Video: Police asking Lori Vallow Daybell about JJ’s whereabouts shown to jury on day 13 of trial

Apr 20, 2023, 7:30 PM

In a sketch from court, David Warwick takes the witness stand. He was in the home with JJ Vallow on...

In a sketch from court, David Warwick takes the witness stand. He was in the home with JJ Vallow on one of the last hours he is believed to have been alive. (Pool)


BOISE, Idaho — Day nine of testimony in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial featured a number of witnesses — including a police officer who was at the scene of Charles Vallow’s death, a babysitter for JJ Vallow, the husband of one of Vallow Daybell’s former friends, and a detective who was involved in the welfare check on JJ.

Vallow Daybell is currently on trial for the murder of her children: JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. She is also charged and on trial for conspiracy to commit murder for her current husband, Chad Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell. She faces the same conspiracy charges for Tylee and JJ.

Sgt. Nathan Moffat

Sgt. Nathan Moffat with the Chandler Police Department in Arizona responded to the scene after Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, on July 11, 2019.

Moffat said Cox told him that he was spending the night at Lori Vallow house  (later to become Lori Vallow Daybell after her fifth marriage) because they were planning to do something the next day.

Cox told police he saw Charles Vallow and Lori Vallow arguing in the home. At one point, Lori Vallow’s daughter, Tylee Ryan, came out with a baseball bat to “protect her mother.” He said Charles Vallow took the bat and hit Cox on the back of the head with it.

Moffat described the injury as being “a small laceration on the back of the head,” adding that it “wasn’t consistent with being hit extremely hard” with a baseball bat by an athletic man.

Cox said he then grabbed a gun. He told Moffat he fired his gun more than once after Vallow came after him.

Charles Vallow sustained two gunshot wounds — one to the chest and one to the lower abdomen. Moffat said according to his observations, the wound to Charles Vallow’s abdomen traveled through his shoulder, which would be consistent with Charles being on the floor at the time he was shot and not consistent with Cox’s account of what happened.

Moffat said he asked Cox on more than one occasion if he was there to protect his sister from Charles Vallow and he said that was not the case.

While transporting Lori Vallow back to the home, he said she appeared worried. He further described the ride as “very lighthearted” as well as “very different and bizarre.”

In June 2020, Moffat was released from Charles Vallow’s homicide case. He was also replaced as case agent by Det. Nathan Duncan.

Sydney Woodbury Schenk

Sydney Woodbury Schenk was a student at BYU-Idaho. She was looking for work at the time and came across a job listing on to help with JJ Vallow, who had autism.

Schenk said she had an interview at Vallow Daybell’s townhome in Rexburg, Idaho, on Sept. 18, 2019. She said to Rob Wood, the lead prosecutor, that the interview “went well,” adding that she was greeted warmly, introduced to JJ and was told they had recently moved from Arizona.

During the meeting, Schenk said Vallow Daybell told her that JJ tends to get emotional or distracted and has trouble communicating. She also said Charles Vallow had recently died of a heart attack and that JJ was having a hard time with it.

Vallow Daybell, according to Schenk, also mentioned she had a daughter in Rexburg that was going to college, adding that she would sometimes come home for dinner or laundry, but she didn’t like to babysit without being paid.

Schenk, who was hired to babysit to JJ, told the court she never saw a teenage daughter.

The day after the interview, Schenk went over to watch JJ for a few hours “while she (Vallow Daybell) had to go to the airport to pick up a friend.” Schenk described the day as going “pretty well,” but said JJ got upset when a friend wouldn’t play, so he threw an ottoman and chair, went upstairs, and wanted to be alone and hide.

When Vallow Daybell came home, Schenk said JJ was still upset, but Vallow Daybell “calmed him down.”

She said Vallow Daybell’s brother and friend were at the residence.

She was then paid in cash for her services and left.

A few days later, Schenk said she texted Vallow Daybell, asking when she could come again, to which Vallow Daybell replied saying JJ had gone to his grandparents’ house for a month and that she was now in Hawaii. She also told Schenk to message again in a month.

That month had passed and I reached out again and she never communicated back with me again after that,” Schenk said.

She did not see JJ after Sept. 19.

When asked by Vallow Daybell’s attorney, Jim Archibald, if she was under the impression her services would be long-term, Schenk replied saying yes, she expected to work at least the next several months.

She was then released from her subpoena.

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson, who’s been the principal at Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg for the last four years, said JJ Vallow was enrolled there briefly as a student in September 2019 — from Sept. 3 through Sept. 24.

Wilson said the last day JJ was at school was Friday, Sept. 20.

Around Sept. 24, Wilson said he received an email from Vallow Daybell indicating “that they were removing JJ from … Kennedy and were sending him to Louisiana to be with grandparents.”

