ST. ANTHONY — On the day authorities found the remains of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, buried in the backyard of a Fremont County home — Lori Daybell, who was incarcerated in the Madison County Jail, called her husband Chad Daybell.
On Tuesday, that phone conversation was played as evidence during Chad Daybell’s preliminary hearing. Lt. Jared Willmore of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office testified during the hearing that the recording was placed at 11:03 on June 9. Willmore oversees the jail in Madison County.
A great deal of the call is muffled, but the conversation starts with Lori asking Chad if he is OK.
Chad responds by saying, “They are searching the property.”
At the time of the phone call, the Rexburg Police Department, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI were digging up parts of Chad Daybell’s yard. With a search warrant in hand, investigators focused on two areas of the property, which eventually led authorities to recover the bodies of the children.
In the call, Chad tells Lori he loves her multiple times and for Lori to pray. He also tells Lori that her attorney Mark Means might be contacting her. Daybell tells Lori he is glad she called.
“So, we’ll see what transpires,” Chad says.
By the afternoon, detectives recovered the body of JJ wrapped in plastic and duct tape. The following day, the burnt and charred remains of Tylee were also unburied yards away on the property.
Within an hour of the phone call, Chad drove away from the property on North 1900 East. Law enforcement followed, stopped Chad, and placed him into custody. The phone call played in court Tuesday is the last known direct communication between Chad and Lori since his arrest.
Chad 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.
Lori is also charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. She is in jail in Madison County and is awaiting a preliminary hearing later this month.
You can watch the entire hearing on the EastIdahoNews.com YouTube channel here.