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Chad Daybell trial: Full recap of prosecution’s case

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - Chad Daybell’s trial is set to continue, Monday, May 20. The prosecution rested its case on Thursday.

Case summary

Chad Daybell, 55, is facing charges of first degree murder, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft in connection with the deaths of Tammy Daybell, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. 

Last year, their mother, Lori Vallow-Daybell, received a life sentence without parole for the killings.

Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if Daybell is convicted.

The story began in the fall of 2019, when extended family members reported the two children missing and law enforcement officials launched a search that spanned several states. 

Lori Vallow-Daybell and Chad Daybell were having an affair when both of their spouses died unexpectedly, investigators said. Vallow-Daybell’s husband was shot to death by her brother Alex Cox in Arizona in July 2019; the brother told police it was in self-defense.

Several months later, in October 2019, Tammy Daybell died. Chad Daybell initially told police she was battling an illness and died in her sleep, but an autopsy later determined she died of asphyxiation. Vallow-Daybell and Chad Daybell married just two weeks after Tammy Daybell died, surprising family members and drawing suspicion from authorities.

Friends later told detectives that Vallow-Daybell and Chad Daybell believed they had been reincarnated and were tasked with gathering people before a biblical apocalypse.

Wood said Chad Daybell described both children as being possessed before they disappeared, and that he repeatedly predicted to friends that Tammy Daybell would soon die.

The bodies of the children were eventually found buried on Chad Daybell's property. Tylee Ryan's remains had been dismembered and burned, and JJ's remains were bound.

Local News 8 reviews the events of the trial, and evidence brought forward so far:

Week one

Prosecutors say the couple justified the three killings by creating a detailed and apocalyptic belief system, part of an elaborate scheme to eliminate any obstacles to their relationship and to obtain money from survivor benefits and life insurance. Vallow Daybell referred to her two youngest kids as zombies.

Daybell's defense attorney John Prior presented a different picture to jurors, noting that Chad Daybell was a religious person but suggesting that his belief in things like premonitions were fairly mainstream. Prior also explained to jurors that Lori Vallow Daybell's brother, Alex Cox, had a violent history. He had previously been convicted of attacking Vallow Daybell's third husband, and he shot and killed her fourth husband. Daybell's attorney also argued that his client lived a normal, faith-focused life before he met Lori Vallow Daybell, who he said showered Daybell with attention. His legal team described her as a "beautiful, vivacious person” who drew Daybell into an extramarital relationship. Daybell's attorney also said he would present several experts in DNA, forensics and pathology who would testify that it's impossible to determine what caused Tammy Daybell's death and that none of Chad Daybell's DNA was found with the children's bodies. Some of Chad and Tammy Daybell's adult children will also testify, Prior said, about how Tammy Daybell was suffering from a number of maladies but that she refused to see a doctor, instead treating her illnesses with herbs and oils at home.

Photos were shown to the jury on the process of exhuming the bodies. Judge Stephen W. Boyce did not allow the graphic photos to be shown over the livestream.

Rexburg Detective Ray Hermosillo took the stand to talk about the way they found JJ and Tylee bodies that were buried in Chad's backyard. He said they found what was left of Tylee burned and parts of her thrown into a green plastic bucket and buried in the pet cemetery.

He also described the way they found JJ. He was buried under a tree with wood paneling and large stones placed over him to hide his body. He was bound and wrapped in plastic garbage bags.

Week two

Vince Kaaiakamanu – Kaaiakamanu was an investigator with the Fremont County Sheriff's Office when Daybell was arrested and is currently the Chief Deputy for the Madison County Sheriff's Office. He testified about a phone call between Lori and Chad. Lori made the call from Madison County Jail on June 9, 2020, when police were searching Chad's property. He said Chad seemed nervous and told her they were searching on the property. 

Rexburg Detective Eric Wheeler – He was on the property when the children's bodies were found. He is also the one who arrested Chad Daybell when he tried to drive off during the search.

