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Fremont prosecutor asked others to help in Daybell case before going to AG

Daybell Case

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ST. ANTHONY — The Fremont County prosecuting attorney asked two other county prosecutors to take over the Tammy Daybell death investigation, but both told her they could not. That’s when Marcia Murdoch went to the Idaho attorney general and requested help, according to an email obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.

Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell are being investigated for conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder in connection to Tammy’s death, as first reported by EastIdahoNews.com Friday.

Murdoch sent an email to Deputy Attorney General Colleen Zahn on April 7. Part of it has been redacted as the document is part of an active investigation.

“I have reached out to (Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney) Danny Clark, and he has told me that he cannot take over the Daybell case,” Murdoch wrote. “I also have reached out to Jan Bennetts, Ada County prosecuting attorney, and requested her office take over the case. She has told me she is not able to take the case because of their lack of resources.”

READ: Fremont County Prosecutor’s request to AG for help with Daybell case

Murdoch asks the AG to take over because her office “does not have the resources or the experience to handle the case.” It appears the attorney general had denied an earlier request to take the case, and Murdoch asks Zahn to reconsider.

Zahn responded April 9 and wrote the attorney general’s office would provide prosecutorial assistance without local prosecutor involvement, and the attorney general will take charge of the case.

“All decisions regarding the case shall be the responsibility of the AG,” the letter states, but Fremont County will pay for all associated costs.

READ: Letter from attorney general about Fremont County Daybell case

In her letter, Murdoch does state that if the AG doesn’t have the resources to handle the case, both offices could approach the U.S. Attorney’s Office for help.

“I will tell you that when I went to a meeting in Utah last month, an attorney from the Pocatello USA’s office was present and willing to assist,” Murdoch wrote. “I did want to at least give you this information so you were aware of it in considering your office’s ability to proceed forward with charges.”

Tammy, who was married to Chad, died suddenly on Oct. 19 at her Salem home. Investigators have called the death suspicious, and her body was exhumed from the Springville Evergreen Cemetery in Utah in December. Detectives are still awaiting autopsy and toxicology reports, Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Chad has not been arrested or charged with any crimes. He married Lori in Hawaii within weeks of Tammy’s death.

The attorney general’s investigation does not necessarily mean charges will be forthcoming.

In a separate case, Lori is being held in the Madison County Jail on two counts of felony child abandonment regarding her missing children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan. They have not been seen since September, and Lori and Chad refuse to tell law enforcement where the children are.

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