Father confesses to killing 5-year-old son who had autism, authorities say

A search for a missing 5-year-old boy in Tennessee turned into a homicide investigation Saturday after authorities arrested his father.

Joe Clyde Daniels’ parents reported him missing Wednesday, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. It issued an Endangered Child Alert as hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officers frantically searched near Joe’s home in Dickson, Tennessee.

Joseph Daniels, 28, faces homicide charges for the death of his son Joe Clyde Daniels.

“After a three-day search, it was determined that the child’s father, Joseph Daniels, intentionally killed his son sometime during the night of April 3-4 in their residence and then hid his son’s body,” the TBI said.

The boy’s father confessed to killing his son, said Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe.

TBI agents arrested the father Saturday and charged him with one count of criminal homicide. Daniels is being held at the local jail on a $1 million bond. Information on his attorney was not immediately available.

Joe had autism and was nonverbal, according to WZTV.

Search crews brought in helicopters to draw out the boy, who’s a fan of big machines.

“Driving the roads, we’ve been out on foot… doing everything we can… to try and find this little boy,” said search volunteer Amanda Curtis. “We searched and searched, and unfortunately it come up to a bad ending.”

Details surrounding the boy’s death remain unknown, but authorities said a search for his body is ongoing.

The community will hold a candlelight vigil and prayer service for Joe on Sunday night in Dickson, which is about 40 miles west of Nashville.