The father of a 5-year-old Tennessee boy with autism has admitted to killing and hiding the boy's remains, cops said over the weekend. The reported confession from Joseph Ray Daniels, 28, ends a days-long frantic effort to find Joe, who was non-verbal and prone to wandering off the family property outside Nashville, per USA Today. The search for Joe started Wednesday after a morning 911 call that soon led to multiple police agencies and hundreds of volunteers combing the area. Joseph Daniels even told WKRN at the time that he feared his son was "lonely, tired, scared and confused." Many concerned members of the community hoped that, like the previous times he'd disappeared, Joe would be found safe. His own father's confession changed all that Saturday, police say.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Daniels confessed to police that he'd intentionally killed his son sometime during the night of April 3-4 in their home and then hid the body. The shocking revelation came on the heels of what were then seen as hopeful developments, including a footprint that police believed could have been Joe's as well as what investigators called credible information the boy had been spotted. The TBI arrested Daniels and charged him with one count of criminal homicide. As police continue to search for Joe's remains, his 8- and 3-year-old siblings have reportedly been removed from the home and placed in the care of relatives.