DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The former Dickson County sheriff told a jury Friday afternoon that he had no knowledge of any physical evidence found that would indicate Joe Clyde Daniels was murdered or even dead.
Jeff Bledsoe, who served as Dickson County sheriff during the initial investigation into Joe Clyde’s disappearance, was called to the stand to testify on day two of the trial for Joseph Daniels, the man accused of killing his five-year-old son Joe Clyde, known as “Baby Joe.”
Jake Lockert, the public defender representing Joseph Daniels, asked Bledsoe about the search efforts, which Lockert described as “very extensive” and “meticulous.”
JAKE LOCKERT: “The searches that took place, were even thorough in regard to, I believe a psychic had called in and thought maybe the child was in a well. That was followed up on too, correct? Do you recall that?”
JEFF BLEDSOE: “We had numerous tips from people that represented as psychics, and everything that I was aware of was followed up on.”
JAKE LOCKERT: “Lots of people, K-9 dogs were used. Very extensive and meticulous search and investigation, would that be fair to say?”
JEFF BLEDSOE: “Yes, sir.”
JAKE LOCKERT: “And was any physical evidence found indicating that Joe Clyde Daniels was murdered?”
JEFF BLEDSOE: “Not that I was involved in, no sir.”
JAKE LOCKERT: “And was there any physical evidence found that indicated that Joe Clyde Daniels was even dead?”
JEFF BLEDSOE: “Not– no sir, not that I’m aware of.”
Two other witnesses were also called to the stand Friday afternoon – Patrick Looney, an assistant special agent in charge over the TBI’s Aviation Unit, and Sarah McCartney, a detective with the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office.
Looney provided information for the jury about the extensive area searched for Joe Clyde, while McCartney identified items in photos taken during the investigation inside of the Daniels’ home.
During McCartney’s testimony, an hour-long audio clip played from a ride she took with Joseph Daniels and Detective Jeff Lovell, as they searched for Joe Clyde; however, the audio was extremely low and difficult to hear.
After the audio was played, McCartney explained that Joseph Daniels told her he woke up at 5:30 a.m. and observed the coffee table had been moved in the living room.
The detective asked if Joseph Daniels thought Joe Clyde could unlock the door, to which he replied that his son had been progressing and “doing things better,” but that he had not seen him unlock the door.
McCartney said she “was suspicious” at the time, but was “looking for a missing, alive child.”
Joseph Daniels explained that Joe Clyde had “escaped” from home before and “was known to do that,” according to McCartney.
Day 2 of the trial for Joseph Daniels concluded around 5 p.m. Friday with Day 3 expected to begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday. It is expected to last for approximately two weeks.
Court documents allege Joseph Daniels reported Joe Clyde missing on April 4, 2018, but later confessed to fatally beating the child, who had autism and was non-verbal, while his wife, Krystal Daniels witnessed the assault and went to bed, instead of helping her son.
During a four-hour taped confession, Joseph Daniels admitted he dumped Joe Clyde’s body in a remote area, but the boy’s remains have never been located.
The defense has argued the confession was coerced, but the judge ruled it can be played at trial.
Joseph Daniels faces multiple charges, including first-degree murder and evidence tampering. He was jailed at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville but will be housed in the Dickson County jail during the trial.
Krystal Daniels, who is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect, remains in the Dickson County jail, as well. She will be tried separately from her husband.