Detective Nathan Duncan with the Chandler Police Department homicide unit– He responded to the shooting of Charles Vallow on July 11, 2019.

Alex Cox made the 911 call, reporting that he had shot his brother-in-law, Charles Vallow, in self-defense.

Duncan testified about how the body of Charles Vallow was found. Vallow had been shot in the lower left quadrant of his body.  An additional wound was found in his chest and two more wounds on his back.

Alex Cox told officers he shot Charles twice after Charles hit him in the head with a baseball bat. He said he tried to give Charles CPR. Detective Duncan disagreed. Duncan also testified about emails and texts sent between Chad, Lori Alex and Alex’s wife Zulema. They talked about Dark Spirits and how they were possessing several people around Chad and Lori.

Detective Duncan read them on the stand, starting with a text from Charles to Lori. “You accuse me of infidelity, but it's you who have been having an affair. It just keeps killing me. Maybe that's your goal. How can you live with destroying with yourself, destroying our life, Mel's, and Brandon's, probably Melon's and Brandon's too. Now, add Chad Daybell family and you've got a home run. The fact that you continue to go to the temple after all you've done shocks even me. There really is something wrong with you."

Less than two weeks before Charles was killed, he threatened to tell Chad's wife Tammy about Chad and Lori's affair. 

“Tammy, my name is Charles Vallow. I have some vital and disturbing information regarding your husband and my wife, Lori. This is your work email, so I'll wait to send you the evidence, that is very disturbing. You may call or email me from the address where you can receive the information. I apologize to be the one sending this, but something has to be done,” Charles texted.  

Detective Duncan said he did not know if Tammy ever saw those messages.

Melanie Gibb on the stand to testify in the Chad Daybell trial at the Ada County Courthouse on April 18, 2024.

Melanie Gibb, former best friend of Lori Vallow– At the time of the conference where Chad and Lori met, they were both still married to other people.
Gibb described how Chad began telling Lori about light and dark spirits and how evil spirits can possess people.

Blake: "At some point, did she talk to you more about what it meant? If the evil spirit came in, like where the actual person went."

Gibb: "So, when a dark spirit would take over, the original spirit of the person would go into the spirit world."

Blake: "And that's what she originally told you."

Gibb: "That's right."

Blake: "And did she tell you she received that information from Chad?"

Gibb: "Yes."

Gibb said Lori and Chad talked about multiple lives that Chad and Lori had been together and married before, and that she'd also been with other people.

Gibb: “She was married to Moroni, and she was married to James and she was Chad's wife, but he was James. And she was, I think Elena, and then she was, Chad was considered to be Methuselah, and she was his daughter.”

Blake: “And was there some kind of a rating system or a system to easily identify if someone was light or dark or what level they were?”

Gibb: “She would ask him and he would somehow find out and he would find out, you know, how many times they'd been on this planet or any other planets, I guess. And he would just find that out by asking questions the way he did, and then she would share it with us.”

Gibb: “So when a dark spirit would take over, the original spirit of the person would go into the spirit world.”

Blake: “And that's what she originally told you.”

Gibb: “That's right.”

Blake: “And did she tell you she received that information from Chad?”

Gibb: “Yes.”

The prosecution also played a phone call that Melanie Gibb recorded when she called Chad and Lori, asking about JJ.

Gibb on the phone: “Okay. Well, you know, when I asked Chad the other day, I was like, hey, you know, where is JJ? And he said, for my security, he didn't want me to know. So is there a reason I should be in danger to know where he is?”

Lori on the phone: “It's nobody. It's his danger. It's the danger that there's people after me.”

Gibb: “Okay.”

Chad: “So it's, you know, it puts you in danger.”

Gibb: “Well, I was wondering why you told the police why he was with me.”

Lori: “I just need you to talk somebody that I. So I wouldn't have to tell them where he really was. because they are going to tell Kay would you.”

