U.S.

5-Year-Old Boy With Autism Still Missing Three Weeks Later: 'It Hurts Your Heart'

A 5-year-old boy with autism is still missing after three weeks of searching for his body.

Joseph “Joe Clyde” Daniels, a non-verbal 5-year-old boy with autism, was reported missing to the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office in Charlotte, Tennessee, on Wednesday, April 4. His father, Joseph Ray Daniels, was arrested on Saturday, April 7 after he admitted to allegedly killing his son earlier that week, authorities said.

“The whole community is mourning this loss,” Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe of the Dickson County Sheriff’s office said after his arrest.

Daniels, 29, allegedly admitted to hitting his son repeatedly in the upper torso, body, head and face, putting the child’s body trunk of the car and placing his body in a rural area of town. Daniels was charged with criminal homicide.

Daniels' wife, Krystal Nicole Daniels, was also arrested on Monday, April 9. The 27-year-old was charged with one count of aggravated child neglect or endangerment, according to a statement from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. She was also placed in Dickson County Jail on a $1 million bond.

On Tuesday, the Dickson County Sheriff’s released a statement asking for home security camera footage from April 3 to April 6, admitting that the search for little Joe’s body was still ongoing. They asked for a community, who are up in arms about the situation, to be patient in the hunt to find him.

“It has come to our attention that there are groups on Facebook trying to organize a search for Joe Clyde Daniels, DO NOT DO THIS! Please be patient. If you know someone planning to participate in a search share this post with them. Sheriff Bledsoe will announce a date and time for volunteers for the next major search party when needed,” the Dickson County Sheriff’s Facebook post read.

Volunteers from the community originally convened to search for little Joe until authorities asked them to stop.

Rickey Alexander, a volunteer in the first search for little Joe, told Newsweek that he and many other volunteers who assisted the sheriff’s office the first four days Joe was missing are becoming frustrated.

“It’s very disheartening,” said Alexander. “It hurts your heart having to sit at home. There are so many of us that are so ready to get that news that he’s been found.”

The 26-year-old caregiver said he and the rest of the community are very upset, and hope the parents will cooperate with authorities soon so they can find baby Joe.

“Time is really ticking by. The longer it goes on the harder it gets,” he said.

Alexander penned an open letter to the parents on Facebook, asking them to bring the community some closure after three weeks of searching.

“We aren't going away, we aren't stopping. If anything this momentum is growing by the day. We will find him and it will be us that put him to rest,” he wrote. “Joe has shown us what love is and brought together a broken community. If only you could feel inside and see that.”

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