Detectives, BYU-I dean, Melanie Gibb testify during first day of Chad Daybell’s preliminary hearing
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ST. ANTHONY – Detectives, a university dean and a close friend were among the first to offer testimony during Chad Daybell’s preliminary hearing Monday at the Fremont County Courthouse.
It was the first of a two-day hearing where Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood, who is serving as a special prosecutor in the case, strove to convince Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins that Daybell likely committed the crimes of which he stands accused.
Daybell is charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence, and two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. He was arrested June 9 after the remains of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, were found buried on his property.
Rexburg Police Detectives Ray Hermosillo, Ron Ball and David Stubbs were called as witnesses and described doing a welfare check for Joshua “JJ” Vallow in November. Audio from body camera footage was played during the hearing and Lori Vallow Daybell, JJ’s mother, is heard telling police that her son is with Melanie Gibb, a friend in Arizona. Vallow Daybell’s attitude is carefree as she laughs and makes comments about Rexburg’s cold weather.
The detectives also described the horrific conditions in which they found JJ and Tylee’s bodies buried on Chad Daybell’s property. JJ was wrapped in plastic and a large amount of duct tape was used to bind his mouth, face, head, wrist and arms. Tylee’s flesh and bones were found burned near a firepit on the property, along with a partially melted bucket.
Wynn Hill, the Brigham Young University-Idaho Dean of Students, was also called to the stand and he said the university never had any records matching the name of Tylee Ryan, Tylee Cox or Tylee Vallow. Lori Vallow Daybell had told detectives her daughter was enrolled at the university.
A dramatic moment in the hearing came Monday afternoon when Melanie Gibb, a close friend of Lori and Chad, took the stand. A 21-minute phone call from December was played where she confronted the couple about JJ’s whereabouts and lies they had told her and police.
Following the phone call, Judge Faren Eddins dismissed the hearing. JJ’s grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, were in the courtroom for the proceedings and at one point, as detectives described the condition of JJ’s body, Larry Woodcock broke down crying. The couple had nothing to say as they left the courthouse Monday evening.
The preliminary hearing continues Tuesday at 9 a.m. with John Prior, Daybell’s attorney, cross-examining Melanie Gibb. EastIdahoNews.com will provide complete coverage of the hearing.
Here is an archive of what each witness said throughout the day. You can watch the entire hearing on the EastIdahoNews.com YouTube channel here.
LIVE UPDATES FROM MONDAY’S HEARING
4:50 p.m. Rob Wood says he has no further questions. John Prior says he can not get all his questions within the next ten minutes so court is in recess and will resume tomorrow at 9 a.m.
4:25 p.m. Court is back in session. Here is the phone call Melanie Gibb made to Chad and Lori Daybell on Dec. 8, 2019:
Chad: Hello sweet Melanie.
Melanie: Hi Chad, Hey Lori.
Chad: Let me put you on speaker.
Melanie: How are you guys?
Lori: We’re ok.
Melanie asks where Chad and Lori are. They don’t answer and say they are “near Idaho.”
Melanie asks Lori about what happened to JJ going to be with Kay. Lori says, “Well, I had to move him somewhere else because of her actions.”
Melanie asks if she needs to be in danger of knowing where JJ is. Lori says “it’s a danger of people being after her.” Chad says if Melanie knew where JJ was, it would “put her in a bad position.”
Lori says she wants to keep JJ protected and everybody else protected.
Melanie asks why Lori told the police that JJ was with her (Melanie). Lori said most of her family is working against her with Kay.
Melanie asks Lori if JJ is safe. Lori says he is “safe and happy.”
Melanie says she hopes JJ is ok. She tells Lori she asked Alex about where JJ was and Alex responded that Melanie “did not want to know” where JJ is and that he could not be found. Lori says she doesn’t know why Alex would say that. Lori says she didn’t even want Alex to know where he was.
