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Lori Vallow-Daybell trial nears the end as the state and defense rest their case

MADISON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) – FBI Agent Nicole Heideman once again took the stand Tuesday, this time discussing steamy emails Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow-Daybell exchanged.

It surrounded a story around James and Elena. Heideman believes those names were used in place of Chad and Lori. Based on receipts and evidence, Heideman says this 'James and Elena Story' was true.

The story talks about how James and Elena met, which was consistent with Chad and Lori's first interactions. This includes meeting in October 2018 at a Saint George, Utah conference, a mid-November Arizona conference and James on a podcast with Elena.

Email messages between Chad's account and Lori's account were shown to the court. They detail intimate moments James and Elena shared. Chad's account sent, "Elena's magic hand has gripped the storm barely able to breathe as intense waves wash over them." Lori's account replied, "Yes she did!" 'The storm' is what Chad and Lori would refer to as Chad's private part.

Nicholas Edwards, Investigator with the Idaho Attorney General's Office, then took the stand. He was part of the joint investigation in Tammy Daybell's death and the search for the missing children.

In his testimony, Edwards revealed Chad had urged Tammy to go to Utah to visit her parents on October 4 and 5 of 2019 assumingely in an effort to get her out of town to be with Lori. Messages from Chad to Lori on October 3 and 4 say, "So excited to go on our date," and "Dreaming of caressing you in your bed. I adore you."

Edwards revealed that Chad, Lori, Alex Cox and Alex's wife, Zulema Pastenes, were in communication with each other the night of Tammy's attempted murder and on the afternoon Tammy after died. But Edwards does that know the content of those messages.

The court was shown messages between Chad and Lori on October 23, 2019, the day of Tammy's funeral. Chad sends Lori, "I'm feeling sad, but not for the reason everyone thinks!" This was after messaging how much they miss each other and how painful it is for them to be apart.

Edwards was also part of the investigation finding Lori's missing children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow. He was on Chad's property and helped dig up JJ's body.

His testimony echoed what we've heard from other witnesses so far saying there appeared to be a disturbance in the ground near a tree in Chad's back yard. As they dug, he says there was dirt, then rocks, more dirt, then planks, even more dirt, then an object that felt like a human head. He goes on the describe the object was wrapped in a black and white plastic bag. After cutting through the bags they saw blonde hair. Edwards remembers the moment they found JJ saying, "It was a flood of emotion that we found him and thoughts of my own son who is the same age."

The prosecution then asked to amend the indictment. They say there are 'clerical errors' on the charges listed and other incorrect wording. Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood points out Lori was charged with grand theft by deception, in the indictment it says grand theft with the intent to deprive.

Under Idaho Law, the court can amend the indictment anytime before the prosecution rests as long as it doesn't bring prejudice against the defendant.

This is where the prosecution rest their case.

Outside the presence of the jury, Lori's Defense Attorney Jim Archibald asked Judge Boyce if there was enough evidence to bring the jury to a verdict.

Idaho Law allows for a judgment of acquittal if the evidence is not strong enough to convict.

Judge Boyce is taking time to decide on a ruling, while the defense attorneys had a private meeting with Lori to see how she wanted to proceed.

After court was back in session, the defense didn't believe the state had proven its case. The defense then rest their case. Lori will not take the stand.

Closing arguments will begin Thursday morning.

You can view a timeline of events and all our past stories on Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow-Daybell HERE.

Article Topic Follows: Vallow-Daybell Coverage

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Kailey Galaviz

Kailey is a reporter and weekend anchor for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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