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Daybell children say their mother died from asphyxiation, insist their father is innocent

Daybell Case

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REXBURG – Chad Daybell’s children say authorities told them their mother died from asphyxiation and even though “things look funny,” their father is innocent.

Garth Daybell, Emma Murray, Seth Daybell, Leah Murphy and Mark Daybell sat down with ’48 Hours’ contributor Jonathan Vigliotti for a special called ‘The Secrets of Chad Daybell’s Backyard.’ Their dad, Chad Daybell, was arrested in June 2020 after the remains of Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan were found buried on his property.

JJ and Tylee’s mother, Lori Vallow, married Daybell in November 2019 – weeks after Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, died in her Salem home.

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

Chad Daybell faces multiple criminal charges, including first-degree murder in connection to the deaths of JJ, Tylee and Tammy. Lori Vallow Daybell is charged with similar crimes.

RELATED | Chad Daybell’s children defend their father, say he was ‘framed’

Tammy died at her Salem home in October 2019. An autopsy was not performed and her body was exhumed two months later. Authorities have not released her cause of death but multiple sources close to the investigation tell she died from asphyxiation.

tammy and chad daybell
Chad and Tammy Daybell. | Courtesy photo

“They (authorities) told me that she’d been asphyxiated…but we never saw an autopsy,” Garth Daybell told ’48 Hours.’

Mark Daybell added, “Asphyxiation doesn’t necessarily mean smothered. According to my understanding, it just means the breath was interrupted. And in the end, she wasn’t able to breathe.”

The children say Tammy had been in failing health. During their interview, Garth Daybell said he was in his bedroom the night his mother died when he heard a “thump.” His dad called out for him “with the most panic I’d ever heard in his voice.”

“My dad was just pacing back and forth,” Garth told Vigliotti. “Just saying, ‘Why? How could this happen?’ Pointing at pictures on the wall, ‘She can’t be dead. Like, how could this be? What do we do?’

Emma Murray said their father “was in complete shock” and because of his emotional state, the kids requested that an autopsy not be performed.

“The narrative is that he was going, ‘No, no, no autopsy.’ But he was standing there — in complete shock, traumatized, letting us make the decision,” Murray said.

All five Daybell children remain united in defending their father and insist he has done nothing criminal. Murray told CBS News she believes Chad was “framed.”

“I don’t know why they (the bodies) would be there,” Murray told Vigliotti while touring the property. “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.”

’48 Hours’ airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. MT on CBS and Paramount+.

You can find complete coverage of the Daybell case and the latest news here.