In December 1997, Danny Daniels, his wife Kim, and two of their children, Jessica and Bryant, were brutally killed inside their home. This happened in Santa Claus, Georgia, which is usually a quiet place. Also, when the police started looking into the case, they found out that the killer had taken three other children from the same house, including a foster child. “Shattered: Welcome to Santa Claus” on Investigation Discovery tells the story of the horrible crime and the investigation that caught the person who did it. Let’s look into the case and find out more about what happened, shall we?
Danny and Kim Daniels Incident
Danny and Kim Daniels, who live in Santa Claus, were said to be a loving and generous couple who were always willing to help others and gave everyone a smile. Danny and Kim Daniels had four children of their own, including Jessica, Bryant, and Amber. However, they also took in foster children from time to time and gave them a loving place to grow up. People were kind, but they had no idea that this would eventually lead to their shocking and painful deaths.
On December 4, 1997, early in the morning, someone broke into the Daniels’ home and stole a shotgun from their cabinet. Then, as Danny and Kim slept in their bed, they were both shot. Jessica and Bryant woke up when they heard gunshots. When they went to see what was going on, they were brutally shot dead in cold blood. When the police went to the house, they found blood all over the bedroom walls, which was a very scary sight.
As the police looked into the case more, they found the horribly mangled bodies of the four victims. A quick autopsy showed that they were killed by shots from a semi-automatic shotgun at close range. Police also found two of the Daniels’ foster children hiding under a table, which was a big surprise. They told the police that the killer had also taken three other people, including foster child Jo Anna Moseley and Amber Daniels.
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Who Killed Danny and Kim Daniels?
When the police started looking into the deaths of Danny and Kim, they searched the area around the house, went through the crime scene, and even talked to the two kids who were left behind at the Daniels’s home. The police found out through their investigation that Jo Anna Moseley moved in with Kim and Danny to get away from her violent family. She and Amber became best friends right away, and Amber’s brother, Jerry Scott Heidler, who was 20 at the time, would often come to see them.
Jerry was always good with the kids, but he took a special interest in Jessica when she was a teenager, which Danny didn’t like. The father was worried about the big age difference between the two, and Jerry didn’t like that he thought that way. After talking to the two children left behind at the Daniels’s home, the police were able to get a full description of the attacker and quickly figure out that it was Jerry. By that time, the police knew that he had taken three kids, including Amber, Jo Anna, and Kim, and Danny’s third child.
In the first few hours, there was no news about where Jerry was, even though the police were already looking for him. But they soon got a break when a farmer told them he had seen three young girls on the side of the road in Bacon County. Officers were sent to bring the children back safely. When the detectives got back to the station, they quickly found out that Jerry had parked the car in a remote area before brutally raping Amber in the backseat.
The other children were forced to watch the attack, and all three of them were traumatized by what they saw. The police wanted to find the person who did it, so they started looking for Jerry all over the state right away. Soon, they heard that he had been seen in Alma, Georgia. Officers went after the lead right away, and he was quickly caught at a relative’s house in Alma.
Is Jerry Scott Hielder Dead?
Jerry pleaded not guilty when he went to court and said he had nothing to do with the murders. Still, the jury didn’t agree and found him guilty of four counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping, and one count each of child molestation, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and burglary. So, in 1998, the judge put Jerry to death and gave him an extra 110 years in prison. Since then, he has been on Georgia’s death row. He is currently waiting to be executed at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Butts County, Georgia.