REXBURG — Ten days before Tammy Daybell died, a masked man approached and shot at her several times with a paintball gun. She filed a report with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and a deputy investigated the claim.
Daybell passed away Oct. 19 and investigators are calling her death suspicious. A week and a half earlier, on Oct. 9, she went on a neighborhood Facebook group and described what happened as she was getting out of her car.
“Something really weird just happened, and I want you to know so you can watch out,” Daybell wrote. “I had gotten home and parked in our front driveway. As I was getting stuff out of the back seat, a guy wearing a ski mask was suddenly standing by the back of my car with a paintball gun. He shot at me several times, although I don’t think it was loaded. I yelled for Chad and he ran off around the back of my house.”
Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries says Daybell called his office and reported the incident. At the time, investigators believed it was likely a prankster and they never found the masked man.
“Our deputy went out there and investigated the report but he was unable to find anything,” Humphries tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Daybell shared in the post that she had “no idea what his motive was, and he never spoke,” even after asking him several times what he thought he was doing.
“I was about to smack him with my freezer meals from Enrichment tonight when I decided to yell for Chad instead,” she wrote.
Humphries said it would be speculation to comment on whether the incident is tied to the criminal investigation currently underway involving Daybell’s husband, Chad Daybell, and his new wife, Lori Vallow Daybell.
Investigators originally stated Tammy Daybell died of natural causes but later became suspicious and had her body exhumed from the Springville Evergreen Cemetery on Dec. 11. On Dec. 20, investigators said her death is possibly tied to the disappearance of two Rexburg children last seen in September.
Rexburg Police have classified Chad and Lori Daybell as “persons of interest” in the disappearance Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Weeks after Tammy’s death, Chad married the children’s mother, Lori Daybell.
Rexburg Police Assistant Chief Gary Hagen told EastIdahoNews.com Friday that investigators want to speak with the parents about the children’s whereabouts but that the couple is refusing to cooperate with investigators. Hagen said investigators have received hundreds of tips over the past week but are no closer to finding the kids.
Investigators with the FBI, Chandler and Gilbert Arizona Police Departments are also involved with their own investigations. Lori Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed her estranged husband, Charles Vallow, on July 11 in Chandler, Arizona. Cox then mysteriously died on Dec. 12 in Gilbert and police remain tight-lipped about that case.
No one has been charged in connection to the investigations.
Humphries says investigators are awaiting the results of Tammy Daybell’s autopsy, which should be completed within the next few weeks. Anyone with information on the masked man with the paintball gun is asked to contact the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at (208)-624-4482.
Information on missing children
Joshua is a 7-year-old with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. Tylee is a 17-year-old with blond hair and blue eyes. She is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.
Lori Vallow Daybell is 46 years old, and has blond hair and blue eyes. She weighs 125 pounds and is 5 feet, 6 inches tall. Chad Daybell is 51 years old, and has brown hair and blue eyes. He weighs 230 pounds and is 6 feet, 3 inches tall.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the children is asked to contact the Rexburg Police Department, at (208) 359-3000, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), at (800) THE-LOST.