Lori says she will do whatever the Lord needs her to do every day. Melanie asks if she will ever see Lori again. Lori says, “Absolutely you will.”
Lori says the police are working with Kay in some “dark capacity” and there is no reason for them to be after her. Lori says Kay has threatened her lots of times. Melanie asks follow-up questions about the threats and Lori says “there’s a lot of things.”
Melanie says she is worried for Chad and Lori because JJ is missing and Lori says, “I know exactly where he is. He’s perfectly fine and safe.”
Melanie asks if she can share a scripture with Lori. Lori says yes – then asks about Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, and King Noah, an evil leader from the Book of Mormon.
Lori says she has done nothing wrong. Melanie says a friend would not have asked her to lie to the police.
Lori says she did exactly what the Lord instructed her to do. Lori said she would never do anything to harm Melanie and she can have all of this confirmed to her by the Lord.
Melanie says Lori has been deceived – Tammy died, and Charles died, and JJ is missing – Melanie says in her gut it feels weird, she never had 100% peace about all of this.
Lori says, “You know me. You know me. This does not sound like you. It sounds like you have been influenced by somebody dark who wants you to believe dark things.”
Melanie says she does not have fear and has a peaceful consciousness.
Lori said “Christ is coming soon.”
Chad says his sister-in-law is coming up with “theories” about Tammy’s death. He says Tammy was sick and he begged her to go to the doctor. Chad said he’s been told “for years” that Tammy would pass away at a young age and that his life would have two segments.
Chad says Melanie needs to have faith that this is not some “master plan” and there’s no way he and Lori could have ever come up with it.
Melanie says, “You can understand my concern, can’t you?” Lori says she can feel “Dave’s influence on you” and Chad says David is putting doubts in her mind.
Melanie says she was not listening to her gut feeling and she felt uncomfortable about many things. Lori says Melanie will be accountable for the knowledge she does have and Melanie says, “So will you.”
Melanie says she was reading the story of Korihor, another Book of Mormon reference, and compares Korihor to Lori and Chad.
Melanie tells Lori she has “rested the scriptures” and that Lori opened dark portals and dark “junk.”
Lori says she could say where JJ is but “that would not be good for JJ.” Lori says she would never ask Melanie to not protect her children. Lori says she loves Melanie and Melanie says because she does care, she is sharing what she feels and Lori’s salvation is in trouble.
Lori says her salvation is not in trouble and she should check with the Lord. Lori says, “I’m sorry you feel that way sweetheart. I’m sorry you’re friends with all those who are against me.” Melanie says she is not.
Melanie says she is concerned about Lori and Lori says, “You don’t sound concerned. You sound pissed off.” Melanie responds that she is “troubled” by Chad and Lori’s behavior – and the fact they were together before Tammy died.
Phone call abruptly ends after Lori mentions standing with Jesus Christ.
We will be posting the call shortly.
4:10 p.m. Wood admits a CD containing the phone call into evidence and asks to play it. Court is going into recess. Will be back at 4:25 p.m.
4:05 p.m. Melanie admits she lied to the Gilbert Police when she said JJ had been with her. She said she wanted the investigators to turn their focus back to Lori, she was confused and she wasn’t sure what was going on. On Dec. 7-8, Melanie says she called Officer Pillar and gave him more details about what happened with JJ, Tylee and Chad. She also let Pillar know she had recorded a conversation with Chad and Lori about where JJ was and why she lied to the police. Melanie expressed her concern for Lori and Chad’s salvation and told them they had been deceived. Melanie recorded the phone call into her boyfriend’s phone. She says law enforcement did not ask her to record any calls – this was something she did on her own. This recording was made on Dec. 8 from David Warwick’s home.
