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Deputy AG calls request of Daybells’ attorney a ‘fishing expedition’

Daybell Case

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Defense attorney Mark Means addresses Judge Michelle Mallard during Lori Vallow Daybell’s second bond reduction hearing at the Madison County Magistrate Court on May 1. | John Roark, Pool photo

ST. ANTHONY — The Idaho Attorney General’s office is asking a judge to deny a request from Chad and Lori Daybell’s lawyer to release information on the death of Tammy Daybell.

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. Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries told EastIdahoNews.com on Thursday that his office is still awaiting results from Tammy’s autopsy.

Fremont County Prosecutor Marcia Murdoch requested the AG’s assistance last month. The agency agreed to take over the case and revealed both Chad and Lori are under investigation for conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder in connection to Tammy’s death, according to a letter first obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.

Chad and Tammy Daybell | Facebook

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

RELATED | Attorney general takes over murder, conspiracy investigation in Daybell case

Mark Means, an attorney for the couple, subpoenaed the entire case file, but on Wednesday, the Attorney General’s Office asked Judge Michelle Mallard to quash the request.

“The investigation remains ongoing,” Deputy Attorney General Kristina M. Schindele wrote in court documents. “To date (May 1), this office has not received the completed investigation. Rather, this office has received one succinct summary related to the investigation as well as drafts of some legal process that has yet to be finalized.”

Chad and Lori have not been charged in Fremont County, but Means is representing Lori on two counts of felony child abandonment in Madison County. Her children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, have been missing since September, and she refuses to say what happened to them.

RELATED | Lori Vallow Daybell to remain in jail on $1 million bail

In supporting documents, Schindele calls Mean’s request a “fishing expedition,” and that information is “quite unrelated” to the missing kids.

“Dissemination of such privileged information would harm the ongoing investigation,” Schindele wrote. “Defendant (Lori Daybell) seeks information that will permit her to invade law enforcement’s investigation and likely impede their efforts. Such conduct simply cannot be permitted.”

Murdoch also filed a motion asking Mallard to quash Means’ requests, and the Fremont County prosecuting attorney is defending her decision to involve the state attorney general.

“After talking with various prosecutors (including some of the most experienced prosecutors in the state) and numerous law enforcement officers about the facts of this case and after considering the other cases that are currently pending in Fremont County, I determined it was best for the county to turn the case over to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office,” Murdoch says in a statement to EastIdahoNews.com. “They are aware that if our office can be of any help to them, we are willing to help however we can. This wasn’t a decision taken lightly or without great consideration to all the needs of Fremont County.”

It’s unknown when Mallard will rule on the motion. The existence of the criminal investigation does not necessarily mean charges against the couple are forthcoming.

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