Gibb: “Is JJ safe?”

Lori: “He is safe and happy.”

JJ had been murdered and was buried in Chad Daybell's backyard when the phone call happened.

Week three

Lori Vallow's son Colby Ryan – Colby Ryan got emotional when prosecutor Rob Wood asked him about pictures showing Tylee and JJ.  He talked about how close they were and how much Tylee loved JJ. 

Retired FBI agent Doug Hart- testified about texts between Chad and Lori.

Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsay Blake asked Hart about a fight between Chad and Lori and how Chad tried to manipulate her by saying that the 'angelic protection' she was receiving would be taken away if she didn't respond to him.

Hart: “Grandpa Keith is Lori's deceased grandfather. So, Chad Daybell is indicating to Lori Vallow that he is unable to protect her and that the angels are angry that she is ignoring him. And so, he is trying to get her to respond due to those indication of what's happening spiritually. And then when she does respond, Chad will get things restored.”

Blake “That's what he indicates.”

Hart: “Yes.”

Lori and Chad's friend, David Warwick, took the stand.

Warwick: “He was manipulative.”

Prosecutor: “Can you explain what you meant to Detective Hermosillo when you use the word manipulative?

Warwick: “Like when you get people's confidence. And then he uses that confidence for his favor.”

Brandon Bordeaux- He was married to Lori Vallow's niece, Melanie Pulaski, for ten years. He talked about having a loving Christian relationship and raising a family with his wife until her beliefs began to change. He said she became more radical when she became involved with Lori's fringe group. Her involvement led to their divorce.

Brandon was the one who identified JJ's body.

Prosecutor: “How did they have you identify him?”

Bordeaux: He showed me some pictures of him deceased. Asked me if that was JJ, and I said, yeah.

Fremont County Coroner Brenda Dye -She investigated the death of Tammy Daybell on Oct. 19, 2019. 

She said she was a new coroner then, and she went to the Daybell’s house and found Chad distraught. She also described his son as emotionless.  

Tammy’s body was lying on the bed with pink foam coming out of her mouth and on a towel because some of it had already been wiped off.

Dye: “Yes, he said that he felt her body roll off the bed and that’s what awakened him just because of the rigor 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 her feet 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.”

The prosecution then asked Dye if that made sense to her.  She said it did at the time, but it doesn’t now.

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.

She noted limited training, budget restraints, and knowledge of Tammy’s medical history as factors which led her to 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.  

The jury heard an email that showed at least some of Chad’s children also believed in his teachings about dark spirits, demonic possession, and zombies. 

Steven Shultz– from Springville, Utah took the stand. He is a former neighbor and friend of Chad Daybell that worked with him at a Springfield cemetery. Shultz was also from the funeral home that took Tammy’s Daybell's body to prepare it for burial.

He said Chad told him he wanted the funeral as soon as possible, in fact requested it to be held the next day.

Tammy's funeral was two days after her death.

Shultz said despite the fact he and Chad were friends, he had some concerns about Tammy’s death.

Shultz:“In that conversation, we were both talking about how quickly things were doing it. How quickly things were happening. We both felt there was a feeling of being rushed through this whole process. And I actually turned to Jason and I said that do you think he killed her?” 

Wixom:“Was that based on the red flags that you were feeling?

Shultz: “It was based on the red flags.”

Ron Arnold– a neighbor and friend of the Daybell family. Arnold asked Chad about the missing kids, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. "Chad looked me straight in the eye and told me that they were okay and when everything came out, everything was going to be just fine."

Week four

Mother and daughter Patricia Later and Hannah Parker–  Patricia is Tammy's first cousin. 

Hannah testified first, talking about the night of Tammy Daybell's viewing in Springville, Utah. She said she went through the line twice, once with her mom and once with her dad. She said that each time Chad Daybell told very different stories about what happened the night Tammy died.  