4:00 p.m. Melanie says Lori told her Kay was trying to kidnap JJ. Melanie asked her how she knew – Lori said she had received emails from Kay that said, “It’s not like I’m going to kidnap them.” Lori said she was trying to protect JJ from Kay and possibly other family members. Melanie says on the phone call from Chad, he sounded very nervous. Melanie says she felt “horrible” and in shock after getting the phone calls from Chad and Lori. She had a “really bad feeling” in her stomach and she was really shaken up by it. Melanie says the Rexburg Police tried calling her and she received a text from them. She says she didn’t respond to the police because Chad told her not to answer it and Lori said her child was endangered so she was very confused. But Melanie did talk to Gilbert Police Officer Ryan Pillar that day after he called her. She told Pillar that she had been with JJ but he was back with Lori.
3:55 p.m. Melanie says in the late morning of Nov. 26, she got a phone call from Chad Daybell’s cell phone. Chad said, “Hi Melanie, this is Chad. The Rexburg Police are going to call you. Don’t pick up.” Melanie said Chad told her the police were at Lori’s house and they were inquiring about where JJ was. Chad said Lori was going to tell police that JJ was with Melanie. Melanie responded, “I thought JJ was at Kay’s house.” Melanie says Chad said no, he wasn’t. Melanie says she asked Chad if he was nervous and he said yes.
Within an hour or two of Chad’s call, Melanie says Lori called her. Lori told Melanie everything was fine, she was “upbeat and cherry – acting like nothing was wrong.” Lori said the police had been to her home and Lori told them the kids were with Melanie. Lori asked Melanie to go take some random pictures of kids and to tell the police that Lori would come and pick up the kids later that week.
3:50 p.m. During her stay, Melanie says Lori spoke about JJ going to stay with his grandmother, Kay Woodcock. Lori said she would say that she was sick so JJ could go stay with Kay. Melanie says later on, Lori told her that she told Kay she had breast cancer when they met up at an airport for Kay to take JJ. Melanie says she only met Kay one time – when Charles Vallow was moving to Texas and Kay was there.
3:45 p.m. Wood asks Melanie to recall what happened the night of
Sept. 22. Melanie said she recorded a podcast with Lori and her boyfriend, David Warwick between nine and midnight. Melanie remembers seeing Alex Cox carrying JJ into the house and JJ was asleep.
3:40 p.m. Melanie says she arrived in Rexburg on Sept. 19 and left Monday Sept. 23 around 9:30 a.m. She came to see Lori and attend a conference. Melanie stayed at Lori’s townhome and says she spent most of the time with her. Melanie spent 10 hours at the conference on Saturday, but the rest of the time she was with Lori. Melanie says she saw Chad 2-4 times during the weekend. Melanie says Chad and Lori interacted with each other “affectionately” They held hands, hugged and “light” kissed.
3:35 p.m. Court is back in session. Melanie Gibb takes the stand. She says she met Chad Daybell 3-4 years ago in Morgan, Utah. She says the nature of their relationship was talking about some of the books Chad had written and his relationship with Lori. Melanie says she met Lori in Mesa, Arizona at church. They became friends.
3:20 p.m. Court is in a brief recess. When the hearing resumes, Melanie Gibb will take the stand. She spoke out publicly for the first time with me in May. You can watch our interview here.
BYU-IDAHO DEAN OF STUDENTS WYNN HILL
3:15 p.m. Wynn Hill is called to the stand. Spencer Rammell, Madison County Deputy Prosecutor, is asking Hill questions. Hill works at BYU-Idaho and is the Dean of Students. Hill says the university has a management system that contains information on every student. Hill says he checked the system for Tylee Ryan, Tylee Cox and Tylee Vallow with the date of birth of 09/24/02 on Feb. 28, 2020 and there were not any records. There are no further questions from either. State calls Melanie Gibb.
REXBURG POLICE DET. DAVID STUBBS
3:10 p.m. Stubbs says he is working with the FBI to get more specific data on Alex Cox’s phone. Prior asks Stubbs if he has any body camera footage of him talking with Chad Daybell. Stubbs says any video has been provided to Wood. Prior has no further questions and Stubbs is excused from the witness stand.
