Lori Vallow Daybell trial sees more forensic evidence, revelation about Alex Cox’s possible involvement

Apr 27, 2023, 12:48 PM | Updated: 4:26 pm

a mural of the experts who testified and gave evidence during the lori vallow daybell trial on apri...

(Courtroom sketch)

(Courtroom sketch)

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

BOISE, Idaho — Testimony about Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow‘s remains continued during day 12 in the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell. The biggest news out of Thursday’s testimony came when an analyst announced that a latent fingerprint from Alex Cox, Lori’s late brother, was found on evidence from JJ’s body.

Cox’s latent fingerprint from his pinky and a palm print from his right hand matched prints left on a black plastic bag wrapped around JJ.

Before the news broke about Cox’s latent fingerprints, the courtroom saw a number of forensic experts testify.

Forensic evidence

Dr. Angi Christensen is a forensic anthropologist for the FBI. She picked up her testimony where she left off Wednesday, restating that marks left on Tylee’s bones weren’t consistent with dismemberment. The prosecution believes that Tylee was dismembered and burned after her death.

Next, Douglas Halepaska, a forensic examiner in the FBI’s firearm and tools unit, took the stand. His testimony went over the possible tools that were used to make the marks on Tylee’s bones.

Halepaska linked serrated blades, a knife and a tool like a hatchet, cleaver or machete to different marks on the bones. 

David Sincerbeaux, a forensic analyst and analytical chemist at the Idaho State Police’s forensics lab testified that gasoline was present on evidence from Tylee’s burial site. He examined samples of fire debris and Tylee’s flesh — though it’s unclear which sample had the gasoline on it.

Katherine Dace, a forensic biologist for Idaho State Police Laboratory then went over DNA evidence collected from tools seized by the FBI. Namely, a shovel had Tylee’s DNA on it and a pickaxe had a partial DNA match to her too.

During cross-examination, the defense wondered aloud, why did the FBI send the tools to the Idaho State Police?

Tara Martinez, a forensic scientist for the Idaho State Police took the stand next, focusing her testimony on fingerprints. Martinez tested duct tape and plastic found on JJ’s body for prints, checking against fingerprints from Lori, Chad and Lori’s brother Alex Cox.

It was Martinez who dropped the bombshell about Cox’s latent fingerprint match.

Though jurors didn’t reveal much through their body language or facial expressions, most began taking notes after the revelation.

More pieces to the puzzle

Testimony Det. Chuck Kunsaitis involved in the recovery of JJ and Tylee’s bodies presented jurors with satellite images of Chad’s property. One image showed a dark spot in the backyard, taken during the suspected time frame of Tylee’s death and disposal.

Then, the state called its final witness for the day, Samantha Gwilliam. Gwilliam is Tammy’s sister and Chad Daybell’s sister-in-law.

Gwilliam testified that the morning after her sister’s death, Chad called to tell her about Tammy’s death. He claimed Tammy died because she was “really sick.”

The news didn’t make sense to Gwilliam, who had seen her sister just two weeks earlier. 

Tammy’s autopsy results, released during opening arguments, found that she died of asphyxiation, not illness.

Gwilliam ended her testimony on Thursday by saying Tammy and Chad’s relationship seemed different, even odd, in the weeks before Tammy’s death.

Testimony resumes Friday morning.

We want to hear from you.

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

Vallow Daybell Case

Jurors are speaking publicly for the first time about their decision to give Chad Daybell the death...

Simone Seikaly and Becky Bruce

In appeal, Chad Daybell asks Idaho Supreme Court to review verdict, sentence

An attorney for Chad Daybell has filed an appeal asking the state supreme court to evaluate Daybell's trial and verdict.

13 days ago

Jurors are speaking publicly for the first time about their decision to give Chad Daybell the death...

Andrew Adams,

Daybell jurors speak publicly about death penalty decision

One of the alternate jurors in the Chad Daybell case said the roughest day was when they heard impact statements from family.

13 days ago

Chad Daybell during his murder trial , he could face the death penalty...

Sam Herrera and Kennedy Camarena

Jury sentences Chad Daybell to death

The decision comes two days after the jury convicted Daybell for the murders of Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow and Tammy Daybell.

17 days ago

chad daybell...

Sam Herrera

Jury deliberations for Chad Daybell death penalty decision begin

An Idaho jury convicted Chad Daybell of three murders on Thursday. He now awaits sentencing and could face the death penalty.

18 days ago

Chad Daybell appears during a court hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, Aug. 4, 2020. On the first day o...

Larry Curtis,

Jury finds Chad Daybell guilty of murders, all charges

The jury in the Chad Daybell murder trial convened late Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday afternoon, they had come to their verdict.

20 days ago

John Prior speaks with Chad Daybell during a hearing in August 2020. An FBI agent testified Monday ...

Becky Bruce

Chad Daybell trial: witness testimony ends, closing arguments begin Wednesday

If the state of Idaho wraps up its questioning of rebuttal witnesses today, closing arguments in the trial of Chad Daybell would take place next.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Lori Vallow Daybell trial sees more forensic evidence, revelation about Alex Cox’s possible involvement