“He said that she had been vomiting and coughing and then around 10pm, she had vomited again and then came to his office and said that she was feeling a little bit better. And he said that she was going to bed and that he stayed in his office working. And then around 1 a.m. He went upstairs and found Tammy on the floor. And he said that she had rolled out of the bed and was on the floor and that he found her cold and already passed,” Hannah testified.

About two hours later Hannah said she went through the line again with her mom and Chad said, “between nine and 10 she came down to his office and said that she was going to rest and go to bed. He said that he was worried about her, so he went to bed at the same time. And then at around midnight, he woke up to her rolling out of bed and hitting the floor. He said that he went to check on her and had found that she had passed.”  

Patricia took the stand next to talk about how close she and Tammy were growing up. And how shocked she was to find out Tammy was dead “It just didn't make any sense,” Patricia said. Why not?” the prosecutor asked. “She was so young and healthy,“ Patricia answered.

She also spoke about Chad's behavior the night of the viewing and how he seemed to only cry when others did. She also said during Chad's talk at the funeral service, he said some things she thought were inappropriate.

“There was a couple things that he said that I just thought weren't very nice,” Patricia testified.  “What were those things?” the prosecutor asked.  “He said that the first thing he said was that she wasn't easy to live with. He said that she was lazy. He said that she had depression, which she did, but to say it out in front of the whole congregation, I thought it was, I guess, embarrassing for her? I don't know. So why were those things of concern to you? I just didn't think they were very nice,” Patricia replied.

Utah Medical Examiner Erick Christensen– He was the forensic pathologist who did the autopsy on Tammy Daybell after her body was exhumed.Christensen said if he had responded to the scene, he would have done an autopsy because Tammy was young and there was no medical explanation as to why she died.

Christensen talked about the bloody foam coming out of Tammy’s mouth, and the bruising on Tammy’s arms and chest. He marked an exhibit showing the location but not the size of the bruises on Tammy’s arms.

The jury was then shown graphic pictures of those bruises during the autopsy. They were not shown on the livestream.

Husband and wife Todd and Alice Gilbert– They were friends of Chad and Tammy's from Salem. Todd said the February before Tammy's death, Chad told him she wouldn't live very much longer. “On the way out, he says. I don't know if I should say this to you, but I feel like I should tell you that Tammy’s mission is going to come to an end or her life mission before her 50th birthday,” Todd said.

Alice said that they were shocked to hear about Tammy's death and surprised at how quickly the funeral was held. “I needed to see her, so my husband and I went to the funeral in Springfield. I needed to see her to the casket,” Alice said.

They also told the jury about a conversation they had with Chad less than a week after Tammy's death. “And he said that he found the woman he was going to marry. We were absolutely stunned when he said that,” Alice said.  

“Then he seemed a little hesitant. He says I need to tell you something. And he says I have a girlfriend. And, of course, we about fell on the floor,” Todd said.

 Then just about a week later, they met Lori for the first time in the Rexburg LDS Temple. She was with Chad. And then a couple of days after that, Chad brought Lori to their house for a visit. 

“It was awkward,” Alice said.  “And when you say it was awkward, did you make observations of Chad and Lori's interactions?” asked the prosecutor.  “Yes, they were very affectionate with each other, more than I had ever seen, Chad. It was very affectionate with her,” Alice responded.

“And one thing we felt was strange, I seen Chad rubbing her leg and I thought to myself, that's kind of odd. Your first wife has died within a week and a half and you're carrying on kind of like a teenager sitting there that's first in love. So I thought it was odd,” Todd said.

During that conversation, Lori told them her husband had died of a heart attack in December, and Chad added that Lori had a daughter that had died. This was before anyone knew that the children were missing. Chad again visited after Lori had been arrested and asked if he could live with them and if they would put their house up to pay for Lori's bond to get out of jail. They ultimately said no.

