The blood of a Tennessee man charged with the murder of his five-year-old autistic son has been found on a shovel, authorities say.
District Attorney General Ray Crouch announced the discovery on Tuesday, nearly 16 months after suspect Joseph Ray Daniels, 29, was indicted for first-degree murder.
The father reported his son Joe Clyde Daniels, who is autistic and nonverbal, missing in April 2018.
Days later he allegedly told investigators he had beaten the boy to death for urinating on the floor before putting his body in the trunk of his car and disposing of it in a ‘remote area’.
Daniels later recanted and Joe’s body is still missing.
Crouch did not disclose where the shovel was found because the investigation is ongoing. A hair on the shovel has been sent to a private lab for DNA testing.
According to an affidavit, Daniels admitted he struck Joe repeatedly in the body, upper torso, head and face with a closed fist until the boy died at their home in Dickson, Tennessee.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation searched the home two days after the boy was missing and found sufficient evidence to charge Daniels with the boy’s murder.
The suspect blamed the murder on the boy’s mother, Krystal Nicole Daniels, according to investigators.
She was charged with one count of aggravated child neglect or endangerment after prosecutors said she took ‘active steps’ to obscure the abuse and homicide of his son.
They said the mother also did not report it despite being given multiple opportunities to do so.
She was allegedly aware that her husband had disposed of Joe’s body.
Daniels’ trial is expected to begin in August 2020 after having been delayed for another trial.