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Court document detail how Tylee and JJ bodies were found

Chad Daybell booking photo
Chad Daybell's booking photo from June 9, 2020.

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Tracing cell phones and interviewing close friends and relatives is what helped lead investigators to the location of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, according to court documents released on Friday.

The probable cause affidavit created by Lt. Ron Ball, Rexburg Police, explains how they investigated Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow, Tylee's and JJ's mother.

Read a summary of the probable cause report here.

Tylee's and JJ's bodies were found on June 9 on the Daybell's property in Fremont County.

Chad Daybell was arrested shortly after finding the bodies and is being held in the Fremont County Jail on a $1 million bond.

He is charged with two counts of felony destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. He pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

In the affidavit it said the FBI traced a cell phone belonging to Alex Cox, the children's uncle.

They were able to track his location around the days the children were last seen.

Police said the last verifiable sighting of Tylee was on September 8, 2019 in Yellowstone National Park.

JJ was last seen on September 22, 2019 at his mother's apartment in Rexburg.

The FBI traced Cox's cell phone from Yellowstone National Park to Lori's apartment on September 9. His phone appeared to go between Lori's apartment and his apartment, located in the same complex, several times between midnight and 9 a.m. It also showed Cox was at the Daybell's home at 9:21 near the end of the barn, the document said.

It showed Cox was on Daybell's property until 11:39 a.m. and then went back to Rexburg, stopped at Dell Taco, and went to his apartment for the rest of the day.

The FBI found a text conversation between Tammy Daybell and her husband Chad on September 9 shortly after he left.

a. Chad to Tammy at 11:53 am:

“Well, I've had an interesting morning! I felt I should bum all of the limb debris by the fire pit before it got too soaked by the coming storms. While I did so, I spotted a big racoon along the fence. I hurried and got my gun, and he was still walking along. I got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery. Fun times!”

b. Chad to Tammy at 11:56 am:

“Gonna shower now and then go write for a while at BYU. Love you!”

c. Tammy to Chad at 2:47 pm:

“Good for you!”

d. Chad to Tammy at 2:48 pm:

“I’m back home now”

Probable Cause Document

Tylee's body was found near the point where Cox's phone was traced on that September 9, investigators said.

Police interviewed Tammy's sister on June 2, who confirmed the Daybell's did have a pet cemetery near a fire pit.

Melanie Gibb and her boyfriend David Warwich, friends of Lori Vallow last saw JJ on the night of September 22.

Warwick said JJ was acting up and so Cox took JJ to his apartment. He returned later that night with JJ's head on his shoulder and appeared to be asleep.

Warwick asked the next morning where JJ was. Lori said to them he was acting like a zombie and Alex took JJ.

Cox's phone showed it was at Daybell's property on the morning of September 23 near the pond on the northern edge.

“Per your request, I checked the Visits by Alex to Chad’s house again. There were only four visits by Alex during the month of Sept. These were on 9/6 (1241 - 1253), 9/9, 9/23, and 9/25 (1005 — 1022). During the two visits on 9/6 and 9/25, all the pings were in and around the house, and there were no pings anywhere in the backyard near the firepit or pond. As you can see, these visits were also short, 7 about 11 minutes and 17 minutes, like the one on 9/23 (17 minutes). The visit on 9/9 was the only long visit, approximately 2.5 hours.

Probable Cause Document

Investigators found JJ's body on the north side of the pond, they said.

Chad Daybell's preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for August 3, 2020, and August 4, 2020.

The decision to change the date from July 1, 2020 was made during a status conference held Friday.

This order is contingent upon a stipulation being filed by June 22 at 5:00 p.m. The stipulation must be filed for the order to go into effect.

You can read the 26-page probable cause affidavit here.

Daybell has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.

Daybell's attorney John Prior entered the plea and requested a pretrial and a jury trial, according to court records filed Monday.

According to court documents filed by Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood, authorities believe Daybell willfully concealed or helped someone else conceal human remains, knowing that they were about to be used as evidence in a felony proceeding or investigation.

The charging document states Daybell attempted to conceal the remains sometime between September 8 and September 9 of 2019.  The first count alleges the crime occurred sometime between September 22 and June 9, 2020.

Under Idaho law (18-2603) each charge is subject to a maximum fine of $10,000 and a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.

The court ordered Daybell held on $1 million bond. If Daybell posts that bond, the Judge ordered that the defendant reside in the immediate area and provide the court with his address, and report to Fremont County weekly. 

Lori Vallow-Daybell is awaiting trial on charges of child abandonment and obstructing the investigation and has pleaded not guilty. The Idaho attorney general's office announced this year it was investigating Chad Daybell in the death of his wife at the time, Tammy Daybell.

The complicated case began last summer when Lori Daybell's ex-husband Charles Vallow was shot to death by her brother, Alex Cox, in Phoenix. At the time, Cox said the shooting was in self-defense. Charles and Lori Vallow had been estranged, and in divorce documents Charles Vallow claimed Lori believed she had become a god-like figure who was responsible for ushering in the biblical end times. Cox died in December of an apparent blood clot in his lung.

Shortly after Charles Vallow's death, Lori and her children moved to Idaho. Tylee was last seen in September headed into Yellowstone National Park with her mom and other family for a day trip, and JJ was last seen by school officials several days later.

Police began investigating the children's whereabouts after relatives raised concerns. Investigators have said both Chad and Lori Daybell claimed the children were staying with friends.

Tammy Daybell died in her sleep last October of what her obituary said were natural causes. Authorities grew suspicious when Chad Daybell married Lori just two weeks later, and they had Tammy Daybell's body exhumed in December. The results of that autopsy have not been released.

Law enforcement officers first searched Chad Daybell's home on Jan. 3, removing more than 40 items including several pieces of computer equipment.

You can view all our past stories on this HERE.

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