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DNA evidence testing on hold in Vallow-Daybell case

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho — An Idaho judge ordered the state crime lab to put DNA evidence testing on hold in the case against Chad and Lori Daybell. 

Chad and Lori Daybell face charges of conspiring to conceal evidence in the deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, Lori’s children. Additionally, Chad Daybell faces charges of concealment and destruction of evidence. 

DNA evidence in the Daybell case

Reportedly, investigators found blood evidence on tools seized from the property of Chad Daybell. The bodies of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, Lori Daybell’s children, were buried on that property.

The decision to put DNA testing on hold came in response to a motion from the defense. They requested half the available material to do their own testing. 

Greg Skordas, a Utah defense attorney unaffiliated with the Daybell case, said the petition stems from how DNA testing works. If divided, would enough evidence exist to perform the tests? 

“When a test is done by a crime lab, it destroys part of the sample, and some of the samples are apparently so small that there may not be enough left for the defense to do their own analysis and their own testing,” Skordas explained to KSL TV. 

Unusual request?

The judge granted the motion, meaning testing will remain on hold while he considers whether to divide the samples. 

“I think it’s unusual that the defense is going to such lengths to have their own tests done, because it implies that the state’s testing, that the state crime lab is not competent,” Skordas said. “And there’s no evidence of that.” 

Skordas said he believes prosecutors hope DNA from that blood will match the children’s.

“Most likely they’re trying to see if either of the children’s DNA are on the tools that they found, because that would be very compelling if one of the children’s blood is on the tools,” Skordas said. 

Testing will stay on hold until both sides can agree how to proceed. 

More on the Daybell case: 

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