The latest timeline of events in the Vallow Daybell murder cases - East Idaho News
DAYBELL TIMELINE

The latest timeline of events in the Vallow Daybell murder cases

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Editor’s note: This timeline was originally published Jan. 17, 2020. It has been updated with the latest events as of Jan. 30, 2024.

REXBURG — In December 2019, the world learned that two children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and his sister, Tylee Ryan, were missing.

Since then, a complicated story spanning multiple states and law enforcement agencies has unfolded. Here is a timeline of events in the case. For more information on who’s who in the case, click here.

ORIGINAL STORY | Police searching for Rexburg children believed to be in serious danger

Pre-2019

  • Chad and Tammy Daybell marry on March 9, 1990, in Manti, Utah, according to her obituary. The couple raise their family in Springville, Utah, where they establish Spring Creek Book Company, through which Chad published many of his books. The couple have five children before moving to Salem, Idaho, in 2015. Tammy is employed as a school librarian.
  • In 2006, marriage records show Lori Ryan marries her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Lori enters the marriage with her son, Colby, and Tylee, the daughter with her third husband, Joseph Ryan Jr. In 2014, Charles and Lori adopt Joshua “JJ” Vallow. He is the biological grandson of Charles’ sister Kay Woodcock, who is married to Larry Woodcock.
  • Social media posts indicate that sometime in 2014, the Vallows moved to Kauai in Hawaii. The couple operates a small business on the island. The family then moves back to the mainland between 2016 and 2017.
  • Joseph Ryan dies on April 3, 2018. According to the medical examiner’s report, the cause of death is ruled a heart attack. He is cremated and little other information is available about his death.
  • Chad and Lori meet in the fall of 2018 at a religious conference in St. George, Utah. A felony indictment indicates that on Oct. 26, 2018, Lori and Chad begin discussing their religious beliefs to justify killing Tammy, JJ and Tylee.
  • Around this time, Chad and Lori make their first recording together on the Preparing a People podcast “Time to Warrior Up.” The two record with others on several podcasts – many focused on the end of the world. Preparing a People has since removed the podcast and publicly dissociated itself from the couple.
  • 2019

  • Arizona police body camera footage shows Charles pleading for Lori to receive mental health help at Community Bridges on Jan. 31. Officers determined she had a normal state of mind and she was medically cleared by Community Bridges.
  • Charles files for divorce from Lori in February. He claims she viewed herself as a god preparing for the second coming of Christ, according to court documents. Charles also says Lori told him she would kill him if he got in her way of performing her mission. Divorce proceedings are later paused after Charles says he wants to make the marriage work.
  • Lori goes to Hawaii in February for nearly two months and leaves JJ and Tylee with others. She spends time with friends and is in communication with Chad nearly every day.
  • Around June, Lori’s niece, Melani Boudreaux, and her husband, Brandon Boudreaux, decide to divorce. Brandon claims Melani is affiliated with similar beliefs as her aunt and has joined “a cult.”
  • On July 11, Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, shoots and kills Charles. Alex says the shooting was in self-defense. By the end of August, Lori, Tylee, JJ and Alex move to Rexburg, Idaho.
  • Days after Charles is killed, Chad sends multiple texts to Lori in what investigators call a “romance novel.” Chad, who is still married to Tammy, describes in detail a sexual relationship between James and Elena, the names he uses to substitute for himself and Lori.
  • On Sept. 8, Tylee, JJ, Lori and Alex visit Yellowstone National Park. Officials say this is the last time anyone saw Tylee alive. The FBI later asks for help from anyone who may have photos of the family taken that day in the park.
  • Chad signs an application with Tammy on Sept. 8 to increase her life insurance to the maximum amount allowed on the policy.
  • On Sept. 9, phone records place Alex on Chad’s property in the general area where investigators would eventually find Tylee’s remains. That same day, Chad allegedly texts Tammy saying he shot a raccoon and buried it in their pet cemetery.
  • Lori enrolls JJ at Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg on Sept. 3. Less than three weeks later, JJ attends class for the last time and his mother tells the school she will now be homeschooling her child. Tylee was never enrolled in any school in Idaho even though Lori claims her daughter is attending BYU-Idaho.
  • RELATED | Principal offers explanation about why Joshua “JJ” Vallow wasn’t reported missing in September

    In October, Melani moves to a townhouse in the same housing complex of Lori and Alex.