“When he came in, he was quite upset and he said he had to get her out of jail and that it was he cried and He said it was just killing her to be in jail. And could we put our house up for bond,” Alice said.  “During your conversation with Chad regarding the bond, do you recall anything about the comment previously made about Lori’s daughter dying coming up?” the prosecutor asked. “Yes, because I asked him, how many daughters does Lori have? And he said, one. And I said, well, when we met you,  you told me she had a daughter that passed away. And he said, no, I didn't,” Alice said.  

When they found out about Tylee being missing, they again asked Chad about it.  “I’m asking you some questions. So I asked him, where are the children? And I asked him where is Tylee? I said, you know, she's a teenager. So I said, Doesn't she want a life and come out and say, I'm the missing girl, I want a job and a life and a boyfriend? And he just said she didn't like people and she didn't like me,” Alice said.  

Rexburg Police detective David Stubbs– Stubbs helped discover the bodies of J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan on Chad Daybell's property. He also conducted a search of Lori Vallow's Rexburg apartment after efforts to find J.J. began. Bodycam footage from that search was shown to the jury. It shows a walk through of Lori's apartment. Closets had been cleared out and a half-packed bag was left on one of the beds. Detective Stubbs said the apartment seemed to be cleared in haste.

Special agent Steve Daniels, member of the evidence response team– After marking a perimeter and marking areas of interest with orange stakes, Agent Daniels' team sifted through soil and ash in the fire pit. During a larger excavation operation, they found human remains.

"We had an anthropologist with us on scene, and we tried to make a determination if this was human or not" Daniels said. "And while that determination was being attempted, I caught an odor of human remains decomposing. And so, that leads us to stop utilizing the tractor, and we start processing this area by hand."

Week five

Special agent Steve Daniels, member of the evidence response team– told the jury about how they found JJ’s body buried by a tree on Chad Daybell’s property.

It was covered with pieces of wood and large stones.

The public cameras were shut down as the prosecution showed graphic photos of how JJ’s body was carefully exhumed.

His body was wrapped in several layers of plastic and duct tape and his wrists and ankles were bound.

"So once we made the cut with the razor blade to that black outer plastic, we found that there was a white plastic wrapped around whatever was inside the shape that we thought was the skull," Daniels said. 

"So once I made the cut on the white plastic and again it was tight against this the head that was inside. We pulled it, I pulled it up, made the cut, trying to not disturb as much forensic evidence as possible. But as I made that cut, the human hair that you can see on the top of that photo started coming out as I made that cut. And that's the point where we knew these are the human remains and these remains become JJ Vallow remains. And that's the point where this ends up becoming JJ's Vallow's burial site," Daniels said.

Zulema Pastenes– She was married to Lori's brother, Alex Cox and was close to Chad and Lori.  She was also a part of their fringe religious group.

Zulema shared testimony of secret meetings, blessings and prayers, zombies, light and dark spirits and information coming from angels on how to cast out demons.

Zulema: “Some new information was given to them by angels that taught them how to do a casting to finally be the way that you will be successful to finally cast out a demon.

Prosecutor: “And did she say that's what happened with Tammy?”

Zulema: “Yes.” 

Prosecutor: “And again, if a casting was successful what would happen to the body?”

Zulema: “The body would die.”

Zulema testified Tammy, Charles, JJ and Tylee all had been branded zombies by Chad. She said that Alex was being manipulated by Chad and Lori to do whatever they wanted him to do.

Prosecutor: “Did Alex believe what Chad told him?

Zulema: “A 100%”

Prosecutor: “Would Alex do what Chad asked. “

Zulema: “Yeah, especially because he would tell him what to do through a blessing and tell him that it was Jesus Christ, the one that was telling him to do that.”

As time went on and more people were coming forward about the missing children. Lori and Chad stopped communicating with Alex.

Zulema: “He said, can you believe that they're being such jerks? Now that after I help them now they don't even want to talk to me?”

