the Tennessean archives to make the events of the Joe Clyde case easier to understand.

April 4,

One of Joseph Daniels' children came to tell him that 5-year-old Joe Clyde had urinated on the floor, according to TBI investigators. 

In Joseph's later admission to TBI agents, he said, “I then told them to get their (butts) in the bed. Baby Joe started laughing. So I beat him. That’s when he ran out the front door. Baby Joe ran to the road. I saw a car drive by. I ran out and got him back in the house. I beat him some more. That’s when I killed Baby Joe.”

Joseph Daniels, who was 28 at the time of Joe Clyde's disappearance, also later told investigators, "That night, I got into my car and drove down McElhiney Road, and I got Baby Joe out of the trunk. I had my wife's cell phone in my left hand, using it as a flashlight, and Baby Joe was over my right shoulder."

At some point on April 4, Joseph Daniels called to report his son as missing. The Dickson County community began searching for young Joe Clyde.

April 5

A few hours after Joe Clyde's initial disappearance, a McEwen man driving down Garners Creek Road — where the Daniels family lives — saw a person wearing what looked like a skeleton T-shirt. According to a written statement from the McEwen witness later referenced in a hearing, the person, who “looked like almost a teenager,” was standing 10 or 15 feet away from the road. Another statement later presented in court recorded that a Dickson County woman driving at that time "observed a man standing next to the guardrail on the east side of the road.” She said she was "positive" the man was Joseph Daniels. 

April 6

In an interrogation and failed polygraph administered by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Joseph Daniels admitted to hitting his son Joe Clyde in the head with a closed fist "several times" and in the face "a few times."

Joseph Daniels has since retracted this confession, saying he was coerced.

Joseph Daniels confession:Joseph Daniels confession, polygraph video: What we learned

April 7

The communitywide search for Joe Clyde ended. Joseph Daniels confessed to killing Joe and hiding his body, taking it to a "remote area." Investigators announced his confession at a news conference, and Joseph Daniels was arrested and charged with criminal homicide. He was kept at the Dickson County Jail on $1 million bond. 

Large volunteer search for the body of Joe Clyde Daniels on Saturday morning gets underway at Dickson County High School staging area. Chris Gadd/The Herald

April 10

According to court documents, year-old Krystal Daniels, Joe Clyde's mother, admitted to investigators to being present when Joseph Daniels "intentionally caused the death" of their son in their Garners Creek home. She was arrested and charged with aggravated child neglect or endangerment and held on $1 million bond. 

The affidavit read that "Krystal Daniels failed to report the abuse and resulting homicide."


Two more searches for Joe Clyde took place, both inconclusive.

June 4

Joseph and Krystal Daniels appeared for a preliminary court hearing at the Dickson County General Sessions Court in Charlotte. The case was moved to the Dickson County Grand Jury.


In a Special Called Session of the Dickson County Grand Jury, Krystal Daniels was indicted on counts of criminal responsibility, aggravated child neglect and filing a false report.

Joseph Ray Daniels was indicted on counts of first degree murder, felony murder, aggravated child abuse, filing a false report and tampering with evidence.


A letter signed with the initials "J.D." arrived at the home of Joseph Clyde and Belle Daniels, Joseph Daniels' father and stepmother. The letter, according to both public defender Jake Lockert and Joseph Daniels himself, was from Joseph Daniels, despite it unintentionally appearing to be anonymous. Joseph Daniels claimed in the letter that Joe Clyde was still alive, that another man “is involved with Joe’s disappearance” and that he believes "Krystal got Joe's clothes, packed them into a bag and left Joe on the side of the road."

A grandparent of Joe Clyde Daniels holds up a letter they received this week claiming the boy, who has not been found since April, is still alive.

Joseph Daniels sends letter to parents:Joe Clyde Daniels' father admits writing letter about boy being alive, puts blame on wife

July 1,

A recorded phone conversation revealed Joseph Daniels telling his father that Krystal Daniels killed Joe Clyde with a pillow. Joseph Daniels claimed that Krystal Daniels threatened to kill him.

Joseph Daniels' phone conversation:Joseph Daniels hearing day 2: Says wife Krystal killed Joe Clyde

May 21,

Officials obtained a search warrant and dug along the Daniels' backyard fence line at the home on Garners Creek Road. They found 26 bones and bone fragments. TBI agent Zachary Burkhart referenced a video from April 4, , taken on the security camera of a nearby home. The video showed that no car appeared to have left the Daniels' home early that morning, although lights in the background could have been a car leaving the Daniels' home.

Officials with the Dickson County Sheriff's Office take the bag containing a hacksaw as evidence. The bag was found about 2 miles from the home of Joe Clyde Daniels and his family in recent days.

Bone fragments found on Daniels property:Daniels’ property search results: Bones, fragments found


Hearings for Joseph Daniels and Krystal Daniels began. 

April hearings for the Joe Clyde case:Joseph Daniels case hearing outcome, audio: ‘My dad is going to kill me’

June 1,

Jury selection begins for trial of Joseph Daniels.