  • On Oct. 1, Lori rents a 10×10 storage unit from Self Storage Plus in Rexburg. Surveillance video at the facility, exclusively obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, shows Lori and a man visiting the unit nine times in October and once in November. Often the man, who appears to be Alex, comes alone. Another visit shows Alex and a man who appears to be Chad. During one visit, Chad and Lori visit the storage facility together.
  • On Oct. 2, Brandon returns from the gym to his Arizona home when he is shot at with the bullet missing his head by inches. The shooter was driving a Jeep registered to then-deceased Charles Vallow. That same day, Lori purchases a wedding ring on Amazon, later seen on her finger at her beach wedding with Chad.
  • On Oct. 9, Tammy calls 911 and says a masked man shot at her in her driveway with a paintball gun. She posts about the experience on Facebook, saying she has no idea who the person was or why they would shoot at her. Court documents later indicate Alex attempted to shoot and kill Tammy that day.
  • RELATED | Tammy Daybell reported a masked man shot at her with a paintball gun 10 days before her ‘suspicious’ death

    RELATED | Sheriff details what happened when deputies responded to Tammy Daybell’s death as Lori Daybell’s son makes a passionate plea

  • Ten days later, Chad calls 911 and says Tammy passed away in her sleep at their Salem home. Detectives visit the home and the coroner rules Tammy died of natural causes without performing an autopsy. Tammy is buried at the Evergreen Cemetary in Springville on Oct. 22.. The family holds a memorial service in Rexburg the following day.
  • Two weeks after Tammy’s death, Chad and Lori are married in Hawaii on Nov. 5. They return to Rexburg. Over the coming weeks, Chad told neighbors that Lori had no minor children. Police also say Lori told people Tylee died years earlier.
  • On Nov. 26, the Rexburg Police Department conducts a welfare check for JJ at the request of his grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock. They had not spoken with the boy in months. JJ is not at the townhome on Pioneer Road and Lori tells officers her son is with her friend, Melanie Gibb, in Arizona. Police soon determine that JJ was not with Melanie.
  • RELATED | Mother of missing kids knows where they are or what happened to them, police say

  • The next morning, Nov. 27, the Rexburg Police Department serves a search warrant at Lori’s townhouse. When officers arrive, Chad and Lori are gone.
  • Court documents indicate that on Dec. 1, Chad and Lori catch an American Airlines flight to Lihue, Hawaii. The children are not with their parents.
  • On Dec. 6, Melanie Gibb contacts the Rexburg Police Department and tells officers Chad and Lori called her on Nov. 26. She says the couple asked her to lie about the location of JJ.
  • The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office determines Tammy Daybell’s death is “suspicious” and her body is exhumed on Dec. 11. An autopsy is performed in Utah and the results are not released but the public later learns Tammy died due to asphyxiation.
  • On Dec. 12, Alex dies in Gilbert, Arizona at age 51. In a police interview months after his death, Alex’s wife Zulema Patenas speaks with officers. She says a few days before Alex died, he told her a bag of money was hidden in his closet in case anything happens to him.
  • On Dec. 20, the Rexburg Police Department announces JJ and Tylee are missing. Police say their disappearance is possibly linked to the suspicious death of Tammy. The following day, police call Chad and Lori “persons of interest.”
  • RELATED | Police release photos of mother, stepdad who are now ‘persons of interest’ in connection to children’s disappearance

  • On Dec. 23, Sean Bartholick, the Rexburg attorney representing the Daybells, releases a statement calling Chad and Lori loving and devoted. He says allegations will be addressed once they move beyond “rumor and speculation.”
  • RELATED | Parents of missing Rexburg children issue a statement, attorney says they are ‘loving’ and ‘devoted’

    RELATED | Despite hundreds of tips, investigators say they’re no closer to finding missing Rexburg kids

  • On Dec. 30, the Rexburg Police Department issues a news release saying they have information indicating Lori knows either the location of the children or what has happened to them. They call the parents’ lack of cooperation “astonishing.”

    2020

  • Local investigators and the FBI serve a search warrant on Chad’s home in Salem on Jan. 3. They recover 43 items, including computers, cell phones, journals, documents and medications. These are sent to an FBI lab in Salt Lake City for further analysis.
  • RELATED | Police conclude search at Daybell home

    RELATED | Sheriff’s office collects 43 items during raid at Daybell home

  • On Jan. 7, Larry and Kay Woodcock travel to Rexburg from their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana and announce a $20,000 reward for information leading to the kids.
  • RELATED | ‘All I want is just to see those children.’ Grandparents announce $20K reward for JJ and Tylee

  • Chad Daybell’s brother, Matt Daybell, pleads for him to cooperate with the investigation on Jan. 10. Matt says his immediate family has little association with Chad due to concerns about his extreme religious claims and books.
  • RELATED | Chad Daybell’s brother issues statement ‘pleading’ for him to cooperate with investigation