Until one night when Alex received a phone call from Chad and Lori, about Tammy's body being exhumed.

Zulema: “And he seemed really weird to that Lori and Chad were calling him to tell him that the body was being exhumed something very odd and weird to me. So, I asked him, I said, they're exhuming Tammy's body? If they exhume her body, are you going to be tied to anything that happened to Tammy? And he said no.”

Zulema said that after that phone call, Alex was very somber, and started saying things that she didn't think made any sense.

Zulema: “So one of the things that he said is I think I'm being their. I'm going to be their fall guy, and I asked them what that meant, if he could explain to me what he was saying. To me, and he won't say anything to me. As I was walking out of the room after he's not explaining anything to me. He said Zulema either I am a man of God or I am not.

One day later, Alex Cox was dead. Many questioned the timing and strange circumstances surrounding his death. But according to an autopsy, Alex Cox died of natural causes.

*We want to warn you, the following portion may be difficult to read.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Garth Warren– said Tylee's autopsy took an entire week, longer than usual because of the condition of her badly burned and dismembered body.

What was left of Tylee’s body had to be delivered in several bags. 

Dr. Warren said they were able to identify bones fragments, soft tissue and some organs.

"So the organs that I identified were the heart, the right and left lung, a portion of the liver, one of the kidneys, small fragments of brain tissue, and a few small segments of bowel. Now, just so you know that all of these tissues are charred or blackened or shrunken some of them are partially burned away so these weren't intact. Organs that look like normal organs's, they, they definitely had fire artifact," Dr. Warren said.

Tylee’s burned remains were found on Chad Daybell’s property.

JJ’s body was also found buried at that location.

Dr. Warren described the way JJ’s body was wrapped when they opened the body bag.

“You can see at the top of the photo near the top of the head, you can kind of see there's a white plastic bag that's covering his head and then his face is wrapped with duct tape all the way from the eyes and at the neck. You can also see that his forearms, wrists and hands are bound with duct tape. There is a blue and white blanket that was accompany in the body that was resting on JJ and then you can also see he's wearing a red pajama top and red pajama bottom," Dr. Warren said.

A shovel and pick ax were brought in. Evidence shows those were found on Chad Daybell’s property the day the bodies were found.

Forensic biologist– A forensic biologist says she collected blood and some possible human remains from the shovel and the ax.

She was able to get positive DNA results relating to the children from both the ax and the shovel.

Rob Wood: Did you compare this the DNA profile from this material with Tylee Ryan's sample?

Forensic biologist: I did.

Rob Wood: What were the results of that testing?

Forensic biologist: The DNA profile from this item matched Tylee Ryan. Iit is at least 604 octillion times more likely to see this DNA profile if Tylee Ryan is the source than if an unrelated randomly selected individual from the general population is the source.

Rob Wood: And can you say that number one more time"

Forensic biologist: 604 octillion.

Rob Wood: How many zeros are in an octillion?

Forensic biologist: An octillion Is 27 zeros.

DNA testing was also done on blond hairs that were found on the duct tape that was wrapped around JJ's neck and head.

The partial DNA profile was a match to Lori Vallow-Daybell. 

FBI analyst Angi Christensen– testified that Tylee’s bones revealed sharp trauma wounds found on her hip and pelvic areas.

Christensen: “Typically dismemberment will occur in what we call pre-mortem, but typically shortly into the post-mortem period, and usually occurs around the joints. Because typically the purpose of dismemberment is to break the body into smaller portions or remove portions that might be easily identifiable.”

Prosecutor: “Did you determine any of these alterations to be consistent with dismemberment?”

Christensen: “No.”

Prosecutor: “And why not?”

Christensen: “Because they all occur around the pelvic region, which isn't a region that you would typically see sharp traumas. If somebody were trying to dismember the body.

Prosecutor: “And in these particular areas where there is sharp trauma, did you find any indication of thermal damage?”

