Chad Daybell in court, prosecution offers new details

Aug 3, 2020, 9:05 AM | Updated: 5:48 pm
missing Idaho children Officials identify remains found at Daybell property as missing Rexburg chil...
FILE - This combination photo of undated file photos, released by National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, show missing children Joshua "JJ" Vallow, left, and Tylee Ryan. who have been missing since September 2019. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via AP, File)
(National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via AP, File)

REXBURG, Idaho — Chad Daybell was back in an Idaho court on Monday in a preliminary hearing to decide whether his case will move to a state court. The proceedings provided new details in the disappearance and deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. 

Daybell, 52, is charged with four felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence, conspiracy to commit destruction and alteration or concealment of evidence.

Both the bodies of seven-year-old JJ Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan were found buried on Daybell’s property on June 9


This was the first time that both the prosecution and defense had been in the same courtroom since Daybell’s arrest. Monday’s hearing allowed for both sides to make their arguments before Judge Faren Eddins, who will decide if this case moves forward into the state court system.

Also in attendance were JJ Vallow’s biological grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock.

Much of the questioning done by the prosecution was focused around the investigation performed by the lead investigator, Detective Ray Hermosillo.

During the questioning, Hermosillo described the investigation that led officers to the bodies of  JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

A timeline of the missing Idaho Kids

New evidence in the discovery of JJ Vallow

During the course of their investigation, Rexburg Police served a search warrant at Chad Daybell’s home, where he said they found the remains of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan in a “pet cemetery” on the property.

Hermosillo said they discovered a patch of what he described as “sod” that was much shorter than the surrounding weeds and grass.

Hermosillo said that as the Evidence Response Team (ERT) began to dig into the area, they found three large stones covering a number of boards. 

“As soon as they removed the paneling, I could smell the odor of a decomposing body,” Hermosillo told the court.

He then said the ERT began removing the dirt around the area until they discovered a black trash bag with a round object protruding through the dirt.

” [The ERT] used a small, sharp instrument to cut through the black plastic … There was a white plastic underneath the black plastic and they also used the [sharp] instrument to cut through the white plastic,” he said.

After cutting through the second layer of plastic, Hermosillo said he could see brown human hair. 

Hermosillo also said they found a melted green bucket with what was later discovered to be the burned remains of Tylee Ryan.

Autopsy findings

Hermosillo said that later that day, he accompanied the two sets of remains to the Ada County Coroner’s office in Boise for autopsy. 

There, he said, the coroner removed the black plastic bag and found the remains of a small boy, in red pajamas and black socks, covered in a light blue blanket. 

When asked if anything stood out to him, Hermosillo responded, “The amount of duct tape that was covering the body.”

Hermosillo said that the body, later identified as JJ Vallow, had what appeared to be a trash bag covering his head, wrapped tightly in several layers of duct tape from his chin to his forehead. After removing the tape and the bag, Hermosillo said there was an additional piece of tape covering Vallow’s mouth.

In addition to that, Hermosillo said Vallow’s body was also bound with several layers of duct tape around his arms, and legs.

The body camera footage

Rexburg Police Det. David Stubbs was called to the stand to testify about camera footage captured during a welfare check of JJ Vallow at Lori Vallow’s residence on Nov. 26, 2019. 

The body cam video wasn’t shown to the media but the audio was available. During the welfare check, Lori Vallow told Det. Stubbs and Det. Ron Ball that JJ Vallow was in Arizona with her friend Melanie Gibb. 

Lori Vallow mentioned that her brother had been trying to kill her, so she’d moved around a lot and because of that, JJ had had a hard time at school. She said she planned on moving back to Arizona so JJ could go to a school better suited for his behavioral issues. 

Lori Vallow is heard asking “What is all of this?” referring to the police at her door. Ball said police were concerned and “had a bad vibe” about JJ Vallow.

The footage shows Lori Vallow claiming JJ’s biological grandparent, Kay Woodcock called the police because she’s been fighting with Vallow since her husband, Charles Vallow, died. 

In a second visit to Lori Vallow’s home, body cam footage showed Det. Stubbs and Det. Balls asking Lori to have Melanie Gibb call them back. 