  • On Jan. 25, the Kauai Police Department serves Lori with a notice stating she must produce JJ and Tylee to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or the Rexburg Police Department within five days.
  • EastIdahoNews.com reporter Nate Eaton confronts Chad and Lori in Hawaii on Jan. 26 after police stop them at the Kauai Beach Resort. Law enforcement seizes the couple’s rental car and search their rental townhome in Princeville, Hawaii. The parents refuse to say where the children are.
  • On Jan. 30, Lori misses the 5 p.m. deadline to produce JJ and Tylee. Kay holds a news conference expressing her disappointment.
  • On Feb. 3, EastIdahoNews.com visits the storage unit where Lori abandoned several of the kids’ items.
  • On Feb. 12, Kay tells EastIdahoNews.com that in February 2019, Charles removed Lori from a $1 million life insurance policy. Kay was named the sole beneficiary.
  • On Feb. 20, police in Kauai arrest Lori on a $5 million warrant out of Madison County. She is charged with two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. She is also charged with arrests and seizures – resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, and contempt of court – willful disobedience of court process or order.
  • On Feb. 26, Lori waives her extradition to Idaho after six days behind bars in Hawaii. The waiver comes after multiple attempts to reduce bail fail.
  • Idaho authorities extradite Lori from Hawaii to Rexburg on March 5. They arrive at the Rexburg airport and Nate Eaton attempts to speak with her before she’s taken to the Madison County Jail.
  • Lori makes her initial court appearance in Rexburg on March 6. Hundreds wait in line hoping to catch a glimpse of the hearing where Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins reduces her bail to $1 million. She remains in jail unable to post bond.
  • On April 9, EastIdahoNews.com obtains a letter from the Idaho Attorney General stating Chad and Lori are under investigation for conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder.
  • The Maricopa County Medical Examiner releases Alex’s autopsy on May 8. It says he died of natural causes -due to blood clots in his lungs.
  • Melanie Gibb breaks her silence and during an interview with EastIdahoNews.com, reveals explosive new details.
  • Around 7 a.m. on June 9, the Rexburg Police Department, FBI and Fremont County Sheriff’s Office serve a search warrant at Chad’s home. Within hours, investigators discover human remains buried on the property that are later identified as those of JJ and Tylee.
  • Around 11:30 a.m. on June 9, Chad is taken into custody about a mile from his home. He’s booked into the Fremont County Jail on two felony charges of concealment, distribution or alteration of evidence.
  • Chad makes his first court appearance on June 10 via video from the jail and bail is set at $1 million.
  • Memorials are set up along the fence of the property where the children were found. Several candlelight vigils are held in their honor.
  • On June 29, prosecutors file charges against Lori including two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
  • On July 2, prosecutors dismiss two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children against Lori. On July 15, she pleads not guilty to misdemeanor resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court.
  • On Aug. 3 and 4, Chad’s preliminary hearing is held in Fremont County. Friends, investigators and witnesses testify and Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins concludes the prosecution has enough probable cause to advance the case to District Court.
  • Lori waives her preliminary hearing scheduled on Aug. 10 and 11 in Fremont County. The case advances to District Court.
  • Chad is arraigned before District Judge Steven Boyce on Aug. 21. He pleads not guilty to the felony charges.
  • Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood files a motion on Sept. 1 asking to combine the cases for Chad and Lori. He says having the cases together will be more efficient since he plans to present the same evidence and witnesses.
  • On Sept. 10, Lori is arraigned in District Court where she pleads not guilty to the two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
  • On Oct. 19, the anniversary of Tammy Daybell’s death, her parents and siblings announce the creation of the Tammy Douglas Daybell Foundation “to honor her legacy of service and love of literacy.”
  • On Nov. 5, EastIdahoNews.com obtains an audio recording of Lori saying she “was going to murder” her third husband, Joseph Ryan, while speaking at a meeting in Oct. 2018. She says she became closer to God and ultimately did not need to act against Joe.
  • 2021

