Victim’s grandfather says evidence ‘unequivocal’ in Lori Vallow Daybell trial

May 1, 2023, 6:36 PM | Updated: May 2, 2023, 7:03 am

As Lori Vallow Daybell entered the fifth week of her trial facing charges of first-degree murder,...

Larry Woodcock speaks outside the Ada County Courthouse on Monday, May 1, 2023, after the start of week five of Lori Vallow Daybell trial for murder in Boise, Idaho. (Lauren Steinbecher/KSL TV)

(Lauren Steinbecher/KSL TV)

BOISE, Idaho — As Lori Vallow Daybell entered the fifth week of her trial facing charges of first-degree murder, a victim’s grandfather, Larry Woodcock, said the evidence in the case is “unequivocal.”

Woodcock talked to reporters outside the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, where the trial was moved in order to give Vallow Daybell a fair trial. Two significant pieces of evidence were presented by witnesses Monday in the killings of Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow and Tammy Daybell.

Click here for complete coverage of the Lori Vallow Daybell trial

Woodcock, who has been in the courtroom for nearly every moment of trial, said a strand of hair found with the tape and plastic with JJ’s buried body was a bow that tied all the evidence so far together.

Lori’s DNA-matched hair

When that (hair evidence) was presented to the jury, it was like the biggest nail in the coffin because it absolutely ties Lori (Vallow Daybell) to this case,” Woodcock said. “What more is needed?”

He said the evidence presented Monday and every day tie a group of people to the murders. That group includes Chad Daybell and the late Alex Cox.

Vallow Daybell is facing charges for the murder of her children and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her current husband’s late wife, Tammy Daybell. Tammy died Oct. 19, 2019, the month after anyone saw Tylee or JJ alive.

In court testimony Monday, prosecutors called a senior DNA analyst, Keeley Coleman, to the stand to discuss laboratory findings from the discovered hair. She said the chances of the hair being found to be a match for Vallow Daybell’s hair is a 1 in 71 billion probability. The hair in evidence was tested and found not to be a match for DNA samples from victim Tylee Ryan and a friend of the Vallow family — Melanie Gibb — who previously testified. 

“If I were to see this, I would stick my hand into a hat of DNA profiles, I would see this profile one in 71 billion times,” Coleman said.

Along with the hair, the second big revelation of the day was that Tammy was restrained in the hours surrounding her death.

Tammy Daybell restrained around time of death

Tammy was raised in Springville, Utah and it’s where she met Chad Daybell, who is charged with her murder. The two trials were separated after DNA evidence was entered into discovery by the prosecution, believed to be the hair that was part of Monday’s discussion.

The Daybells moved to Idaho where Tammy died. Her body was sent to Springville where she was buried, and then, after investigators were searching for JJ and Tylee, her body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed by Utah’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Erik Christensen.

He testified Monday and said Tammy was restrained around the hours of her death, likely before it put possibly shortly after. She had bruising on her arms and chest and he determined the cause of her death was a homicide and the manner of death was asphyxiation. He said the bruises were consistent with both asphyxiation and restraint at the time of her death.

The information about asphyxiation was only made public during the prosecution’s opening statements in the trail and restraint was new information for the public Monday.

Alex Cox phone records

Rick Wright with the FBI also testified Monday, largely about the phone records of Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox. Phone data not only showed calls, but location and time on specific dates. He was assigned to the search for Tylee and JJ. And later was part of the team that discovered and recovered their bodies in Chad and Lori Daybell’s back yard on property near Rexburg.

As investigators looked for JJ and Tylee, they also had friends of the Daybells who recorded phone conversations and provided them to investigators.

On Monday, Sept. 9, Chad Daybell sent a text to is wife Tammy Daybell that later drew the attention of investigators. The day after Tylee was last seen alive in a photo. And on the same day Cox could be seen through phone data on specific parts of the Daybell property. Chad Daybell sent the following:

“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 racoon 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!”

When investigators secured and executed a warrant on the Daybell property, they knew where they wanted to look.

“The data points, coupled with that text, was Chad saying, in his own words, that he was on the property burying something,” Wright testified. “This certainly set off a flag for us.”

The children’s remains were later found at the property.

In cross-examination, the defense asked about where Vallow Daybell was during Cox’s visits to her apartment, to the Daybell property and stores to buy supplies. Wright said Vallow was other locations, including Arizona, Hawaii, and Missouri.

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Victim’s grandfather says evidence ‘unequivocal’ in Lori Vallow Daybell trial