3:05 p.m. Prior asks Stubbs if it’s department policy to always wear a body camera. Stubbs says it is not required but because was issued a camera, he always turns it on when he is out. Stubbs recorded the two encounters with Lori Vallow.
3:00 p.m. Wood is asking Stubbs to describe timestamps from when Alex Cox’s phone was at different locations on particular dates. The device was at Lori’s townhome and then was located at Chad Daybell’s property. Stubbs says there are additional data points in the area tied to Alex’s account but he did not map them out because the files were so massive and “I can’t even imagine” how long it would take to map them all out. Wood is done with questions. Prior is now cross-examining him.
2:55 p.m. Stubbs is talking about time stamps on data from Google related to Alex Cox’s account.
2:50 p.m. Det. Stubbs remains a witness but will be moving from the stand and will be next to the easel. Stubbs will need to wear gloves and a mask. Stubbs is describing an aerial photograph taken over Lori Vallow’s apartment complex with markings that represent different reference points regarding the case.
DAYBELL PRELIMINARY HEARING PART 3
2:30 p.m. Stubbs is now talking about an overhead GIS mapping image of the townhome complex where Lori Vallow and Alex Cox lived in Rexburg. The images are from Sept. 9, Sept. 14 and Sept. 6. The image is admitted into evidence. Judge asks for a recess. Proceedings will begin again at 2:50 p.m.
2:25 p.m. Stubbs is now talking about an overhead image showing Chad Daybell’s property. The map shows markings signifying different things on the property.
2:20 p.m. Stubbs says he took dates and times of interest and, using GPS points and time-date stamps, he placed pins on a map to show Alex Cox’s locations.
2:15 p.m. Wood now asking Stubbs about Google data obtained in their search warrants on Alex Cox’s account. Stubbs says Cox’s email address was firstname.lastname@example.org and this information is from his account. Stubbs says detectives obtained thousands and thousands of pages from Google from Cox’s account. Just the location data printed out on his account would be over 28,000 pages.
2:10 p.m. Stubbs now being asked about his experience tracking cell phones and using cell phone data. Wood asks Stubbs if he’s ever met Alex Cox. He says he does not know Alex but knows he is related to Lori. He also says he is aware Alex is dead. Stubbs says he was interested in Alex’s Google data because police knew he lived in an apartment close to Lori. He also believed Alex may have information about where the children could be. He said a search warrant was issued on Alex’s devices and Google responded with results.
2:05 p.m. Body camera footage from the second visit to Lori’s home is now being played. Lt. Ball knocks on Lori’s door and Lori says Melanie is at “Frozen 2” with her kids. Police ask Lori to call Melanie to tell her to call them back. Lori agrees to do so and laughs that she doesn’t know if she could live in Rexburg a whole year because of the cold weather.
2:00 p.m. From Stubbs body camera: Lori says she is a “good person” and everyone is causing her trouble right now. Lori says Kay got $1 million when Charles died and Lori didn’t get anything. Lori says her daughter goes to BYUI and Lori is going to go back to Arizona so JJ can go to a school that’s better for his behavioral issue.
Police tell Lori they are concerned for the child and Lori says she feels like she’s being tracked all the time. Lt. Ball says two detectives came earlier and were talking with two guys. Lori says it was her brother, Alex Cox, and Alex’s friend, Chad Daybell.
Lori says she’s sorry people are constantly knocking at her door and she doesn’t want to be found. She says her brother from Kansas is trying to kill her and he showed up at her Rexburg home. Lori says she’s moving back to Arizona to live with her friend Melanie. She also says she canceled her insurance policy and has no money.
Police leave and Stubbs says officers returned a short time later when Melanie Gibb could not be contacted.
1:55 p.m. Recess is over and the body camera footage from Stubbs is being played. Stubbs is describing the video as he and his partner approach Lori Vallow’s home. We hear someone say, “Her car is out there. It’s a blue Subaru.” Then we hear a knock on the door. Lori answers the door and Lt. Ball asks if she has a minute. Lori responds that her brother is there. Ball introduces him and Stubbs.