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A look back at the three year effort to find justice for Joe Clyde Daniels

CHARLOTTE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was a case that shook Dickson County to its core. April 4, , Joe Clyde Daniels, a five-year-old little boy with autism was reported missing from his home that he shared with his parents, grandparents, aunt and two siblings.

Almost immediately, Tennesseans did what they do best -- volunteered to search for the boy. But hours turned into days, it became more likely this would turn into a recovery instead of search mission.

Four days later, there was a break in the case. The boy was still missing, but investigators had their suspect, his father, Joseph Daniels.

"Where Is Baby Joe?" protesters chanted as Joseph was walked into the old Dickson County Courthouse for arraignment on April 13,

And so began a three year legal process, full of hearings and unexpected COVID related delays. The case was followed intently in Nashville, across Middle Tennessee and for some, around the world.

Then, on June 3, came Joseph's trial -- held at the brand new Dickson County Justice Center on Spring Street in Charlotte. The state put on more than exhibits and dozens of witnesses were questioned, but the most consequential was Alex Nolan.

"Well, I woke up to this loud thing. I didn’t go in there immediately but," said Alex as he paused to cry on the stand.

"I know this is tough. I know it’s tough," responded District Attorney General Ray Crouch.

Now 11 years old, Joe Clyde's half brother had to testify against his own step-father and with other family members sitting inside the courtroom. Given his age, NewsChannel 5 decided to not show his face on air.

"The defendant started walking down the driveway?" asked DA Crouch.

"Yes," replied Alex.

"What had he done with Joe Clyde?" asked Crouch.

"He had him in his arms," replied an emotional Alex.

But Alex's testimony wasn't without controversy. When the child was eight years old, his account was different to law enforcement -- claiming Joseph wasn't responsible and that he didn't know what happened to his half brother.

"When did you change your story?" asked Matt Mitchell, the Assistant Public Defender representing Daniels.

"When did I change my story? Whenever I remembered. It was blocked off until a couple months ago," replied Alex.

The key piece of evidence was Joseph's hours long interview with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. At first, Joseph remained insistent he didn't know what happened to Joe Clyde, but after persistent questions, he confessed to killing his son.

"Why did I kill my son? Why did I kill my son?" Daniels screamed through tears during the confession.

In closing arguments, the prosecution showed a video of Joe Clyde playfully upset because his teacher didn't have an apple for him. "Don’t be so mad, we’re going to play a fun game instead. No? You want an apple more than anything?" Ms. Donnerstag, a speech pathlogist said in the video clip to Joe Clyde.

And then, after nine hours of deliberation, on the ninth day of the trial, a jury of twelve men and women sealed the defendant's fate. "As to the charge of first degree murder in the perpetration of a felony crime, how does the jury find?" asked Judge David Wolfe.

"Guilty, sir" replied the Jury Foreman.

So many questions remain, like the location of a body or motive. But we do know this -- a community shaken to it's core now has a few more answers. Hopefully, one day, Dickson County will be able to find peace.


BABY JOE: Videos of Joe Clyde Daniels, body cam from inside home played during trial

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The prosecution and defense laid out their cases during day one of the trial for Joseph Daniels, the Dickson County man accused of killing his five-year-old son Joe Clyde, known as &#;Baby Joe.&#;

Prior to the opening statements, Dickson County Circuit Court Judge David Wolfe disclosed that none of the 12 jurors or four alternates selected from Chattanooga had ever heard of &#;Baby Joe&#; or the case against his father.

District Attorney Ray Crouch first presented the state&#;s case against Joseph Daniels, stating the suspect&#;s more than four hour confession detailed how he slammed his five-year-old son&#;s body onto a coffee table after the boy, described as &#;developmentally disabled,&#; had urinated on the floor of a bedroom.

Crouch said Joseph Daniels admitted to placing Joe Clyde&#;s body in the trunk of his car and driving to a truck stop approximately nine miles away, where he threw the child&#;s body off a bridge into the water. The body of Joe Clyde has never been found.

The prosecution stated Joseph Daniels did not believe Joe Clyde was his biological son, referred to him as &#;that boy,&#; and knew his wife, Krystal Daniels was cheating on him. The two had been arguing the night Joe Clyde was allegedly killed, according to Crouch.

Jake Lockert, the public defender representing Joseph Daniels, reinforced his claim that his client&#;s confession to fatally beating his son was coerced.

Lockert said Joseph Daniels, who he described as &#;mentally ill,&#; was essentially told &#;we&#;re not gonna stop until you tell us what we want to hear,&#; and eventually, he admitted that he beat Joe Clyde for 15 to 20 minutes in the living room, killing him.

Joe Clyde&#;s blood was not found in the family&#;s living room and the residence had not been professionally cleaned, according to Lockert.

The first witness was Jessica Donnerstag, a speech language pathologist at Centennial Elementary who worked with Joe Clyde for roughly three years.

