Elementary school honors autistic boy presumed dead after father allegedly confesses to beating him to death

A Dickson, Tennessee, elementary school where a 5-year-old autistic boy attended is honoring him by remembering his favorite treats and sharing memories.

FOX 17 reports that Joe Clyde Daniels, a reported non-verbal autistic child presumed dead after his father, Joseph Daniels, admitted to beating the boy to death on April 4, attended school at Centennial Elementary School in Dickson before his untimely demise. Daniels is currently behind bars in connection with the little boy’s death, although authorities still haven’t found the child’s body.

On Monday, around 800 apples, Joe Clyde’s favorite treat, were donated to his school. Near the front entrance of the school hallways, apples were placed across oblong tables and under signs that read, “In memory of Joe.” As students entered the school building, they were offered an apple in memory of Joe Clyde and asked to remember the “sweet boy” that once walked through the same front entrance each day on his way to class.

The school principal told FOX 17 that Joe Clyde loved apples, snacks, and eating in general. The school plans to plant a few apples trees outside in memory of the child.


JOE CLYDE DANIELS UPDATE: Disturbing details in the murder of 5-year-old Joe Clyde who was autistic and non-verbal.FOX 17 News has learned a parent called to report Joe wouldn't be in class due to him being "missing. His dad is behind bars for the murder: https://bit.ly/2GIM0ZC

Posted by WZTV FOX 17 News, Nashville on Monday, April 9, 2018


As CrimeOnline previously reported, Daniels is on suicide watch inside the Dickson County jail. The news comes after a police affidavit was released, describing how the suspect reportedly murdered the little boy.

According to the affidavit, Daniels “struck the boy in the body, upper torso, head, and face with closed fist until his son was deceased” while inside their residence off of Garners Creeks Road in Dickson.

“Daniels then placed the body of his son in the trunk of his car and disposed of the body in a remote, rural area,” the affidavit continued.

Despite Daniel’s alleged admission to the homicide, he still hasn’t informed authorities where he reportedly hid the little boy’s body. He also reportedly refused to make any phone calls to anyone while in jail.

Police, firefighters, and search teams continued to look for Joe Clyde on Monday morning, hoping to bring closure to the community and family members.

Joe Clyde’s grandmother, Belle Daniels, expressed shock and bewilderment when she learned about her grandson’s death. She indicated she never thought her own son would be capable of killing his child.

“It’s shocking because you raise a child from way back, and you think you know him. You don’t think your child could kill his own baby.”

911 Call Released

During an April 4 911 call, Daniels calmly told a dispatch operator that his son Joe Clyde Daniels was missing from their Dickson home. Initially, police had no reason to believe Daniels harmed the little boy but after two days of intense searching, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced that Daniels admitted that he killed his son.

WKRN obtained a copy of the 911 call, in which Daniels indicated that his son must have unlocked a door in the home and walked away. He claimed he went to the little boy’s room at 5:30 a.m. on April 4, when he noticed he wasn’t there. Daniels never asked for help while talking to the 911 dispatcher and the only information that he volunteered without being asked was that his boy was autistic and disappeared from their home off of Garners Creek Road.

READ More: Dad ARRESTED for homicide while police continue to search for missing autistic boy, 5

“He stays very calm and he answers questions with one word answers, and of course never tells them to help, he never tells him please get here, please help me, please help me find him…he never asked,” Atlanta’s Cold Case Research Institute Director Sheryl McCollum told CrimeOnline.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to search for Joe Clyde. Over 30 police officers and firefighters, along with dog search teams, are searching throughout secluded wooded areas and water, according to WKRN.

“We’re following indicators that we have, looking at bodies of water, and things that are secluded or may be out of the way. We’re just not leaving anything uncovered,”Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said. “We’re in the same mode of search that we were prior when we were looking at a rescue. Now, with the recovery, we’re still working everything we can.”

Check back with CrimeOnline as we continue to provide updates

[Feature Photo: Joe Clyde Daniels/Handout]