Lori says JJ is in Arizona with her friend Melanie Gibb. She says Melanie’s son has autism. Lori then says, “What is all this?” Ball says police are concerned and officers earlier “had a bad vibe.” Lori says one of her brothers is trying to kill her so she’s had to move around a lot. Lori says JJ went to school for two months but had a hard time. Lori says the person who called the police (Kay) has been “fighting her” since Charles Vallow died.
1:40 p.m. Stubbs says when he first met Lori Vallow on Nov. 26, 2019, he was performing a welfare check on JJ Vallow. Stubbs was wearing a body camera and it recorded his interaction with Lori. Stubbs met with Lori twice the same day to inquire about her son. The body camera footage is admitted into court and is about to be played. The judge says the media is not allowed to show the video. Court goes into recess so they can get the video ready to play.
1:35 p.m. Rexburg Police Det. David Stubbs is called to the stand. He has been a detective since 2000 and has worked for the Rexburg Police Department for 25 years. Stubbs has training in technology and internet crimes against children. He first became involved in the case when RPD was asked to locate a vehicle that police in Arizona were interested in. Stubbs says he has met Lori and Chad.
REXBURG LT. RON BALL
1:30 p.m. Wood is done questioning Lt. Ball. John Prior, Chad’s attorney, is now asking questions about where the evidence swabs were obtained, who transported evidence and when the evidence was transported. Prior says he has no further questions and Ball is released from the witness stand. The stand is now being sanitized.
1:25 p.m. The sidebar is over and the hearing resumes. Wood is admitting several exhibits into the record. For those asking, the judge is not allowing media to show the exhibits, photos, etc. that are being referenced. Witnesses can describe them – but we can’t show them.
1:15 p.m. Judge is meeting with both attorneys in his chambers. Normally the sidebar conversations, which are off the record, can happen at the judge’s bench but because plexiglass has been installed, the attorneys have to speak loudly and the public/cameras might be able to hear what they say. Hearing should resume momentarily.
1:10 p.m. Ball says he was at Chad Daybell’s home when the remains of two bodies were found. He went to Ada County and was there for the autopsies. He is testifying that he accompanied the remains to the state lab in Boise with other officers. When they arrived in Boise, the remains and the packaging was in the same condition as when officers left Rexburg.
1:05 p.m. Rob Wood says he has no further questions for Det. Ray Hermosillo and Rexburg Police Det. Ron Ball is called to the stand. Ball has been a police officer for over 28 years. He is the lieutenant over investigations.
DAYBELL PRELIMINARY HEARING PART 2
REXBURG POLICE LT. RAY HERMOSILLO
11:55 a.m. Prior asking Hermosillo who he has interviewed and what interviews were recorded. Prior is finished with his questions. A one-hour lunch break is now underway. Court will reconvene at 1 p.m.
11:50 a.m. Prior asking about the homes near Chad Daybell’s property. Hermosillo says there is a residence kiddy-corner from the Daybell’s residence – where Emma Daybell, Chad’s daughter, lived at one point. Prior states there are 5 residences around the Daybell property.
11:45 a.m. Hermosillo says remains found in pond area were around 6-8 inches in the ground. “Shallow.” Hermosillo says there was a statue of a dog at the “pet cemetery” and there was a circular fire pit.
11:40 a.m. Prior now asking Hermosillo about how Chad Daybell was parked the morning the search warrant was executed. Prior says he has been to Chad’s house 6-7 times. Hermosillo says he has been out there 15-20 times and was last there during the last search warrant.
11:35 a.m. Prior now asking about the apartments where Lori Vallow and Alex Cox lived. There were three units and Hermosillo says unit 107 was vacant. Hermosillo says Lori Vallow lived in unit 175. Prior asks Hermosillo about surveillance and Hermosillo says it was not recorded. Hermosillo says around 15-20 hours of surveillance was done at the complex.
