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Who’s who in the Daybell case

Daybell Case

During our coverage of the deaths of people surrounding Chad and Lori Daybell, we have reported the names of many family members, friends and public officials in multiple states. At times, it can feel like a complex web of relationships. The following is a who’s who of people connected to the case to make our coverage easy to understand.

We update this story from time to time as circumstances change and the Daybells go through the court system.

The victims

At the center of everything are two dead children and two dead spouses.

Authorities say Chad and Lori were having an affair and conspired to kill or directly killed two of Lori’s children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua “JJ” Vallow; Lori’s then-husband, Charles Vallow; and Chad’s then-wife, Tammy Daybell. The pair were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but held strong religious beliefs not found in the church’s teachings concerning the end of the world, previous lives and people who become “zombies.”

Tylee and JJ disappeared in September 2019, when Tylee was 16 and JJ was 7. (Earlier reports indicated Tylee was 17, but now that we have a more solid timeline, it’s more likely she was 16 — almost 17 — at the time of her death.) Their bodies were found in June 2020 in Chad’s backyard.

In May 2021, Chad and Lori were charged with murder in the deaths of Tylee, JJ, and Tammy. Click here for more information on the charges. In addition, a grand jury in Arizona indicted Lori only (not Chad) in connection with the death of Charles.

Chad is in the Fremont County Jail. In June 2021, Lori was placed into the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, but as of April 2022, a judge found her competent for trial, and her case is moving forward.

CLICK HERE FOR A TIMELINE OF EVENTS

Lori Vallow Daybell’s 5 husbands

chad angry look
Chad Daybell, left, and Lori Daybell in Hawaii when EastIdahoNews.com confronted them in January 2020. Chad is Lori’s fifth and current husband. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

Knowing about the Daybells’ previous spouses is essential to understanding this case.

Lori Vallow Daybell has been married five times. Her former husbands are:

  1. Nelson Yanes. Married 1992. Ends in divorce. No children.
  2. William Lagioia. Married 1995-1996. Ends in divorce. Children: Colby Ryan
  3. Joseph Ryan. Married 2001-2004. Ends in divorce. Dies in 2018 of apparent heart attack. Children: Tylee Ryan
  4. Charles Vallow. Married 2005-2019. Ends in Charles’ death. Children: Joshua “JJ” Vallow (by adoption). Charles had two children through his previous marriage to Cheryl Wheeler. See our interview with Wheeler here.
  5. Chad Daybell. Married 2019-present. Children: Chad had five children with Tammy Daybell, his now-deceased wife.

The Vallow family

Woodcocks
Kay Vallow Woodcock and Larry Woodcock with JJ. | Courtesy photo

Kay Vallow Woodcock is sister to Charles, Lori’s fourth husband. She and her husband, Larry, are JJ’s grandparents, which makes Charles JJ’s biological great-uncle. Charles adopted JJ.

Kay and Larry have communicated with the media since the early stages of the investigation. Here’s their reaction to the fate of the children. After Chad and Lori were charged with first-degree murder, the Woodcocks said they “want a capital case” against the couple.

Months before his death, Charles told police he was worried about Lori’s mental health and said she wanted him dead. He also expressed worry for JJ’s safety.

Alex Cox shot Charles to death July 11, 2019, in Chandler, Arizona. Lori may be charged with murder in that case.

The Cox family

alex cox yellowstone
Tylee and JJ with their uncle Alex Cox in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in September 2019, shortly before the children disappeared. | Courtesy FBI

Alex was Lori’s brother. He maintained he killed Charles in self-defense. Alex died suddenly in December 2019. The medical examiner said he died of blood clots in his lungs, and it was a natural death.

zulema alex
Zulema Pastenes talks to detectives in April 2021. Inset: Alex Cox

Alex had married Zulema Pastenes two weeks before. She has not spoken publicly about the case, but she has spoken to Chandler Police. She said that if she had moved to Idaho, as Chad and Lori wanted her to do, she would not be alive today.

“I now (see) that they had a real nefarious plan to do something to me or Alex or that we were the final piece to move to Rexburg and by the grace of God, I didn’t move there,” she said. Read the full story here.

Before he married Zulema, Alex had a wife named Debbie who married him in 1992 and divorced him the following year. She told the Chandler Police officers that Alex and Lori — brother and sister — would simulate sex acts in front of her and the rest of the family.

“He also talked about (how she was) hot, and he sexualized her quite a bit. He did touch her breast and things,” Debbie said. “Alex and I only lived together married about four or five months. Then I just knew that family was too weird and that I made a big mistake, so I got out.”

Read more about Alex and Lori’s bizarre relationship here.

Pawlowskis
Melani Pawlowski, left, and her current husband, Ian Pawlowski.

Melani Pawlowski is Lori’s niece through a sister (deceased). She lived next door to Lori in Rexburg when the children disappeared. Melani married Ian Pawlowski and is involved in a custody dispute with her ex-husband, Brandon Boudreaux, regarding their four children. Brandon was shot at in October and believes Alex was the shooter.

Summer Shiflet and Janis Cox
Summer Shiflet, left, and Janis Cox. | CBS This Morning

Before the children’s bodies were found, Melani, as well as Lori’s mother, Janis Cox, and sister, Summer Shiflet, told the media they did not think Lori was capable of harming JJ and Tylee. They have since issued a statement.

The Ryan family

annie cushing tylee aunt
Annie Cushing

Annie Cushing is the sister to Lori’s third husband, Joseph Ryan, and is Tylee’s aunt. Cushing wonders if foul play was involved in her brother’s apparent heart attack, but her questions may never be answered as an autopsy was not performed, and Joseph was cremated. See our interview with Cushing here and read her statement when the children’s bodies were found here. After the Daybells were charged with murder, she released this statement.