Christensen: “Not in that direct area. So there are some portions of the hip bones that have some thermal alteration but all of the areas with the sharp traumas are unburned.”

Ashlynn Rynd, Tylee’s best friend– testified about her and Tylee’s relationship.   She said she tried to stay in touch with Tylee after she moved to Idaho in September 2019, but only stayed in contact for a couple of weeks.

Rexburg Detective Chuck Kunsaitis– described satellite photographs of Chad Daybell’s property. The photos show how the area looked before and after Tylee’s body was burned and buried.

FBI Special Agent Rick Wright– He testified about phone locations, and data he says shows Alex Cox was on Chad Daybell's property at the time investigators believe Tylee Ryan was burned and buried.

During cross-examination, Chad's attorney, John Prior, asked about the infamous raccoon text that Chad sent to Tammy Daybell.

The text mentioned how Chad and Alex were burning tree limbs and then shooting and burying a raccoon in their pet cemetery.

Prior asked if investigators looked for or found a raccoon.

Wright said he was not aware of it.

Prosecutor Lindsey Blake asked about the same text message.

Blake: "And, again, was this message sent around the same time, or shortly after the device associated with Alex Cox was at the property?”

Wright: “Yes.”

Blake: “So at least on Monday, September 9, it appeared Chad would have been at his residence?”

Wright: “It appears from this message. Yes.”

Blake: “And you were asked about whether or not you found the remnants of a raccoon. Do you recall that?

Wright: “Yes.

Blake: “In reality, were you ever looking for a raccoon?

Wright: “No, we had a search warrant for only certain items. I believe included a raccoon.”

Blake: “In reality, were you looking for missing children?

Wright: “Yes.”

Blake: “Did you, in fact, find those missing children's remains on Chad Daybell’s property?

“Yes, we found a human remains for two children on the property and we seized our search at the property after we found those two children."

A jailhouse call between Chad and Lori was played. In one of those calls, Lori asks Chad for reassurance that their plan will be completed.

Lori Vallow: “Ultimately, what I need from you is that a project is going to be finished, and everything is gonna be fine, and it's gonna work out.”

Chad: “That's what he said.”

Lori: “I need you to tell me that every day several times,”

Chad: “Ok? My sweet, lovely Lolo, things are going to work out not just because he says so but because I know so it's a marvelous, plan.”

Lori: “How do you know?”

Chad: “How do I know? it's been shown to me, honey.”

Detectives believe that the *he that they are referring to in that call is Alex Cox who was dead, but Chad and Lori believed he was helping them as a spirit. 

After the prosecution rested its case, Judge Steven Boyce pointed out an error in the indictment relating to the murder of JJ Vallow.  

The error was made when the indictment was amended in February 2024 from the original charging indictment.

Under Count 4, First Degree Murder of JJ Vallow, included the wrong dates. The amended indictment says JJ was killed “on or between September 8th or 9th of 2019.” Tylee Ryan was killed at that time.  

The first indictment from 2021 stated JJ was killed between September 22nd and 23rd of 2019.  

Idaho criminal rules state an indictment can only be amended before the prosecution rests.

“Obviously a clerical mistake was made here,” said special prosecutor, Ingrid Batey. “It's inconsistent with the initial indictment. It was not a proper legal amendment. We're really talking about a clerical issue here. And I think that when courts look at reopening cases, that's something the court can do for situations such as this,” she said.

“But they don't get to correct it now,” said John Prior, Chad Daybell’s attorney. “They don't have any authority to say that. The cases they cite, talk about other issues and have nothing to do with having the ability to change an indictment, as I am preparing to present my case to the jury, in this case, on a capital murder case.

Judge Boyce ultimately decided the dates was a clerical error.

Between sessions, JJ’s grandpa, Larry Woodcock, said he was confused, surprised and disheartened about the issue.

The defense will begin its case Monday morning.

Article Topic Follows: Vallow-Daybell Coverage

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Emma Valentine


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