‘Something wasn’t sitting well’: Funeral director expressed concerns about Tammy Daybell’s death

Apr 26, 2024, 10:00 PM

Chad Daybell, right sits next to his attorney, John Prior, during his murder trial in Boise on Frid...

Chad Daybell, right sits next to his attorney, John Prior, during his murder trial in Boise on Friday. (Judge Seven W. Boyce via YouTube.)

(Judge Seven W. Boyce via YouTube.)

BOISE — Family friends testified in Chad Daybell’s murder trial Friday about comments he made in the days after his wife Tammy Daybell died — a death that seemed very sudden.

Steven Schultz, a former neighbor who worked as a funeral director, described driving to Daybell’s Salem, Idaho, home to bring Tammy Daybell’s body to Utah for the funeral in Springville. He invited Tammy Daybell’s brother-in-law, Jason Gwilliam, to come for the drive as well.

Schultz said he told Chad Daybell he would “be honored” to make that trip.

“The Daybells were a solid rock in our community,” he said. “I thought highly of all of them.”

By the time Schultz left the Daybell home, however, he said he had concerns.

He said the coroner had not ordered an autopsy and Chad Daybell voiced that he did not want an autopsy, even when Schultz suggested it may be useful for his children to see the results because they could have inherited the same medical issues. He said typically people that young don’t usually die suddenly. Tammy Daybell was 49.

KEEP READING: Evidence shows Tammy Daybell read email from Charles Vallow before his death

Schultz also said Chad Daybell told him he wanted to hold the funeral “just as quickly as he could,” saying, “I don’t want to drag this out.”

Those things, which he said always make him wary, combined with other “red flags” in things he had heard from the family about Daybell’s religious beliefs made him question whether there were suspicious circumstances. He said he did not see anything suspicious on Tammy Daybell’s body when he looked.

Still, his concerns were significant enough that he brought them up with Tammy Daybell’s relative who was driving with him.

“Something wasn’t sitting well with me,” Schultz said.

Gwilliam defended Chad Daybell, Schultz said, and said he would never do anything to hurt his wife.

Tammy Daybell died on Oct 19, 2019. Her body was exhumed about two months after her death for an autopsy, and a coroner concluded she died by homicide from asphyxiation by suffocation.

Chad Daybell is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife and those of Lori Vallow Daybell’s children — 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. He is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of each of the victims, grand theft and two counts of insurance fraud.

A shocking death

Ron and Whitney Arnold, neighbors of Chad and Tammy Daybell in Idaho, testified that they heard about Tammy Daybell’s death the morning she died and went over to the Daybell home. Ron Arnold said Chad Daybell “seemed distraught,” but his wife said he seemed “disconnected” and didn’t show a lot of emotion.

“It was very unexpected and pretty shocking,” she said.

She testified that she encouraged Daybell to consider an autopsy. She pointed out that his daughters have the same genes, but Daybell calmly declined to consider it.

Ron Arnold said Daybell told him he would be staying with a friend in Rexburg because he didn’t feel comfortable at the house, and also said he was planning to go to Hawaii to “help a friend do a biography.” Arnold said he took that at face value and did not have any concerns.

Richard Garner, the principal at the elementary school where Tammy Daybell worked, said he was surprised at her death and went to the Daybell home to express condolences. Garner said he had not seen anything to make him think she had any health concerns and assumed, at first, she must have died in a traffic collision.

Garner helped arrange a memorial in Idaho for the day after the funeral in Utah and said he was surprised that he did much of the planning for it. He said he reserved a church building and made a program for the memorial without any help from Chad Daybell.

Read the full story from here. 


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‘Something wasn’t sitting well’: Funeral director expressed concerns about Tammy Daybell’s death