  • On Feb. 4, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office announces Tammy’s autopsy is complete but details are not released. That same day, newly elected Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake requests Tammy’s death investigation case be sent back to her office from the Idaho Attorney General. The AG transfers the case.
  • On March 22, Wood adds veteran Missouri homicide attorney Rachel Smithto assist his team in the case.
  • On May 24, a grand jury indicts Chad and Lori on several new felony charges, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors announce the charges during a May 25 news conference, releasing the indictment containing additional information surrounding the homicides of Tylee, JJ and Tammy.
  • On June 8, Lori is committed to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. A psychologist deems her unfit for trial and Boyce agrees she can not assist in her defense.
  • Chad pleads not guilty to all counts in the indictment on June 9. His children sit behind him in the courtroom.
  • On June 24, a grand jury in Arizona indicts Lori for conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Charles Vallow. Prosecutors decline to file charges against Chad saying there is “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.”
  • On July 29, prosecutors drop the destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence charges against Chad and Lori.
  • Prosecutors announce on Aug. 5 they will seek the death penalty against Chad saying “the nature and magnitude of these crimes warrant the possibility of the highest possible punishment.”
  • In a September interview with “48 Hours,” Chad’s children say their father was framed and their mother died of asphyxiation.
  • Following a change of venue hearing on Oct. 5, Boyce rules the Daybell trial will be moved from Fremont County to Ada County.
  • On Oct. 7, Chandler, Arizona police release their entire case file for the investigation into Charles’ homicide. Included are gigabytes of never-before-seen video interviews, audio recordings, text messages and police reports.
  • On Dec. 28, Boyce orders that Mark Means, Lori’s attorney, can no longer represent her. Boyce cites the conflict of interest in Means representing both Chad and Lori as well as concerns over his legal competency and effectiveness.

2022

  • In March, Arizona prosecutors announce they will not file conspiracy to commit murder charges against Chad in the attempted shooting case of Brandon Boudreaux. They cite “no reasonable likelihood of conviction” as the reason.
  • Boyce denies a request from John Prior on March 21 to sever Chad’s case from Lori’s.
  • On April 11, Boyce issues a written order saying Lori is now competent and fit to proceed for trial. She is ordered to be released from a Department of Health and Welfare facility.
  • Lori is arraigned on April 19. She remains silent and her attorney Jim Archibald asks Boyce to enter a not guilty plea on her behalf.
  • On May 2, prosecutors announce they will pursue the death penalty against Lori and ask Boyce to keep her trial together with Chad’s. Boyce issues a response on May 26 reaffirming the trials will be held together in January 2023.
  • In August, Lori appears in court smiling and wearing a band on her ring finger.
  • Two weeks after the hearing, Lori’s attorneys file a motion asking for cameras to be banned from the courtroom. Prosecutors support the motion as EastIdahoNews.com joins with over two dozen other media outlets in opposition. Boyce grants the motion and all cameras are banned from future court hearings and the trial.
  • On Oct. 6, Lori’s case is put on hold due to competency issues. A month later, she is found competent for trial but the originally scheduled January start date is postponed until April 3, 2023.

2023

  • On March 2, District Judge Steven Boyce rules Lori and Chad’s cases will be severed, meaning there will be two trials, after new evidence is submitted regarding DNA testing. Lori’s trial is scheduled to begin April 3.
  • Boyce grants a motion from Lori’s attorneys to take death penalty off the table. The judge says the main reason is due to a large amount of evidence that prosecutors turned over late. This would not allow her team enough time to go through it all before trial.
  • Lori’s trial begins in Ada County on April 3. You can find summaries of witness testimony and details of each day here.
  • Lori hears verdict
    Lori Vallow Daybell stands and listens as the jury’s verdict is read at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise on May 12, 2023. | Kyle Green, Associated Press
  • On May 12, a jury finds Lori guilty of first-degree murder of JJ and Tylee. She is also found guilty of conspiring to commit the murders of JJ, Tylee and Tammy and grand theft.
  • RELATED | Jury convicts Lori Vallow Daybell in murders of JJ, Tylee and Tammy Daybell

  • A few days after the verdict, a juror speaks with EastIdahoNews.com and says “if there was a face to evil, it was hers.
  • In mid-May, Arizona officials release information that a grand jury indicted Lori on Feb. 24, 2022 for conspiracy to commit the murder of Brandon Boudreaux..
  • On July 31, Boyce orders Lori to serve three life sentences without parole. Family members of the victims speak during the sentencing hearing and, for the first time, Lori addresses the public and quotes Bible verses about how people should not judge each other.
  • Lori is moved to the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center on Aug. 1.
  • In September, Lori files an appeal and asks the Idaho Supreme Court to examine her case, guilty verdict and sentence.
  • In October, Boyce orders JJ’s remains to be turned over to his family. Tylee’s remains are released in December.
  • On Nov. 29, Boyce rules courtroom cameras will livestream Chad Daybell’s trial to the public when it begins April 1, 2024 in Boise.
  • On Nov. 29, Maricopa County Sheriff deputies transport Lori from the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center to the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona where she is processed and booked. During a news conference, the sheriff says once Lori’s case is over in Arizona, she will return to Idaho.
  • Lori pleads not guilty to all Arizona charges on Dec. 7.

2024

  • Less than three months before trial, John Prior, Chad’s attorney, files a motion to withdraw from the case. Boyce denies it.

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