ASHLAND CITY, TN (WSMV) – In a bombshell development, the defense team for a Dickson County couple accused of murdering their 5-year-old son with autism, claims they have evidence the boy could be alive.
The attorneys for Joe Clyde Daniels and Krystal Daniels announced Thursday they have obtained a key witness in the case for their innocence: a convenience store employee who claims she saw Baby Joe Clyde hours after he was reported missing, when, according to the prosecution’s narrative, he was believed to be dead.
Joe Clyde Daniels was reported missing to authorities on April 4, 2018.
Days later, his father, Joseph, admitted to beating him to death but says he can’t remember where he hid the body. The 28-year-old father was arrested and charged with one count of criminal homicide for the death of his son.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agents executed a search warrant at a home on Garner Creek Road in Tennessee City in May The search is “part of an ongoing investigation.”
In April of 2018, after days of a widespread community search for the missing boy, the Daniels allegedly confessed to his murder, detailing a night in which they said Baby Joe’s father beat him with his fist until he died, and disposed of the body in the middle of the night.
The missing child report was called in later that morning. The couple has since recanted that confession, and has never told investigators where the body is.
Defense attorney Jake Lockert now says he has proof that the child could still be alive. According to a woman he interviewed at a Benton County gas station, on the morning of April 4, the day Baby Joe Clyde was reported missing, a boy matching his description walked into her store with an unidentified man. She describes this man as seeming rushed, with salt and pepper hair. She said the child seemed dazed and confused and was non-verbal.
According to Lockert, she also identified a key piece of clothing Baby Joe Clyde is said to have been wearing the day of his disappearance: a pair of flat-toe brown cowboy boots. The woman said the man was driving a converted bus with out-of-state license plates.
The woman told investigators for the Daniels’ defense team this encounter was captured on the store’s security cameras, and that she called the Benton County Sheriff’s Office the same day.
According to Lockert, a deputy responded to the store, watched the video, and relayed the information to the Dickson County Sheriff’s office. Lockert alleges neither Dickson County nor the TBI ever did anything with the information. He said tape was in the store’s possession for a year and has since been recorded over.
Lockert told News 4 that they were planning to release this information in court on September, which is the next hearing for Daniels.
Lockert is expected to speak at 2 p.m. The news conference will be streamed on the News 4 app and our social media pages.
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