11:30 a.m. Prior now asking about JJ’s school record. Hermosillo says police originally believed JJ last went to school on Sept. 23, 2019. Prior asking Hermosillo about the hundreds of videos and photos he referenced earlier. Prior asked if those videos have been provided to Wood. Hermosillo says numerous videos have been uploaded to YouTube and other platforms by members of the community featuring the children. Hermosillo says there’s been a significant amount of people in Fremont and Madison County interested in the case.
11:25 a.m. Prior asks Hermosillo about his conversation with Chad Daybell on Nov. 26 – asks if it possible Chad said he didn’t know Lori as well as Alex. Hermosillo says that’s not possible. Prior asks Hermosillo if he recalls every single date and time in the investigation. Hermosillo says no.
11:20 a.m. The recess is over and Prior is continuing his questions. Hermosillo is talking about the time he and other detectives spoke with Melanie Gibb. Hermosillo says he is the lead investigator and Lt. Ball is the supervisor of the investigator.
11:15 a.m. Wood objects to many of Prior’s questions – saying they are beyond the scope of a preliminary hearing. Prior says he’s trying to learn information that is appropriate. Eddins calls for a 5 minute recess so he can do some legal research.
11:10 a.m. Hermosillo says he spoke with Melani Boudreaux on Dec. 3, 2019. Hermosillo was asking for information on the location of the children and says police were significantly concerned about their whereabouts.
11:05 a.m. John Prior, Chad’s attorney, is now questioning Hermosillo. Hermosillo says his initial encounter was not on body camera because detectives don’t normally wear body cams. Prior is stressing that it’s important to record interviews and Hermosillo agrees.
11:00 a.m. Hermosillo says duct tape was covering the child’s mouth and his hands were folded about chest high. He had duct tape continuously wrapped around his body. Hermosillo says “he had a ball of duct tape over where his hands would be.” Hermosillo says the child was JJ Vallow and his wrists were bound with duct tape. JJ’s ankles were also bound with duct tape. Hermosillo says he observed the second autopsy with charred flesh and bone later that afternoon. Wood says he is done questioning and John Prior will now ask questions.
10:55 a.m. Hermosillo discussing the autopsies in Ada County. He was in the room with other officials. He says the Medical Examiner grabbed a sharp instrument and cut down the middle of the black plastic bag. Hermosillo says he observed a small child in red pajamas – red pajama shirt and pants – along with Skechers socks. A white and blue blanket had been placed on top of him. Hermosillo says the amount of duct tape covering the body – on the head, arms and feet – was noticeable. His head had a white plastic bag over it – an expandable type of trash bag. The duct tape was tightly wrapped around from his chin to forehead ahead – several layers tightly wrapped.
10:50 a.m. The Evidence Recovery Team placed the mass in the back of the coroner’s vehicle. Hermosillo says there was a melted green bucket that the burned flesh had been placed in and under the bucket was a partial human skull. The remains were placed into a bag and put into the coroner’s vehicle. Hermosillo says he and other officers then went to Madison Memorial Hospital to pick up JJ’s body and they then went to Boise with the remains.
10:45 a.m. The recess is over and Rexburg Police Det. Ray Hermosillo remains on the witness stand. He says around 1 p.m., the FBI Evidence Recovery Team found a mass of burned flesh and bone in the pet cemetery in Chad Daybell’s yard. The team removed the mass from the ground. Hermosillo says security guards were placed at the property and the search continued the next day on June 10.
DAYBELL PRELIMINARY HEARING PART 1
10:30 a.m. Hermosillo says he helped excavate north of the “pet cemetery” in Chad’s yard. Hermosillo says there was a dog and cat buried there. The court takes a brief recess. We will be back at 10:45 a.m.