When they spoke on the phone, Vallow Daybell said, according to Wilson, that once they had JJ enrolled in a Louisiana school, that they would have the school contact Kennedy Elementary to have his records forwarded over.

Wilson said no other school asked for records.

Wynn Hill

Wynn Hill, dean of students at BYU Idaho, said on Feb. 28, 2020, he checked the system for Tylee Ryan, Tylee Cox, Tylee Vallow  and it showed she had never applied or been a student at the university.

David Warwick

Without the jury present, the defense and prosecution argued if Warwick should be allowed to testify at all.

Warwick, who became the husband of Melanie Gibb in 2021 — Vallow Daybell’s former best friend — said he listened to 45 minutes of his wife’s testimony last week, even though he was told by the prosecution not to. Judge Steven Boyce previously instructed witnesses who aren’t victims not to listen to other witnesses. Boyce even had to rule on who was or wasn’t a victim, specifically JJ’s close family, Kay and Larry Woodcock.

Warwick told the court he didn’t learn anything from those 45 minutes, adding that he was just listening to her tone to see how she was doing since she said she didn’t want to be alone.

Archibald then asked for Warwick to be excluded as a witness based on Idaho’s exclusionary rule.

“He knows he’s not supposed to. His motivation for is really irrelevant. He purposefully accessed it and he purposefully listened to it,” Archibald said.

Boyce then issued an exclusion, adding that Warwick’s two previous testimonies given should be stricken from the record. He said there are four possible sanctions, including contempt of court and refusal to let him testify.

“I don’t consider that contempt would be an appropriate response,” Boyce said of the other two testimonies. Warwick was allowed to testify but comment in the courtroom about his actions were allowed by Boyce’s ruling.

During this entire exchange, the jury was not present.

Warwick, who lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah, said he met Vallow Daybell through Gibb in Arizona.

He said he went to Vallow Daybell’s home near the start of August 2019 while she was widowed. He said Chad Daybell, Cox, Zulema Pastenes, Melani Boudreaux and another woman were also there.

Warwick said this was his first time meeting Daybell in person, even though Daybell had reached out to him a few years prior asking if he wanted to do a book with him.

He next saw Vallow Daybell the weekend of Sept. 22, 2019, in Rexburg. Warwick said he was coming up to see Gibb. They were also going to a conference and doing a podcast at Vallow Daybell’s apartment.

Warwick, who ended up staying at Vallow Daybell’s apartment with Gibb, said Cox, Boudreaux and JJ were also there. He said he never saw or met Tylee.

He said JJ wouldn’t really acknowledge him, but when JJ went outside to play, “he just looked really happy.”

Warwick told the court he saw Chad Daybell about four times that weekend.

“That’s when he was trying to teach me about some of their beliefs.”

Warwick said he didn’t believe Daybell and he let Daybell know he didn’t believe.

The last time Warwick saw Daybell at the apartment, he said he didn’t see Daybell and JJ together, but said he heard Daybell had a scuffle with JJ and got a scratch on his neck from it.

He also said Daybell and Vallow Daybell were “very loving with each other and affectionate” despite that Daybell was still married.

When asked Daybell how his marriage was going, Daybell told Warwick “he had no complaints; that she was a good wife,” but said that “her time was coming up”

On Sept. 22, Warwick said they were doing a podcast in Vallow Daybell’s kitchen. JJ was not present at the apartment, but was being watched at Cox’s place.

At approximately 10:30 that night, Warwick said he saw Cox carry JJ, who was asleep, into the home and take him upstairs.

Warwick said in the early hours of the morning, he had “one of the worst nightmares” of his life. He didn’t go into detail about the experience, but said “it was very real” and that he was talking and screaming in his sleep and it alerted Gibb told him she would find Daybell but then couldn’t.

The next morning, Warwick said he didn’t see JJ.

While saying goodbye, Warwick said Vallow Daybell told them that JJ had an episode in which he climbed up on the cabinets, then the fridge, and “knocked over her picture of Christ.” Vallow Daybell couldn’t control him, so she called Cox to come and get him.

Warwick said he didn’t see any scuffs or damage to the cabinets.

During cross-examination by Archibald, Warwick revealed he’s been a speaker at some of the “Preparing a People” events, adding that he’s shared “about my dreams and visions” and others have called him a “visionary man.”

He also said even though he didn’t see JJ the morning of Sept. 23, he did not call police because he “didn’t see any reason” and he thought highly of Vallow Daybell at the time.

Det. Bruce Mattingly

Det. Bruce Mattingly with Freemont County police said he was executing a search warrant at Daybell’s property on Jan. 3, 2020. The FBI was already on scene.

Mattingly said he logged evidence from the scene.

FBI Analyst Benjamin Dean

Benjamin Dean, who worked with the FBI as an intelligence analyst, reviewed electronic communications data from various sources.

He said both Tylee and JJ were seen at Yellowstone on Sept. 8, 2019, adding that visitors were asked to submit any photos to help with the investigation and there were many tips sent.

Dean said he also looked at devices found at Daybell’s home. The investigation was completed in late May of 2020. But afterwards, he was asked to review contents of two Blu-ray discs with data extracted from storage devices seized on Jan. 3, 2020, from Daybell’s home.

While reviewing the disc, Dean said it was clear he was looking over cell phone belonging to Tammy Daybell, Chad’s wife.

“There were no outgoing communications after the 18th of October, 2019,” which is the day before she was found dead in her home, a death later ruled a homicide.

Some texts between Chad and Tammy Daybell from Sept. 9, 2019, were then shared.

Chad: “Well, I’ve had an interesting morning! I felt I should burn all of the limb debris by the fire pit before it got too soaked by the coming storms. While I did so, I spotted a big raccoon along the fence. I hurried and got my gun, and he was still walking along. I got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery. Fun times!”

Chad: “Going to shower, then write at BYU.”

Tammy: “Good for you.”

Chad: “I’m back home now.”

Dean said the first text is “longer and more detailed” than other texts between Chad and Tammy. He added that, “This message appeared to be the one and only time … wherein Chad texted Tammy a rather detailed and step-by-step” timeline of his actions.

The date also caught his attention since it was the day after Tylee was last seen alive.

Det. David Stubbs 

Det. David Stubbs with the Rexburg Police Department said he became involved with the case on Nov. 1, 2019, when he was contacted by the Freemont County Sheriff’s Office. He said they had information from Arizona about a Grey Jeep Wrangler with Texas license plates that was used in a shooting there.

Although they were not able to find the Jeep at that time, Stubbs said it was found Nov. 4. The vehicle was then towed to a secure area. Joe Ryan and Tylee Ryan were listed as owners on the vehicle but nobody complained about the missing vehicle.

On Nov. 26, 2019, Stubbs said Det. Ray Hermosillo received a request to do a welfare check on JJ Vallow, per his grandmother.

Stubbs said he and other law enforcement officers went to Vallow Daybell’s apartment in Rexburg. They made contact with Vallow Daybell and the body camera video was played in court.

In the video, Vallow Daybell told officers JJ was in Arizona with her friend, Melanie Gibb.

“A lot of stuff has gone on and this year has been a horrible year for us,” she said.

Vallow Daybell said Vallow switched his $1 million life insurance policy to his sister, Kay Woodcock — JJ’s grandmother who called in the welfare check leaving her, Charles Vallow’s wife of 15 years, with nothing.

“I knew she (Woodcock) was going to try to sue me for him.”

Vallow Daybell said she’s a good person “but everyone is causing me trouble right now.”

She then told the officers she was leaving because she found texts and emails with her ex-husband and her brother that lives in Kansas, saying “they were planning all this stuff to get rid of me.” She said she was going to live with Gibb, adding that she didn’t want anything in her name.

Vallow Daybell then said her brother “protects me” and that she cancelled the insurance policy so “there’s no money.”

Stubbs told the court he knew at that time that Daybell and Vallow Daybell had previously been married.

“She expressed when we talked to her that she had given the information by phone to one of my coworkers how to contact her friend, Melanie Gibb, who she claimed JJ was with and work out some kind of welfare check so we could check on the safety of the child.”

Stubbs said they returned to the apartment a second time after they were not able to get ahold of Gibb.

Another body camera video was then played in court.

Vallow Daybell could be heard saying she thought JJ and Gibb were at the movies.

Stubbs said they were eventually able to reach Gibb later that day.

“She advised us that she did not have JJ, she was not in Arizona, and they had not been to the movies.”

Stubbs said they didn’t find any evidence of Vallow Daybell’s life being threatened. Other statements that she made to officers were also found to be “by and large inaccurate,” according to Stubbs.

“Due to the facts that we had discovered, which a lot of those were discovered later that evening, an effort was made to obtain a search warrant to go back to the residence and search the residence for evidence of JJ Vallow.”  

Stubbs said warrants were obtained for three apartments in that complex and he assisted in the search.

In one of the apartments, there was no clothing left in the closet and a set of keys were on the counter. Guns were also in the garage.

The prosecution had more videos to go through, but they concluded proceedings for the day and said they would meet back on Monday.

Emily Ashcraft and Larry D. Curtis contributed to this article.

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Video: Police asking Lori Vallow Daybell about JJ’s whereabouts shown to jury on day 13 of trial