Melanie Gibb takes the stand 

Melanie Gibb, someone Lori Vallow called a friend, has played a vital role in the Daybell’s story regarding the whereabouts of JJ Vallow. Both Chad and Lori Daybell face charges of falsifying evidence which include persuading Gibb to lie to law enforcement.  

On the stand, Melanie Gibb said she was in Utah with her boyfriend, David Warwick, on Nov. 26, 2019, when Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow contacted her about telling the police JJ Vallow was with her in Arizona. Gibb said Daybell told her not to answer the phone calls from the police. Later, Vallow called Gibb, asking her to tell the police JJ was with her. 

“She [Lori] told police that I was with JJ and watching a movie called ‘Frozen 2’ and to take pictures of random kids running around to make it look like it was JJ,” testified Gibb.  

When Gibb first received the call from Daybell, she said she was shocked at the request to lie to the police about watching JJ. 

“I wasn’t okay with it because she [Lori] told something to law enforcement that was not true without my knowledge of it,” said Gibb. She said the request from the Daybells made her uneasy. 

When contacted by police, Gibb said she initially ignored the phone calls as directed by Daybell. However, she later told Gilbert, Arizona Police Officer Ryan Pillar that JJ had been with her, but, at the the time she spoke with Pillar, JJ was back with his mother, Lori.

“Lori was misleading and manipulating me to believe s,he [Lori] and him [JJ] were in danger.” Gibb testified Lori told her Kay was trying to kidnap JJ. 

A recorded conversation 

During Monday’s hearing, Midson County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood submitted into evidence a recorded tape recording between Gibb, Lori and Chad Daybell. 

Gibb said she called Officer Pillar back on Dec. 7 and 8, 2019 to provide additional details about what happened to JJ, Tylee, and Chad Daybell. 

On Dec. 8, Gibbs recorded a phone call with Lori and Chad Daybell, under her own volition, about where JJ and Tylee were. She asked the Daybell’s why they asked her to lie to the police. They responded by saying they didn’t want anyone to know the location of JJ so the police wouldn’t tell Kay where he was. Vallow said JJ was happy and healthy. 

In the conversation, Gibb pushed back on Lori Vallow about why she asked Gibb to tell the police JJ was with her. Vallow responded, “I was doing as the Lord directed me to.” Chad added that “they were just trying to protect their children.”

Gibb said in the phone call that the whole situation made her sick to her stomach. Gibb continued to ask where JJ was multiple times throughout the phone call. 

The phone call abruptly ends and Gibb said the call lost connection. 

The court hearing is expected to reconvene on Tuesday, August 4,  at 9 a.m. MDT.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 03: Grammy trophies sit in the press room during the 64th Annual GRAMMY A...
Marianne Garvey, CNN

How to watch the 2023 Grammy Awards: Time, channels and more

The biggest night in music is here with the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday. If you want to see Harry Styles, Lizzo and more perform, here's how to tune in.
18 hours ago
SLCPD cruiser...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD officer witnesses wrong-way drunk driver crash into embankment

At around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, an SLCPD officer witnessed a 2009 black Ford F-150 traveling at a high rate of speed in the wrong lane. 
18 hours ago
This photo purports to show the suspected Chinese balloon flying over Mills River, North Carolina, ...
Heather Chen and Wayne Chang, CNN

China says it ‘reserves the right’ to deal with ‘similar situations’ after US shoot down suspected spy balloon

China says it "reserves the right" to deal with "similar situations" following the United States' decision to shoot down its high-altitude balloon.
18 hours ago
In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

Cosmic seaplanes and self-growing bricks could help us explore other worlds

In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently than ever before.
2 days ago
The Chinese national flag is seen at the entrance to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing...
By Zachary Cohen, CNN

A look at China’s history of spying in the US

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that violated American airspace this week has fueled a diplomatic crisis with the postponement of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned trip to Beijing.
2 days ago
Around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 4, a 34-year-old female sustained critical injuries after being...
Waverly Golden

AirMed responds to tubing accident in Peter Sinks, Logan

Around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 4, a 34-year-old female sustained critical injuries after being struck by a snowmobile.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Chad Daybell in court, prosecution offers new details