Lori Daybell lied and conspired to conceal the deaths of her children, documents allege
ST. ANTHONY — Court documents released Tuesday detail how police say Lori Vallow Daybell conspired to conceal evidence in the deaths of her children. They also describe the horrific manner in which their bodies were found in Chad Daybell’s backyard.
Lori was charged late Monday with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. A 16-page affidavit of probable cause contains information by detectives that led them to file charges. Police say she conspired with Chad, her husband, who is facing two felony counts of concealment or destruction of evidence.
On June 9, investigators found Lori’s children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, had been buried on Chad’s property.
In the documents, Rexburg Police detective Lt. Ron Ball notes that law enforcement originally thought Tylee was 17 when she disappeared in September. She was last seen at Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 8, 2019 – two weeks before her birthday on Sept. 24.
“Law enforcement has stated that Tylee was 17 at the time she went missing because we were not aware she was missing until several months after her 17th birthday,” Ball wrote in the affidavit. “We now have reason to believe she was killed before her 17th birthday.”
Police note that based on cell phone records and GPS data, Lori’s brother Alex Cox likely played a role in disposing of Tylee’s body in Chad Daybell’s backyard on Sept. 9. (Cox has since died of what a medical examiner says was natural causes.) Her remains, along with JJ’s, were found as police executed a search warrant. Ball witnessed autopsies performed on each child.
“It was not possible to identify (Tylee’s) remains by simply looking at them as they were too damaged by fire and dismemberment and no longer had any recognizable features,” Ball wrote. “An orthodontist … was able to identify these remains as belonging to Tylee Ryan by matching an irregular jawline with an X-ray of Tylee when she was alive.”
Police were able to obtain “sufficient soft tissue” that was not burned to perform DNA tests on Tylee’s remains. Those tests are being processed.
Ball wrote that JJ’s remains were found wrapped in plastic, and he recognized the child when his body was uncovered.
“The body was well preserved. While I had never met JJ during his life, I was familiar with his face due to seeing many pictures and videos of him,” Ball said. “I was further familiar with his haircut in the pictures I had seen of him in Yellowstone. … JJ was further identified by Brandon Boudreaux (the ex-husband of Lori’s niece, Melani Pawlowski), who was shown an autopsy photograph of the body and face.”
The majority of details contained in the new court documents were revealed when police filed charges against Chad earlier this month (Read that story here) and when Lori was charged with desertion and nonsupport of children in February (Read that story here).
New information includes the following:
- In early 2019, Melanie Gibb (Lori’s friend) was with Lori when she had a phone call with Chad. “This conversation was in response to a ‘vision’ of Vallow that her husband, Charles Vallow, and her son, JJ, were going to die in a car accident by January 1 or 2 of 2019, which did not happen,” Ball wrote. Lori told Melanie that although Charles had not died, his spirit had left his body and was replaced by a dark spirit named Ned Schneider.
- Gibb began working with police in November after Lori and Chad asked her to lie to officers. She told them that when she arrived in Rexburg to visit Lori in September, “Vallow informed Gibb that she had arranged for JJ to go live with his grandma, Kay Woodcock,” Ball says. “Vallow further told Gibb she had told Kay that she had cancer in order to convince Kay Woodcock to take JJ. Vallow further elaborated to Gibb that she had traveled with JJ and handed him off to Kay in an airport.”
- After the death of Chad’s wife, Tammy Daybell, on Oct. 19, 2019, Vallow explained to Gibb that when a person becomes a “zombie,” their original spirit leaves their body and enters “limbo.” It is trapped and cannot progress to “paradise.” Ball wrote, “Vallow then informed Gibb that for the person’s original spirit to be freed from limbo, the person’s body had to die. … Gibb reports she was never told by Vallow or Daybell that they planned to carry out a physical killing themselves. At the time Gibb was told this information by Vallow, she was still under the belief that JJ was with his grandma, Kay Woodcock, and that Tylee was at BYU-Idaho.”
In the criminal complaint against Lori Daybell, police accuse her of the following:
- On or about Nov. 26, 2019, Chad Daybell misrepresented the nature of his relationship with Lori Vallow while questioned by the Rexburg Police Department during a lawful investigation regarding the whereabouts of JJ Vallow.
- On or about Nov. 26, 2019, Chad Guy Daybell contacted Melanie Gibb via phone, for the purpose of requesting and/or encouraging noncooperation with law enforcement’s lawful investigation regarding the whereabouts of JJ Vallow.
- On or about Nov. 26, 2019, Lori Vallow provided a false and/or misleading physical location of JJ Vallow to law enforcement during a lawful investigation.
- On or about Nov. 26, 2019, Lori Vallow contacted Melanie Gibb via phone, for the purpose of requesting and/or encouraging noncooperation with law enforcement’s lawful investigation regarding the whereabouts of JJ Vallow during a lawful investigation.
- On or about Nov. 26, 2019, Lori Vallow contacted Melanie Gibb via phone, for the purpose of requesting and/or encouraging Melanie Gibb to prepare and/or present false evidence to law enforcement regarding the whereabouts of JJ Vallow during a lawful investigation.
- On or between the dates of Jan. 30, 2020 and June 9, 2020, Lori Vallow refused and/or did fail to comply with a court order to physically produce JJ Vallow to the Rexburg Police Department of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in Madison County.
Lori is scheduled for her initial court appearance at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. EastIdahoNews.com will stream the hearing live. Chad is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 3 and 4.
Read the court documents filed against Lori Vallow Daybell here.