Lawmakers propose ‘Joe Clyde Daniels Act:’ harsher punishments for those who hide bodies

Posted at 8:33 PM, February 2, 2022 and last updated 1:42 AM, December 13, 2022

By: Chris Davis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — April will mark four years since Joe Clyde Daniels went missing from his Dickson County home.

While his father, Joseph Daniels, has been convicted of his son’s murder, the little boy’s body has never been found.

Now, lawmakers from Dickson County are working to make sure that works against Joseph Daniels, if he ever becomes eligible for parole.

This 2017 photo provided by NamUs shows 5-year-old Joe Clyde Daniels. (NamUs)

“We all felt like we had a collective obligation to look for this child, to mourn for this child and then to seek justice,” said Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson.

For Curcio, the case wasn’t just another headline; it hit too close to home.

“I’ve got three children that are in the same school as Joe Clyde Daniels,” he said.

Under Tennessee law, Joseph Daniels would make him eligible for parole after serving 51 years behind bars. But Curcio hopes that never happens.

“If there is a parole eligibility, it needs to be reserved for people who can someday be redeemed with a lot of work. I don’t think that’s what’s happening in this trial. And especially when you see someone who intentionally obstructs justice by hiding human remains or not revealing where human remains are,” said Curcio.

So that’s what the proposed Joe Clyde Daniels Act would do. If the applicant avoids telling law enforcement where a body can be found, that can be a justification for the Tennessee Board of Parole to deny release.

Joseph Daniels appears in court for his sentencing hearing, Sept. 14, 2021. (WTVF)

“You take that extra step of not allowing law enforcement to find those remains, then that’s going to become a parole consideration,” he said.

While the bill is named in honor of Joe Clyde, lawmakers hope it will have an impact all across Tennessee.

“This is something we hope will send a message across the state,” said Curcio.

Rep. Curcio hopes it will serve as a deterrence, that if a suspect tries to hide a body, a lifetime sentence will live up to the name.

“Once we found this inefficiency in our system, we’ve gotta plug that hole,” he said.

The bill sponsors say they fully anticipate this will pass both chambers. Meanwhile, Joe Clyde’s mother, Krystal Daniels, is scheduled to stand trial in March.

This story was originally published Feb. 2, 2022, by WTVF in Nashville, an E.W. Scripps Company.