Although Tylee’s brother Colby shares the Ryan name, Colby’s biological father is William Lagioia. Colby has spoken out on behalf of Tylee and JJ during this ordeal. In an Instagram post after the bodies were found, he called the children his “beautiful, amazing, sweet angels.” Read his full message here.

In September 2022, Colby was arrested on two counts of sexual assault in Arizona.

Colby-Ryan-at-fence1
Colby Ryan pays his respects near where his siblings’ remains were found in Salem, Idaho. | Courtesy Kelsee Ryan

The Daybell family

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Tammy Daybell. | Courtesy photo

Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell, died suddenly on Oct. 19, 2019. Read her obituary here.

Chad married Lori on Nov. 5, 2019. Chad and Lori were allegedly having an affair before Tammy’s death. Tammy’s body was exhumed in December 2019, and autopsy results have not been released to the public, though now Chad and Lori are facing murder charges related to her death.

Tammy’s sister Samantha Gwilliam told police about the pet cemetery on the Daybell property, which led to the discovery of Tylee and JJ’s bodies.

After the murder charges were announced, Tammy’s family released this statement. As Tammy was a school librarian, they have also started a nonprofit that gives books to children.

Chad and Tammy’s children, Garth Daybell, Emma Murray, Seth Daybell, Leah Murphy and Mark Daybell, have told CBS News’ “48 Hours” that they believe their father is innocent.

Daybell kids
Garth Daybell, Emma Murray, Seth Daybell, Leah Murphy and Mark Daybell spoke with ’48 Hours’ in a special called ”The Secrets of Chad Daybell’s Backyard.’ | CBS News

“I don’t know why they (the bodies) would be there,” Murray said. “But I do know that if he were to commit a crime, he wouldn’t be foolish enough to put the evidence in his own backyard. … We presume innocence in this country. Just because things look funny, we don’t send people to jail.”

Other members of Chad and Tammy’s families have not been as supportive of him. Tammy’s family, Chad’s brother Matt and other family members of Chad have issued respective statements following the discovery of the children’s remains.

Friends and associates

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Melanie Gibb, left, and Lori Vallow Daybell. | Courtesy photo

Melanie Gibb was Lori’s best friend, attended religious-themed conferences where Chad spoke and was with them the moment they met. We did a series of interviews with her. Gibb says Lori tried to get her to lie to police about the children’s whereabouts, which she refused to do. Gibb describes Chad and Lori’s relationship as a “fatal attraction.”

Gibb’s boyfriend is David Warwick, who also knew Chad and Lori.

Julie Rowe and Chad Daybell
Julie Rowe, left, and Chad Daybell. | Courtesy photo

Julie Rowe is an author whose accounts of her near-death experiences and end-times predictions were published by Chad’s company, Spring Creek Book Company. In 2019, Rowe was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for publicly speaking out against the church, teaching false doctrine, and practicing priestcraft for content in her podcasts and website, she said. After the children’s disappearance, she at first supported Chad and Lori but has since spoken out against the couple.

Suzanne Freeman is also an author published by Spring Creek Book Company. She had a disagreement with Chad on rights for her books and the types of books he was publishing. In 2017, she wrote him an email in which she said, “I know without a shadow of a doubt what you are preaching will not lead to happiness. It will lead to death and sorrow.”

Jefferson County resident Christopher Parrett Sr. operates the Another Voice of Warning or AVOW, which is a paid forum website where some Latter-day Saints have discussions or offer conjecture about their religion, and Chad was an active participant. When news of the children’s disappearance became public, Parrett strongly supported Chad for months, but he publicly denounced him after the bodies were found.

Click here for more on the religious circle surrounding Chad and Lori.

Law enforcement and legal teams

The home where Tammy died and JJ and Tylee were buried is in the Salem area of Fremont County, which is Sheriff Len Humphries’ jurisdiction.

Tylee and JJ lived with their mother in a townhome in Rexburg (in Madison County). Shane Turman was the police chief there when the children disappeared. He told EastIdahoNews.com in 2019 — before the bodies were found — that police believed the children were in “pretty serious danger.” As of June 2022, Rexburg’s police chief is now Joshua Rhodes.

The prosecutor in Madison County is Rob Wood. After the children’s remains were found on Chad’s property (which is in Fremont County), Wood became the special prosecutor in the case against Chad concerning the children as well. Also participating in the prosecution are Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake and Rachel Smith, a special prosecutor from Missouri experienced in homicide cases.

Lindsey Blake and Rob Wood
In foreground, Lindsey Blake and Rob Wood. | EastIdahoNews.com

Chad and Lori have both been represented by multiple attorneys. In December 2019, Sean Bartholick, of Rigby, Andrus & Rigby, represented them and told the public, “Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter. Lori Daybell is a devoted mother and resents assertions to the contrary. We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor.”

After Lori was extradited from Hawaii, the couple was represented by Mark Means, but Means eventually represented Lori only. That changed in December 2021, when he was kicked off the case due to a conflict of interest from him previously representing Chad and other ethics concerns.

Lori is currently represented by court-appointed public defender Jim Archibald, who had been co-representing Lori with Means since August 2021, and John Thomas.

John Thomas, Lori Daybell, Jim Archibald
Lori Vallow Daybell sits by her defense attorneys John Thomas, left, and Jim Archibald, right, during a hearing Aug. 16, 2022. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

Chad has retained the services of John Prior.

Chad Prior
John Prior, right, with his client Chad Daybell. | Screenshot

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