Chad Daybell looked for home for childfree couple, testimony reveals

Apr 19, 2023, 1:25 PM | Updated: 7:34 pm

Lori Vallow Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell are on trial for a series of charges related to t...

Lori Vallow Daybell sits surrounded by her attorneys during trial. She is accused in the deaths of her children JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. (Court sketch)

(Court sketch)

BOISE, Idaho — After emotional testimony from Lori Vallow Daybell’s only surviving son on Tuesday, court resumed Wednesday morning with more testimony from Det. Chuck Kunsaitis from the Rexburg Police Department.

Vallow Daybell is on trial in Ada County, Idaho, for the deaths of her two children, JJ Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16. Authorities found the buried remains of the children in the backyard of Chad Daybell, Vallow Daybell’s husband, on June 9, 2020.

Vallow Daybell is also charged with conspiracy to commit the murder of Tammy Daybell, the late wife of her husband.

Kunsaitis concluded his testimony on Wednesday by describing his search through social media platforms. What he found led him to Julie Black at Quiet Dreams Realty in Hawaii. 

According to Kunsaitis, Chad Daybell emailed the realty office on Nov. 8, 2019, three days after he married Vallow Daybell. According to Kunsaitis, Chad Daybell asked Black about a home “for a clean couple, with no pets or children.”

Chad Daybell sent the email about two months after the last reported sightings of Tylee and JJ, and seven months before authorities found the remains of the children in shallow graves on Chad Daybell’s Rexburg, Idaho property.

Follow the money

A good portion of the testimony on Wednesday involved money, specifically, the results of following money’s electronic trail. For example, Kunsaitis determined that Tylee Ryan’s Venmo account was used to issue $100.00 to residents in Kim City, Missouri. Another $100 was issued to Colby Ryan, also from Missouri. 

But Tylee Ryan wasn’t in Missouri when the Venmo payments were made from her phone.  “We know that through our investigation that Tylee or JJ didn’t make that trip,” Kunsaitis told the court.

A forensic accountant and special agent with the FBI, Michael Douglass, provided a review of financial events involving Tylee Ryan and Lori Vallow Daybell, namely Venmo activity and social security payments received by Lori Vallow Daybell after the dates the children are believed to have been murdered.

Tylee began receiving social security payments after her father Joseph Ryan, died in April 2018. By July 24, 2019, Douglass said, those payments were no longer being sent to Tylee’s bank account. By August 28, 2019, Tylee’s social security payments were instead being deposited into Lori Vallow Daybell’s account.

Douglass confirmed that payments were deposited into Lori Vallow Daybell’s accounts for “months” after the children died, presumably in late September 2019. 

“She didn’t have much of a reaction”

Detective Cassandra Yncaln was called to testify on Wednesday about Lori Vallow’s demeanor after the shooting death of her husband, Charles Vallow at the hands of her brother, Alex Cox in Chandler, Arizona.

“At the time that I initially saw her and while I was in front of the residence, she (Lori Vallow) appeared calm, very non-emotional, was kind of hanging out and seemed to be just having … general conversation, not really upset,” Yncaln told the court.

“At one point she was laughing.”

Ynclan was responsible for a follow-up conversation with Vallow at the police department that same morning. She reported Vallow’s behavior during that interview was “similar” to what she’d seen earlier at the scene of the shooting. She described Lori Vallow as calm and unemotional.

Upon cross-examination, when asked by defense attorney Jim Archibald whether there was a correct way to act when an estranged husband was shot, Ynclan said she didn’t know.

“It left an impression on me how unemotional she was.”

“It was my understanding that her belief system had changed”

The final witness called by the defense on Wednesday was April Raymond, a friend of Lori Vallow Daybell’s from Hawaii. Raymond described how the two met in 2016 (through their mutual membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and that their friendship grew to include activities outside of church meetings.

Raymond told the court she and Vallow Daybell maintained a relationship “to an extent” after Lori left Hawaii, with occasional visits, calls, and texts.

But she said in February 2019, she got an unexpected call from Vallow Daybell. The next day, Tylee and Vallow Daybell left the hotel to stay with Raymond.

That’s when, Raymond said, she learned Vallow was living in Arizona, that Lori believed Charles had an affair, and that as Vallow put it “Charles wasn’t Charles.” 

Instead of being Charles, Vallow told her friend that her estranged husband had died and become “a demon.” Raymond said that at a subsequent lunch with another friend, Melanie Gibb, that concept was reinforced. At the same lunch, the topics of the spiritual number 144,000 and the group ‘Ushering in Christ’ were also raised by Vallow and Gibb.

By 2019, Raymond said her friend Lori Vallow Daybell was talking about zombies and light and dark scales, and that Vallow believed she was a goddess.

(This is one in a series of reports outlining each day of the murder trial of Lori Vallow Daybell.)

Emily Ashcraft contributed to this story

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Chad Daybell looked for home for childfree couple, testimony reveals