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Chad Daybell trial day 23: Medical examiner discusses autopsy of Tammy Daybell

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - How did Tammy Daybell die? That is the question jurors are considering on day 23 of the triple murder trial of Chad Daybell. 

The court began Tuesday morning with Dr. Lily Marsden taking the stand. She is the deputy chief medical examiner at the Utah Medical Examiner's Office. The office performed the autopsy on Tammy Daybell’s body after she was exhumed. The Utah Medical Examiner ruled Tammy's death was a homicide by asphyxia.

Testimony talked about two main things, bruises on Tammy Daybells arms and the pink foam that was coming out of her mouth.

 John Prior, Daybell’s attorney: “When we talked about foam in the airways and the lungs. One of the indications of a foam isn't a true is that the heart stops and doesn't provide enough oxygen to the body and the result is a significant amount of foam.

 Dr. Marsden: “Usually when you have a sudden cardiac death, you don't have enough time for that pulmonary edema to develop because your lungs are essentially stopping at the same time that your heart is stopping. 

Lindsey Blake, prosecutor: “Are there ways that someone can cause someone else's death in that manner, without leaving any signs or external injuries? 

Dr. Marsden: “Absolutely.

Blake: "What are those?"

Dr. Marsden: "This would include things like smothering. smothering with a pillow, putting a bag over the head. Putting a weight on the chest so that the chest can rise. These are all potential things that would not necessarily leave any sign.” 

Rick Wright, a special investigator with the FBI in Pocatello, also took the stand Tuesday. He testified about the electronic devices owned by Chad Daybell, Lori Vallow, Alex Cox,  Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow. His investigation pinpointed their locations at key times in the investigation.

On September 8, 2019, the last day Tylee was known to be alive, Lori, Tylee, JJ, and Alex were in and around Yellowstone Park. One of the last known pictures of Tylee was taken in the park.

“My best conclusion that as of the last known location for Tylee Ryan was at 565 Pioneer Road Number 175 and that would have been at 20:37 that evening,” Wright said.

Cell data showed Alex's phone was in Lori's apartment most of that night.

Wright: “We received some data points of the device in 175. In their early hours.”

Prosecutor Lindsey Blake: “And again, this was the only time in September that you notice that device in 175 in those early morning hours.”

Wright: “Yes.”

Cell data was located at Chad Daybell's property the morning Tyee's body is believed to have been burned and buried. That is also the morning Chad sent Tammy Daybell the text about killing, burning and burying a raccoon in the pet cemetery on their property.

Wright: “In light of that text message from Chad to Tammy on September 9, and coupling with that, that with the location information showing that Alex was also on the property that same morning when something was being burned and buried it made us scrutinize these particular data points even more, since they corresponded with the approximate time when JJ was last known to be alive. It seemed to indicate that Alex may have been on this property in these locations about the time the children were last known to be alive.”

Wright also received data on September 22 into the morning of the 23rd the day of the last known sighting of JJ alive.

That night Alex Cox's phone went back and forth between his apartment and Lori several times in the early morning hours. The next morning, it went out to Chad Daybell's property.

Wright: “The data points I mentioned earlier here on the left, and the first one was again at 955 near the garage. That was here. And that's again of wi-fi data point with a 50-meter radius proximately one minute later at 9:56. The data point is here by the pond.”

Blake: “Was a search conducted around that area?”

Wright: “Yes. So that search had been conducted on June 9 of 2019. The Rexburg Police Department did obtain a search warrant.”

Blake: “Do you know what was located in that vicinity?”

Wright: “Yes, near these data points here by the pond, really just almost next to or under that tree was a grave for JJ Vallow.”

That same day investigators also uncovered the remains of Tylee Ryan that had been buried near the fire pits.

There was also additional testimony about cell phone data placing Alex Cox in the area when Tammy Daybell was confronted by what she thought was a man with a paintball gun on her property and when Brandon Bordeaux was shot at in Arizona. 

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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Linda Larsen

Linda is an anchor and reporter for Local News 8.


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