Melanie Gibb reflects on testifying, meeting JJ’s grandparents and her message to Chad and Lori Daybell
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REXBURG — Melanie Gibb says testifying during Chad Daybell’s preliminary hearing this week “was quite the experience” but her favorite moment happened when she met Larry and Kay Woodcock, the grandparents of Joshua “JJ” Vallow.
Gibb was a close friend of Daybell and his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell. Gibb has known for months that she would be a key witness during court proceedings as her friends face charges after JJ and his sister, Tylee Ryan, were found buried on Chad Daybell’s property June 9.
“Overall I’m grateful to be able to share the information and knowledge that I have,” Gibb tells EastIdahoNews.com. “It’s hard to talk about those things knowing the whole world is watching you.”
A dramatic moment during Gibb’s testimony came when Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood played a 21-minute phone call from Dec. 8, 2019. Gibb confronted Chad and Lori about JJ, lies they allegedly told police and the fact they had been “deceived” and were on a dangerous path.
“I knew after many people heard that, they would understand Chad and Lori and my relationship with them a little bit better,” Gibb says. “I’m really grateful that got to come out. I knew it would help so I was happy to share it.”
Gibb has received some criticism since first speaking publicly about the case in May. During an in-depth interview with EastIdahoNews.com at the time, she said Chad and Lori were good people and expressed loved for them.
Weeks later, the remains of JJ and Tylee were discovered and Chad was arrested. The couple had told Gibb last year that the children were “zombies” along with Lori’s former husband, Charles Vallow. He was shot and killed by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, on July 11, 2019. Cox died of natural causes in December, according to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner.
“Chad and Lori never talked about killing anyone. They would always talk about praying and hoping spirits (of zombies) would leave the bodies,” Gibb explains. “She was also predicting dates about things that were going to happen and they just never happened. It seemed like there was a prediction every month or every week, and they didn’t happen. I didn’t get a sense that any of the things she said would happen so I didn’t take a lot of it too seriously.”
One of those predictions included a major worldwide this month. While the couple reportedly believed the world would end July 22, 2020, Gibb says she had never heard anything from them about that date.
“Their biggest date was August,” she says. “I don’t think they thought the world was necessarily going to come to an end but it would be a sign of a new transition or maybe things would start happening after that time.”
While Gibb had spoken to the Woodcocks on the phone, she had never met them until this week. They exchanged kind words Tuesday morning before the preliminary hearing and Gibb told Kay Woodcock that she loved her.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins said Chad Daybell likely committed two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence, and two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. His case now advances to District Court and he will be arraigned Aug. 21.
Lori faces two felony charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence and remains in the Madison County Jail on $1 million bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 10 and 11.
Gibb says she hopes others who follow the teachings of her former friends will realize they are wrong. The experiences of the past year have strengthened her faith, she says, and she has a message for Chad and Lori.
“I hope that they can realize this is pure evil. There’s nothing good. The whole goal for them was to be together and they’re not,” Gibb says. “All the things that they thought were going to happen, their predicted revelations – can they not see that nothing happened the way they thought it would happen?…At some point, you’re going to have to come to the realization that you can’t live in this pretend bubble. It has to pop eventually because they’re not going to come out of jail. They’re going to be there the rest of their lives.”
Watch our entire conversation with Gibb in the video player above.