DICKSON, Tenn. - A source close to the case said a blanket believed to belong to Joe Clyde Daniels was found close to the child's home, but doubt regarding the owner of the blanket and where it came from has grown.
The discovery of a child's blanket was potentially the very first break in this case after more than two-months of searching for Joe Clyde's body.
The blanket in question was found by crews searching for the child's body last Wednesday off C C C Road in Dickson County.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is not commenting on the blanket or whether any tests have been done or completed. A person close to the investigation told NewsChannel5 they believe the blanket is not connected to the case.
The owner of the property where the blanket was found told NewsChannel 5's Nick Beres the blanket is very likely his -- left behind after it got wet on a camping trip.
There has been no official word yet on whether the property owner has been questioned by authorities.
Any such evidence linked to Joe Clyde could be crucial to the criminal cases against his parents for his death because this is going to be "a tough case without a body," said legal expert and attorney Jim Todd.
Todd said a conviction can be made without remains, but it depends on what other proof is presented that a crime was even committed.
If the blanket is stained with the child's blood it might help make the case in the absence of a body.
"Here they are going to have to prove he's dead because he's not here," said Todd.
The origin of the blanket is still uncertain. It's true that a member of Joe Clyde's family looked at photos of the mud-covered blanket and identified it as possibly belonging to Joe Clyde.
However, unless his blood or, possibly, hair is found on the blanket it may be of no use as evidence.
Search crews were out again this past weekend looking for the child's remains, but still have found nothing. The 5-year-old has been missing now for 68 days.
Dickson County Sheriff said there's no planned search for the child's body in the near future, saying "we will need to review all of our search data to determine any additional areas for search."