Anonymous Letter Claims Missing Autistic Child Is Alive — But Authorities Warn It's A Hoax
The note was sent to the grandparents of "Baby" Joe Daniels, an autistic boy who vanished in April and is believed to have been murdered by his father.
Law enforcement authorities in Tennessee have said they are investigating a mysterious letter sent to the grandparents of Joe Clyde Daniels, an autistic preschooler who has been missing since April, which claims that the boy is alive.
The family received the anonymous letter, the author of which claims to be corresponding with “Baby” Joe’s currently-incarcerated mother Krystal Daniels, on Wednesday.
They promptly submitted it to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which said it’s now examining the note.
“As with any case we investigate, we pursue any evidence presented to us that is relevant to the case,” TBI Public Information Officer Susan Niland told Oxygen.com via email on Friday. “We are working to determine the legitimacy [the letter]…but at this time we have no reason to believe this will change the focus of the investigation.”
Dickson County Sheriff Joe Bledsoe confirmed that his office also has the letter but aired doubt over its authenticity.
“I believe this is a staged hoax,” he told WKRN-TV News 2 in Nashville on Thursday. “I have confidence the investigation will reveal the correct response to the content of the letter.”
The boy’s grandparents, however, admitted that they hope authorities are mistaken and that it is genuine.
“I hope it is real,” grandfather Joe Daniels told WKRN-TV. “This is about Baby Joe and I want him back home. I still believe he’s alive and I think more that we got this letter, that he is alive.”
The handwritten letter said that Krystal Daniels gave the boy away, and that he’s presently in Jackson, Tennessee.
“I believe Krystal got Joe’s clothes, packed them into a bag…and left Joe on the side of the road,” the letter read, according to NewsChannel 5, another local station in Nashville. “If we could get Krystal to confess what really happened…with this case. I know it’s a bizarre case.”
The boy's parents, Joseph (pictured above at left) and Krystal Daniels (pictured above at right), are both in jail over his disappearance.
The elder Joseph Daniels reportedly admitted to beating his 5-year-old son to death in April after initially telling police he wandered away from their home, Oxygen.com reported at the time.
Krystal Daniels, meanwhile, was arrested shortly afterward following her admission that she watched her husband kill their boy and then hide his body but didn’t phone police afterward.
Joseph Daniels is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and evidence tampering, while Krystal Daniels faces charges of aggravated child neglect, filing a false report, and criminal responsibility.
[Photo Credits: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation]