JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan’s remains tell the stories of their final days

Apr 26, 2023, 9:56 AM | Updated: 4:46 pm

jj vallow pictured on tylee ryan's lap...

JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan pose together in family photo.

Editor’s note: this story contains mentions of graphic content. Read at your discretion.

BOISE, Idaho — Jurors heard more testimony in the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell on Wednesday, this time focusing on the autopsy results for JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. 

A larger than usual crowd filled the courtroom on Wednesday — most of them women and several of them true crime fans. Some family made their way into the courtroom too, but Kay and Larry Woodcock, JJ’s grandparents, didn’t show up until hours later.

Lori is charged with the murders of her two children, Tylee and JJ. She faces an additional charge of conspiring to murder her husband’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Lori pleaded not guilty to her charges.

Finding JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan’s remains

Wednesday’s testimony opened with FBI special agent Steve Daniels, as he took the stand for the second day in a row.

On Tuesday, Daniels took the jury through a detailed story of how investigators found Tylee’s body buried on Chad Daybell‘s property. An attentive jury heard about the gruesome state Tylee’s remains were found in and the discovery of JJ’s burial site.

Unlike Tylee, JJ was found bound and covered. Jurors saw photos from the burial site showing his small body wrapped in plastic and duct tape.

JJ’s autopsy and cause of death

Next, testimony from a forensic pathologist, Dr. Garth Warren, revealed that 7-year-old JJ Vallow died of asphyxiation caused by a plastic bag taped over his head.

He was bound with duct tape and had layers of plastic covering the red pajamas he was wearing. Bruises and scrapes laid beneath duct tape on his mouth, neck and arms. The bruising on JJ’s arms happened before his death, Warren said.

At one point during cross-examination, defense attorney John Thomas questioned Warren’s findings on JJ’s cause of death. Thomas pointed to the fact that Warren found no microplastics inside JJ’s nose.

“He was found with a plastic bag over his head, it was tight and there were signs of a struggle,” Warren responded. 

And, Warren said, deaths like JJ’s don’t usually require testing inside the victim’s nose.

Following Warren’s testimony about JJ’s cause of death, the prosecution gave jurors and the defense photos from JJ’s autopsy.


Tylee’s autopsy and cause of death

As he continued his testimony, Warren revealed Tylee’s cause of death was “homicide by unspecified means.”

This means that 16-year-old Tylee was definitely killed but Warren wasn’t able to pinpoint how it was done. 

It was here that Kay and Larry Woodcock stepped into the courtroom for the first time on Wednesday.

Warren then testified that Tylee’s autopsy went very differently than JJ’s because of the state her remains were in. 

As the prosecution showed photos and Warren described Tylee’s remains, Larry sat, gently rocking back and forth on his seat.

Tylee’s body had been so damaged from burning and dismemberment that some of her remains were unidentifiable to the naked eye.

A deeper dive

The state next called Dr. Angi Christensen, a forensic anthropologist with the FBI. Her job, she explained, is to take a closer look at bones and remains.

Investigators gave Christensen about 100 to 150 bones from Tylee’s remains. Burn marks showed up on several. On others, something sharp marked them.

 Christensen’s testimony ended with a CT scan of a sharp trauma mark.

Testimony will continue Thursday.

More on the Trial of Lori Vallow Daybell:

We want to hear from you.

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

Vallow Daybell Case

Chad Daybell’s attorney files to withdraw from case due to lack of funds...

Kira Hoffelmeyer

Judge denies motion to withdraw by Chad Daybell attorney in hearing

Court documents show that Daybell's attorney wants out of the case because Daybell can't pay for for his services.

2 months ago

lori vallow daybell pictured, she faces murder charges in arizona...

Sam Herrera

Lori Vallow Daybell extradited to Arizona to face murder charges

Lori Vallow Daybell faces charges in Arizona that allege she killed her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, and tried to kill her niece's ex-husband.

3 months ago

Chad Daybell and his attorney, John Prior, appear in a hearing....


3 motions filed to prevent Chad Daybell from facing death penalty during trial

The legal team for Chad Daybell have filed three motions to remove the death penalty as a possibility in his murder trial next year.

4 months ago

FILE - Lori Vallow Daybell sits during her sentencing hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse in S...

Waverly Golden

Lori Vallow Daybell to be extradited to Arizona, faces two charges

Once extradited, Vallow Daybell will face conspiracy charges to commit murder for the deaths of her fourth husband and former nephew-in-law.

4 months ago

lori vallow daybell shown, a judge ruled today that tammy daybell's aunt could speak at vallow dayb...

Larry D. Curtis

Lori Vallow Daybell files appeal on murder, conspiracy convictions

The lawyers representing Lori Vallow Daybell have filed an appeal with the Idaho Supreme Court.

6 months ago

lori vallow daybell and her lawyers...

REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press

Lori Vallow Daybell sentenced to life in prison with no parole for murders of her children

Lori Vallow Daybell has been sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday. She was found guilty in the murders of her two youngest children.

7 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan’s remains tell the stories of their final days