10:25 a.m. The team discovered white plastic underneath the black plastic and the crown of a head was exposed. A small body tightly wrapped in black plastic covered in duct tape was then discovered. The body was placed into the back of the coroner’s vehicle. This was around 11 a.m. The coroner brought the body to Madison Memorial Hospital where it was placed in the morgue. Hermosillo says before noon, he assisted Sgt. Wheeler in placing Chad Daybell into custody.
10:20 a.m. The team discovered three large white rocks in a row while digging. The rocks were removed and underneath was some thin wood paneling. The paneling was removed and Hermosillo says he could smell the odor of a decomposing body. Hermosillo says he has been around deceased bodies on multiple occasions. In the last 19 years, he’s covered plenty of suicides and unattended deaths where the bodies were decomposing. Hermosillo says he recognized a similar smell once the wood paneling was removed. The ERT team moved away more soil from the area and there was a black plastic bag with a round object protruding through the dirt.
10:15 a.m. Hermosillo says the FBI Evidence Recovery Team showed up at Chad’s house around 9 a.m. The team and cadaver dogs worked the entire backyard. Areas were marked off and an area of interest was found right under the tree by the pond. Hermosillo says under the tree, there was a 4×2 area of sod/shorter grass in an area of longer weed growth. The 4×2 area stuck out based on the greenery around it. The ERT team began digging and methodically remove dirt.
10:10 a.m. Hermosillo says Chad was on the phone sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle as police were serving the search warrant on his property. Hermosillo says Chad continually looked over his right shoulder, break contact, talk on the phone and then look back over his right shoulder. Chad got out of his vehicle at one point and Hermosillo went to stand by Chad. Hermosillo says from where Chad was standing, looking over his shoulder one would see the pond area on his property.
10:05 a.m. Hermosillo says when Chad was served the search warrant, he was told he would need an officer to stay with him or he could leave the home. Hermosillo says Chad went and sat in his vehicle in the driveway after calling his attorney.
10:05 a.m. Hermosillo says he went back to Kauai in the middle of February and served Lori Vallow with an arrest warrant on Feb. 20, 2020. When Lori first appeared in a Hawaii courtroom, Hermosillo says Chad was in the courtroom. Fast forward to June 9. Hermosillo says he went to Chad’s house in Fremont County, Idaho to serve a search warrant.
10:00 a.m. Hermosillo says he went to Kauai in January and served Lori Vallow with an order demanding she produce her kids in Rexburg within 5 days of Jan. 25, 2020. Hermosillo says a search warrant was also issued on Vallow’s rental vehicle and their rental townhouse. Hermosillo says there was never any sign of JJ or Tylee in Hawaii.
9:55 a.m. Hermosillo says police have not found any photographs of Tylee Ryan taken after Sept. 8, 2019. No photos of JJ Vallow have been found that were taken after Sept. 22, 2019. There have been no sightings of either child after the respective dates.
9:50 a.m. Hermosillo says after talking with Colby Ryan, police began looking for Tylee Ryan. Wood admits an exhibit showing a photo of JJ, Tylee and Alex Cox at Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 8, 2019. Wood admits another photo from Lori’s I-cloud account showing JJ sitting on a couch on Sept. 22, 2019.
9:45 a.m. Hermosillo also received a search warrant for a storage unit that Lori Vallow had obtained. Inside they found old winter clothes and blankets featuring children. We reported this earlier this year. Find the story here. Hermosillo says they tried to contact family members to see where JJ was and the FBI was brought in to assist. Hermosillo says Lori and Chad never called the Rexburg Police to report missing children. Chad never returned any calls from police and Lori never answered her phone. They obtained an attorney and refused to answer any questions, according to Hermosillo.
9:45 a.m. Hermosillo says on Nov. 27, 2019, a search warrant was obtained for apartments 175, 174 and 107. These were rented to Lori Vallow, Alex Cox and Melani Boudreaux. The warrant was for JJ Vallow as police were unaware of Tylee Ryan. In unit 175, police found a suitcase with JJ’s name and a half-filled prescription bottle of pills with JJ’s name on it. In unit 175, there was no clothing in the closets or dresser drawers. Unit 107 was completely vacant.
