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Chad and Lori Daybell now have the same attorney and documents show history of financial troubles

Daybell Case

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Lori Daybell looks down at a plastic bag containing cash while with her husband Chad Daybell in Hawaii. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

REXBURG — Chad Daybell has dropped his attorney and is now being represented by the same lawyer his wife, Lori Daybell, is using. The change in legal counsel comes as newly uncovered court documents obtained by EastIdahoNews.com show a history of financial troubles Chad and Lori experienced separately long before their marriage.

Mark Means has been Lori Daybell’s attorney since March 4 and confirmed with EastIdahoNews.com Wednesday that he is now representing Chad. Rexburg attorney Sean Bartholick had been Chad’s attorney since December but says as of this week, they are no longer working together.

The major players and timeline in the disappearance of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan

Chad and Lori Daybell have been under investigation since Lori’s two children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, disappeared in September. In January, EastIdahoNews.com found the couple living in a gated community in Kauai and after police seized their vehicle to conduct a search warrant, Lori was seen holding a plastic bag full of cash.

The couple seems to have been living off $430,000 police say Chad received in life insurance payouts after his late wife, Tammy Daybell, died under suspicious circumstances in October 2019. The Attorney General’s Office is now investigating Chad and Lori for possible involvement in Tammy’s death.

While the couple received a large amount of money, court records indicate they both experienced financial hardship long before they knew each other. Lori filed for bankruptcy in Texas in 2005 following a divorce from her third husband, Joseph Ryan. Chad and Tammy filled for bankruptcy while living in Utah in 2008. Both parties had extensive amounts of debt exceeding hundreds of thousands of dollars.

At the time of her filing, Lori was working as a hairstylist and said she had $723,815.45 in liabilities owed to creditors. Of the money owed, Lori and Joseph jointly owed $99,003.89 in federal and county taxes. There was also extensive amounts of credit card debt totaling over $17,000.

Between 2003 and Aug. 2005, Lori claimed she made $41,000 but noted in court documents that she needed to make at least $74,400 a year to cover the expenses of her and her two children. At the time, Tylee and Lori’s oldest son, Colby Ryan, lived with her and Lori was collecting $1,500 in child support from Joseph. The family was living in a new 4,400 square foot home valued at $710,000. After Joseph and Lori split up, she moved into a $1,900-a-month rental.

Lori Vallow Daybell’s monthly budget when she filed for bankruptcy in 2005, according to court documents.

Chad and Tammy Daybell’s debts came from a different source – their struggling publishing company. At the time of their 2008 bankruptcy filing, the couple owed at least $202,732.10 to over 60 creditors – most of which were tied to Spring Creek Book, the publishing company. Chad had self-published around 20 of his books at the time.

Chad and Tammy claimed those books provided an “annual income of approximately $2,000; however, this decreases every year.” The couple made a combined monthly income of $3,930.25 from their publishing company, Chad working as a part-time gravedigger and Tammy employed part-time at the school district. The mortgage on their home was valued at $135,900.

Both bankruptcies were eventually finalized and years later, Chad and Lori met and were married within weeks of Tammy’s death.

The couple has now hit another financial roadblock – posting $1 million bail to get Lori out of the Madison County Jail. She’s charged with two counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children.

Means plans to go before Magistrate Judge Michelle Mallard Friday at 2 p.m. to ask for bail to be lowered again. EastIdahoNews.com will stream the hearing live.

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