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Coroner explains why she changed Tammy Daybell’s cause of death

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - Several witnesses took the stand for day 10 of the Chad Daybell Trial.  Questioning focused on the death of Chad’s wife, Tammy Daybell.

Tuesday, Jurors heard the 911 call Chad made to dispatch reporting Tammy’s death.

Wednesday, legal counsel cross-examined the coroner who signed off on Tammy’s cause of death… which was initially reported as pulmonary edema or fluid in the lungs.

But, as other details of this case came to light, Tammy’s body was exhumed for autopsy.
Her cause of death was then amended to asphyxiation by suffocation.

Brenda Dye, the Fremont County Coroner, examined the scene where Tammy Daybell wasfound dead.
When she arrived, Chad recounted his version of events.

Dye: “Yes, he said that he felt her body roll off the bed and that’s what awakened him just because of therigor mortis the lividity the coldness of her body. I asked how that was possible if she had been gone that long and he said it may have been from him, pulling the sheets and releasing her body as it fell as he stated that she was going through menopause and she had hot flashes and she like to sleep with herfeet outside the covers and on the edge of the bed.”

Deputy Prosecutor Rocky Wixom: “What triggered you to inquire how that was possible of how the body fell? Why did you question that?

Dye: “Because if the body, if someone’s dead, they can’t roll out of the bed.  So, I was trying to understand how that woke him up when somebody is dead they can’t move.”

She noted limited training, budget restraints, and knowledge of Tammy’s medical history as factors which lead her believe an autopsy was not necessary.

She later questioned the validity of Chad’s account after witnessing the autopsy and seeing the results.

Dye: "All of Tammy's organs were very healthy. There was nothing in the brain. The heart was healthy. The only organ, that was not healthy were the lungs. and when they were dissected, there is still foam. A lot of foam in the lungs.”

Wixom: "How did that impact your decision to change the death certificate?"

Dye: "There shouldn't have been that foam in the lungs still. It was two months before she was examined and an autopsy was done." 

Friends of Tammy were surprised to hear she had passed and testified she was a fit woman.  

During cross examination Chad Daybell's attorney, John Prior, also asked questions about Tammy's health and how it related to her body shape.

Trial continues on Thursday.

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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Curtis Jackson


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