ADA COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) – Wednesday began with Steve Daniels, FBI Special Agent and Leader of the Evidence Response Team responsible for digging up and collecting evidence from Chad Daybell's property, describing the excavation of JJ Vallow's body.
Daniels says in the back of the property, there was tall vegetation but noticed a shorter spot in the middle. As they began to dig in that area, the ERT noticed, what he says, were "precisely placed" stones and planks. "Someone has taken the most effort in this burial," Daniels said.
Once the planks and stone were removed, Daniels says they noticed black plastic. After carefully cutting that open, there was a white plastic bag. He says it felt like a human skull inside.
Daniels believes the planks were placed there to hide the fact a body was underground. He said as a human body decomposes, the ground will sink. The planks would have prohibited that from happening.
After fully excavating JJ's body, they noticed signs of decomposition that had seeped out of the bags the body was wrapped in.
They thought Tylee may have been underneath JJ, so they dug deeper but didn't find her. At the time, they did not know what the chunks were that were found by the fire pit.
Daniels says they only dug a few feet underground when they found JJ's body.
The two burials, Daniels says, were very different from each other. He describes JJ's burial as precise, as JJ was in tact and wrapped while Tylee's body was in pieces and charred. Daniels says he couldn't even tell it was human remains at first.
The state then called Forensic Pathologist Garth Warren to the stand. He was responsible for JJ's autopsy. Dr. Warren revealed JJ died from asphyxiation, just like Chad's former wife, Tammy Daybell.
Judge Steven Boyce would not allow the public to view the photos after an objection by the defense saying it could create prejudice plastered on a large screen. Only jurors and the court were able to view the photos.
Dr. Warren describes scratches on the left side of JJ's neck. He says this was a "red flag" because of the nature of how JJ was wrapped up. He thinks JJ may have been trying to get the white plastic bag off his head. JJ also had bruises on both arms. Based on evidence, Dr. Warren says these marks had to have been done before JJ died.
Dr. Warren then revealed Tylee's death as a, "homicide by unspecified means," meaning they don't know exactly what killed her, but it was "objectively suspicious circumstances," and there was no other findings in the toxicology report that could explain death. No drugs, substances or medical records.
He describes her week-long autopsy as, "different," saying, "Most times I get an entire body." He reports Tylee was delivered in three separate bags, in pieces.
In what he was given, Dr. Warren found the heart still connected to both lungs, a kidney, segments of bowel, portions of liver, fragments of brain matter and portions bones such as the pelvis, femur, skull mandible and maxilla with some teeth, both clavicles and more.
Most of her remains, Dr. Warren says, were charred and dirty. Based on evidence, he believes Tylee was burned after her death.
Things got a little feisty during cross-examination. Lori's Attorney, John Thomas, asked if Dr. Warren swabbed JJ's sinuses, to which he responded no. Thomas then asks how he would have known JJ died from asphyxiation. Dr. Warren says, "He was found with a plastic bag over his head, it was tight and there were signs of a struggle," and there was no other reason JJ could have been dead.
Thomas then says, "I'm going based off things I've seen in movies." Dr. Warren says, "That's scary."
Thomas then tries to press Dr. Warren as to why he wouldn't have swabbed JJ's sinuses for plastic bags fibers. Dr. Warren says, "You're not breathing in plastic, you're breathing in air and that's why you die; there's no air."