“Joe dead. Joe dead. Joe dead?”

Noah Daniels, the 3-year-old brother of Joe Clyde Daniels, made these statements the day Joe Clyde was reported missing in 2018, according to witnesses at the trial of Joe Clyde’s father, Joseph Daniels.

“Yes, baby. Joe dead,” replied Joseph Daniels’ Aunt Joyce, who also lived in the house, according to witnesses.

Brent Morse, with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and Chad Bailey, with the Maury County Office of Emergency Management, were in the house when these statements were made.

Morse was in the house filling out a missing person’s questionnaire the morning Joe Clyde went missing, and Bailey was standing in the doorway of the house.

Noah walked in the room and made the statements unprompted, according to testimony. Both men seemed to think that Noah was asking a question.

Defense attorney Jake Lockert tried to suggest through questioning that one of the dozens of law enforcement officers around the property could have mentioned something about Joe Clyde being dead in Noah’s hearing.

Lockert tried to keep District Attorney Ray Crouch from introducing this testimony by saying that it was hearsay. However, Judge David Wolfe ruled that the statements were “excited utterances” and therefore were admissible in the trial.

This decision was just one of several legal rulings that have had to be made out of the jury’s hearing over the opening days of the trial.

Joseph Daniels is accused of killing Joe Clyde, age 5. He has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including first-degree murder.

Crouch spent much of the weekend establishing how thorough the search for Joe Clyde was. Multiple personnel from first responder services were called to the stand to discuss their roles and how long they spent on the scene. Agencies from other states and even psychics were consulted in the search for the boy.

The defense suggested that maybe law enforcement hadn’t followed up on all claims through questioning about a woman who reported child’s boots were missing from her home.

Detective Sarah McCartney, with the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office, said the woman’s property had been searched multiple times and that the claims about the boots were unsubstantiated.

McCartney was the state’s main witness Friday and Saturday. She arrived on scene on April 4, 2018, about 9 a.m. and rode with Joseph Daniels in the car as he showed her and another detective where he said he had already searched for Joe Clyde, who had autism.

While in the car, Joseph Daniels said he had woken up that morning and put out Joe Clyde’s clothes for school. He then noticed the table had been moved and the lock wasn’t on the door. He realized Joe Clyde was gone and began driving around looking for him.

“I do everything in my power to make sure he’s happy,” he told the detectives.

In her investigation, McCartney reviewed hours of security footage and explained this footage to the jury to make a timeline of April 3 and 4.

According to footage from Dollar General, Joseph Daniels and his wife, Krystal, purchased groceries there the afternoon of April 3.

According to residential security camera footage and investigative interviews, the Danielses’ neighbor, Matt Ledford, arrived home about 10 p.m. April 3 and did not leave before 9 a.m. April 4.

About 6:15 a.m. on the footage, McCartney said lights indicated Joseph Daniels driving around his home, making tire tracks she saw in the yard, and leaving the property. He arrived back about 6:25 a.m., around the time he made the 911 call reporting that Joe Clyde was missing.

Another security camera in the area caught Joseph Daniels driving slowly at 7:51 a.m. Daniels told law enforcement he was looking for Joe Clyde at this time.

Along with the ride Daniels took with the detectives to show where he had already looked for his son, audio was played from a voluntary interview conducted with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation the night after he reported Joe Clyde missing.

In the interview, the TBI investigator asked questions on many topics, ranging from Joe Clyde’s personality traits to any tension in the family to previous times Joe Clyde had run away.

Joseph Daniels said the padlock had been put on the door around six months before Joe Clyde’s disappearance. He initially said the padlock was put on the door the first time Joe Clyde escaped, but then said the padlock was put on the door after Joe Clyde’s most recent attempt to get out of the house.

“For a long time, I’ve actually had, like, legitimate fear that this would happen unfortunately because of his episodes of doing this,” Daniels told the TBI.

Daniels characterized Joe Clyde to the TBI as trying to get away “constantly.”

TBI investigators questioned some discrepancies in Daniels’ stories, such as if he saw the padlock missing on the door before or after he noticed Joe Clyde was gone and what time the kids came in from playing outside the night before.

After the interview, the court adjourned for the weekend. It will reconvene at 8 a.m. today. The trial is expected through at least the end of this week.

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