FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - Chad Daybell's children are speaking about their father for the first time since the disappearance of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
Chad Daybell and his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, have been charged with murdering her children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, then burying them on Daybell’s property just outside of Rexburg. Now, in their first television interview together, Chad Daybell’s children defend their dad in an all-new 48 HOURS, “The Secrets of Chad Daybell’s Backyard,” to be broadcast Wednesday, Sept. 1 (9 PM MT) on Eyewitness News 3.
“My father needs someone to be a voice for him,” Emma Murray tells correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti. “To let people know what’s real, what we know.”
The disappearance of JJ and Tylee gripped the nation. First, police said the children disappeared in September 2019, shortly after the family moved to Rexburg, Idaho, from Arizona. Investigators say Tylee was last seen in Yellowstone National Park with her family on Sept. 8, 2019. Investigators say JJ vanished on Sept. 23, 2019. Throughout, Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell refused to talk with investigators or say where the children were. Then, in June 2020, the bodies of JJ and Tylee were found in shallow graves on Chad Daybell’s property.
Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. Lori Vallow Daybell has been found incompetent to stand trial and proceedings against her have been suspended. She has not yet entered a plea to these charges.
Asked whether Chad Daybell played any role in the murders of JJ and Tylee, his children say no.
“It’s completely unthinkable,” says Leah Murphy.
The investigation into the disappearance and murders of JJ and Tylee opens up a bizarre tale of twisted relationships; the changing personality of the mom; hints of doomsday beliefs; eyewitness accounts that Lori Vallow Daybell believed JJ had become a zombie; talks of cults; and the suspicious deaths of two ex-spouses.
Prosecutors say law enforcement was led to search Daybell’s property because cellphone data from Alex Cox’s phone put him there for two hours the day after Tylee was last seen. Cox is Lori Vallow Daybell’s brother.
Mark, Leah, Seth, Garth and Emma tell Vigliotti they’re speaking out together for the first time because the public has only heard one side of the story. They want to tell his story, how they believe JJ and Tylee’s remains ended up in their father’s backyard, and why they believe he did not do it. They believe he was lured into a web of murder and deceit.
“He was framed,” says Emma Murray. “This is his property. If there’s bodies buried here, it would be attributed to him.”
“Who framed your father?” Vigliotti asks.
“I think it’s pretty clear it was Lori and Alex,” Emma Murray says. “Alex came … and left for periods of time. …We don’t know… what exactly he was doing.”
Murray believes her father was fooled by Vallow and Cox in the “most deadly way possible.”
Murray walks with Vigliotti along the property where the bodies were found and recalls the day their father was arrested. Investigators found Tylee’s body in the pet cemetery, near where Cox’s phone data placed him. JJ’s remains were found about 50 yards away in a shallow grave.
“If he didn’t kill them, then why were their bodies found in your father’s backyard?” Vigliotti asks.
“I don’t know why they would be there,” Emma Murray says. “But I do know that if he were to commit a crime, he wouldn’t be foolish enough to put the evidence in his own backyard.”
That the children were buried in shallow graves, Daybell’s kids say, points a finger away from their dad, who worked as a gravedigger.
“He knew how to dig graves and – that just doesn’t sound believable to me,” says Seth Daybell.
The siblings also say there was never any talk of zombies or cults in their family.
“He never said a thing to us about zombies,” Garth Daybell says. “The first we ever heard of it was in a news report.”
48 HOURS and Vigliotti explore the lives of Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell, what happened to JJ and Tylee, and the investigation into their murders.
You can watch 48 Hours interview on Eyewitness News 3 at 9 p.m. MT.