Dickson neighbors demand answers from murdered 5-year-old boy's parents

(Fox 17 News)

People in Dickson are demanding answers after Joe Daniels was found dead and his parents charged in connection to his murder.

Law enforcement officers are still searching for Joe's body. An arrest affidavit for his father, Joseph Daniels, said Joseph admitted to beating his son to death and disposing of his body in a remote, rural area. His mom is accused of being present for the crime and trying to help cover it up.

Several Dickson residents said they're still fighting through anger and grief.

As his parents were lead into court on Friday, a large crowd chanted "Where is baby Joe? Where is baby Joe?' at them.

Dutch Bryant organized the peaceful protest outside the parent's Dickson County court appearance.

"To try to push the consciences and hearts of these parents to actually say what happened truthfully where his body is so this community can heal and mend because they’re greatly hurting right now," Bryant said.

The community is taking this murder personally.

"Being a father of a special needs child is very deep to me," Bryant said tearfully. "So I feel in a way as a community member that maybe I failed him, the father and the child, because I could have reached out to him and said ‘hey you can discipline without extreme violence.'"

Almost everywhere around town, people know about Joe.

"We look out for each other, and the whole community's impacted and we're sad," Jody Bear said.

Several people said all they want is Joe's parents to point police in the direction of their 5-year-old child's body.

"As a community, we need closure," Bear said. "This needs to close. It needs to be over. I mean whatever is holding this up, they need to give us the answers. Let him be at rest."

Joseph Ray Daniels is charged with murder, and Krystal Daniels is charged with aggravated child neglect or endangerment. Joseph and Krystal Daniels are in jail on a $1,000,000 bond each.

Both parents waived their right to a preliminary hearing on Friday. They also each told the court they couldn't afford attorneys, so public defenders were appointed to each parent. Their next hearing is June 1.

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