As videos played showing Joe Clyde in her class, Donnerstag testified that the young boy was &#;a great student&#; who was &#;very energetic&#; and &#;made a lot of progress.&#;

Tony Longtin, a school bus driver in Dickson County, was also called to the stand. Video was played showing Joe Clyde getting off the bus the day before his disappearance.

After the young boy was reported missing, Longtin explained he ran buses back and forth, bringing volunteers to assist in the search efforts.

Dispatcher Chelsea Lampley answered the call from Joseph Daniels on April 4, , when he reported his son missing and claimed he had escaped. She testified that, at the time, she noticed Joseph Daniels &#;seemed extremely calm&#; on the call.

After an hour-long recess, Deputy Nicholas Dearman, who worked for the Dickson County Sheriff&#;s Office at the time that &#;Baby Joe&#; went missing, was called to the stand. His body camera video from the day was shown, as the deputy had walked through the Daniels&#; home interacting with both Joseph and Krystal Daniels.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Joseph Daniels faces multiple charges, including first-degree murder and evidence tampering. He was jailed at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville but will be housed in the Dickson County jail during the trial.

Krystal Daniels, who is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect, remains in the Dickson County jail, as well. She will be tried separately from her husband.

News 2 will have live streaming coverage of Joseph Daniels’ trial at Josh Breslow will be joined by News 2&#;s legal expert, Grover Collins to provide analysis on the trial from the opening statements to the verdict.

Copyright Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Daniels joseph clyde

BABY JOE: Joseph Daniels sentenced to 51 years before eligible for parole in son’s death

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The father of Baby Joe Clyde Daniels, Joseph Daniels has been sentenced to 51 years, served concurrently, in the death of his child.

Daniels appeared in a Dickson County courtroom Tuesday for the sentencing hearing three months after he was found guilty on charges of felony murder, second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, filing a false report, and evidence tampering in connection with the killing of &#;Baby&#; Joe Clyde.

What happened to Baby Joe?

Joseph Daniels called around a.m. on the morning of April 4, , and said his son, Joe Clyde, known as “Baby Joe,” had “escaped” from the family’s residence on Garners Creek Road in Dickson County.

Two days later, in a recorded interview with law enforcement, he confessed to the fatal beating of his son, who had autism and was non-verbal, after the five-year-old had urinated on the floor of a bedroom. He told investigators that he dumped Joe Clyde’s body in a rural area.

Multiple searches were conducted over the days, months, and years that followed, but the child’s body has never been found.

Krystal Daniels, the mother of Baby Joe, was expected to appear in the courtroom Tuesday morning for a motions hearing, but the Dickson County jail she is in was under COVID lockdown.

Krystal was originally charged with aggravated child neglect in the death of her son, but now faces additional charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated child abuse or neglect, filing a false report, and evidence tampering or fabricating evidence.

Krystal did briefly appear in court Tuesday afternoon. Her attorney said she pleads not guilty.

Her motions hearing has been moved to November Her trial is set to begin February 1, , and is expected to last 10 days.

Copyright Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Joe Clyde Daniels case: Child’s boot recovered from river could be potential evidence

In jailhouse phone call, Krystal Daniels says she doesn't believe Joseph killed Joe Clyde

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Joe Clyde Daniels’ mother, Krystal – who’s set to stand trial after her husband, Joseph – has been watching our gavel-to-gavel coverage of the case. In an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 5, she commented on some key points we've heard so far in court.

Krystal Daniels, who’s charged with aggravated child neglect, is accused of failing to protect her son, Joe Clyde, from a fatal beating at the hands of his father. Joseph Daniels, charged with murder, is currently standing trial.

Joe Clyde Daniels: Search Enters Day 3

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Krystal Daniels called us Monday from the jail where she's being held in Dickson County. There, she's been watching the trial and decided to reach out to help explain some of what we've heard in the evidence against her husband.

There’s no video or audio allowed, but we transcribed verbatim what she told us and it's interesting.

Krystal told us she does not believe Joseph killed Joe Clyde and said there are many misconceptions. And she wouldn’t say her son is dead and holds out hope somewhere he is still alive.

Another question many have asked is will she testify against her husband? Krystal said she will not testify.

Prosecutors, at times, have also indicated that the parents might have drugged Joe Clyde.

Krystal said, “They say that my son was acting like he was drugged or something. That was not the case. It was his medication that was making him that way because Vanderbilt had increased it. We did not drug Joe Clyde.”

The district attorney also showed photos of a bedroom with a padlock, leaving some to wonder if the parents locked the little boy in the room.



“No, my in-laws put that on there to keep people out of the room when they weren't home,” she said.

And then there was the question of a padlock high up on the doors that leads outside. Did she think it was possible for Joe Clyde to open it himself? One theory is the boy moved a coffee table to reach the lock.



“There were wheels on the coffee table… you could take a pinky and scoot it,” she said.

Krystal also said, “We've witnessed him climb up in the chair and try to put the key in the lock to unlock it, but we caught him as he was trying to do it.”

A trial date for Krystal Daniels has not yet been set. What happens next may depend on the verdict in her husband's case.


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