9:40 a.m. Other officers were called and Hermosillo called Lt. Ron Ball. Ball told him he needed to get a search warrant. JJ was never located that day. Hermosillo testifies that their interactions that day were recorded on body cameras. Prior asks the judge to approach the bench.
9:35 a.m. Hermosillo asked Chad Daybell when he last saw JJ. Daybell said he saw the child in Apt. 107 (Alex Cox’s home) in October. Hermosillo asked Chad for Lori’s phone number. Chad told Hermosillo he didn’t have it. Hermosillo thought that was odd because the knew they had a close relationship. Chad said he only knew Lori because they had met a couple times through Alex Cox. A few minutes later, Chad gave Hermosillo Lori’s phone number. When Hermosillo asked why he didn’t provide the number earlier, Chad said it was because it sounded like he was being accused of something.
9:30 a.m. Hermosillo says when he went to do the welfare check on Nov. 26. Alex Cox and Chad Daybell were at the house but Alex said Lori was not home. Hermosillo asked if JJ was home. Alex told Hermosillo JJ was with Kay Woodcock in Louisiana. Hermosillo asked Alex for Lori’s phone number and Alex said he didn’t have it.
9:25 a.m. Wood introduces exhibits including the birth certificate and adoption records of Canaan Trahan. Canaan’s name was then changed to Joshua “JJ” Vallow. His birthdate is May 25, 2012. Wood also introduces the birth certificate of Tylee Ryan – parents are Joseph Ryan and Lori Noreen Cox. Wood also introduces the marriage certificate of Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow. Date of marriage is Nov. 5.
9:20 a.m. Hermosillo says in early November, he was asked to seize a Jeep by the Gilbert Police Department that was in Lori Vallow’s possession. He was asked to do a welfare check on Nov. 25, 2019 on Joshua Jackson “JJ” Vallow. Hermosillo says he has never met JJ or Tylee Ryan.
9:15 a.m. First witness called is Rexburg Police Det. Ray Hermosillo. He has been investigating the case since JJ and Tylee were first reported missing and has worked as a police officer for 19 years.
9:10 a.m. The preliminary hearing began. Chad Daybell is wearing a white shirt and tie. His attorney, John Prior, asked to discuss a matter. Judge Faren Eddins asked they take the issue into his chambers. We are on a short recess.
ST. ANTHONY — Chad Daybell will appear before Judge Faren Eddins Monday as a two-day preliminary hearing begins in the case involving his wife’s deceased children.
Proceedings are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. in the Fremont County Courthouse and will be streamed lived on EastIdahoNews.com. Daybell is charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence, and two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
He was arrested June 9 after the remains of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, were found buried on his property. Since then, he has appeared for court hearings from the Fremont County Jail via Zoom but now, he and his attorney, John Prior, will listen in person as Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood calls witnesses and presents evidence. Wood has been appointed as a special prosecutor in the case.
During Daybell’s hearing, Wood will need to convince Eddins that Daybell likely committed the crimes he’s accused of. Wood has subpoenaed several people to testify, including FBI Special Agent Benjamin Dean, FBI Special Agent Steven Daniels, FBI Special Agent Gary Lyu and Rylene Nowlin, an employee with Idaho State Police Forensic Services.
Melanie Gibb and David Warwick, friends of Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell’s, confirm to EastIdahoNews.com that they will also be called as witnesses.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Eddins will decide whether Daybell’s case should be bound over, or advanced, from magistrate court to district court. If that happens, a district judge will be assigned, an arraignment will be scheduled and the case will eventually go before a jury.
Daybell’s wife, Lori Daybell, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Fremont County Monday, Aug. 10 on two felony charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
EastIdahoNews.com will provide numerous updates on this story throughout the day as the hearing progresses. Refresh this page for the latest details beginning at 9 a.m.