DAY 23 | LIVE UPDATES: FBI agent reveals steamy text messages and other evidence found on Lori Vallow Daybell's iCloud accounts - East Idaho News
Daybell Case

DAY 23 | LIVE UPDATES: FBI agent reveals steamy text messages and other evidence found on Lori Vallow Daybell’s iCloud accounts

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11:55 a.m. Hart says he found no signs of regret or sorrow in any of the text messages following Charles’ death. We are now adjourning for the day and will be back at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. I’ll break down everything that happened in court tonight at 7:30 p.m. Join me on my Facebook page or the YouTube channel.

11:52 a.m. Hart now reads the text messages between Zach and Cole Vallow where they confronted her three days after Charles was killed. They demand answers about what happened to their dad and if JJ is safe. You can read that text here. Lori was not responding to Charles’ sons, but was busy texting Chad and Melani B.

11:51 a.m. Message on July 14. Chad to Lori: “I need so badly to just gently kiss you…for hours.” Chad: “It would likely lead to other activities.” Lori to Chad: “Likely or Luckily?” Chad to Lori: “It would likely lead to nakedness.”

11:47 a.m. The next slide shows messages sent the evening of July 14, 2019. Chad to Lori: “Hanging in there, but really missing you too! Please find out the name of Mel’s campout in Utah. I have no intention of going, but I feel it is our avenue to get together, whether she is still here or not.” Lori: “Zion’s family camp. Mel speaks Wednesday night and Dave speaks Thursday night. Shelly M is their main speaker…eye roll.” Chad: “Well, that should work for me to get away though. I spoke at it two years ago which is when I first met Mel. What time do you fly out tomorrow?” Chad: “My trip to speak at the camp July 24-26 has been approved and is now on the calendar.”

11:46 a.m. Hart continues to read the romance novel that Chad sent to Lori via text message. He’s not reading the entire novel, just the portions he believes are relevant to the case.

11:43 a.m. Chad texted Lori on July 14, 2019: “I love you so much! You are my greatest desire and my best friend. Now on with the story.” Chad then goes on to text “The James and Elaina story.” You can read the romance novel to his “goddess lover” here.

11:40 a.m. Lori responded to the shower text: “Morning sunshine. sure. Call me if you get a chance.” Lori and Chad both had multiple names for each other. Chad was called James and Raphael. Lori was called Lily and Elaina. Hart says Chad was not physically with Lori when he sent the shower text. She was in Arizona, he was in Idaho. Hart says they often implied they had been with each other when it was not physically possible.

11:38 a.m. Hart said investigators repeatedly heard that Chad told multiple people his wife Tammy was going to die. These messages were sent three months before her death.

11:36 a.m. On July 14, Chad to Lori: “Good morning my most beautiful Lili. Thanks for joining me in the shower this morning. Wow. Getting ready to leave for my meetings. Does noon your time look like a time we could talk? I love you so immensely that the whole universe knows it. And very soon the people on this little blue globe will know it too.”

11:34 a.m. We now see a text from Chad to Lori on July 13 at 11:06 p.m. We saw this text earlier in the trial. Chad told Lori about BYU-Idaho’s graduation on the 23rd. “I feel she will be gone by then but I will still have that hoopla to deal with because a lot of family is coming” and will stay for July 24th.

11:33 a.m. Aly Bloomer was a friend of Brandon Boudreaux. Hart says Brandon had brought Aly and her husband to the house to talk with Melani. They were then identified as dark.

11:30 a.m. The next slide shows messages between Chad, Lori and Melani on the night of July 13, 2019. Chad to Lori: “I will check with All Bloomer and husband.” Lori to Chad: “Good idea.” Chad to Lori: “Aly Bloomer is 4.1 dark. Her cop husband is 3 dark. I suppose Brandon doesn’t know yet about the discovered Charles texts?” Lori to Melani: “Aly Bloomer’s husband 3 (dark emoji).”

11:28 a.m. The next slide shows a chat between Lori Vallow, Cole Vallow and Zach Vallow – Charles Vallow’s sons. This is when she told them their dad was dead. Rather than trying to type them all, you can read them as they appeared here.

11:26 a.m. Thomas has objected several times during this portion of testimony about Nephi. Says testimony is vague and outside the scope. Boyce has overruled the objections.

11:24 a.m. Smith asks about the historical significance of Nephi. Hart says the primary example is when Nephi was commanded to slay Laban. “Laban was in possession of records that Nephi and his family wanted to possess before they left Jerusalem. Nephi was commanded by God to slay Laban to obtain these records,” Hart says.

11:23 a.m. Smith asks about the statement about Nephi and asks what Nephi is. Hart responds that it’s the name of an ancient prophet whose life is documented in The Book of Mormon. “That book of scripture spans from 600 BC to 400 AD, and Nephi is one of the first prophets documented in that particular book.”

11:20 a.m. Hart says there were messages that indicated Lori wanted Charles Vallow out of her life as her husband. The next slide shows a text from Lori to Alex on July 9. Lori says: “Getting sleepy. So I’m going to need you to stay close to me for the next couple days. Mel too. She can’t go to Utah. They are planking (sic) some kind of intervention but want Mel out of the way so I’m left alone. I need to come get the stuff at your house tomorrow and secure it. Lots to do. Thank you for standing by me. It’s all coming to a head this week. I will be like Nephi I am told. And so will you” Lori texts Melani the next day: “Al is here. Charles says he will come over in the morning.”

11:17 a.m. Smith asks Hart what “it’s coming to a head” means to him.” He responds, “It’s a reference to the marriage between Lori Vallow and Charles Vallow …” Thomas objects and asks to have it stricken from the record. Boyce grants the objection. Hart now says he learned from Lori’s own words that her marriage had deteriorated.

11:14 a.m. Next we see a slide of Melani Boudreaux to Lori on the evening of July 9, 2019. Lori: “They have an elaborate plan I’ll call you soon.” Melani: “I could take all the babies with and drive? And take our stuff.” Lori: “U can’t go at all. We both need to stay here to defend ourselves.” Lori: “It’s coming to a head! This week will change everything.” Charles Vallow was killed July 11.

11:11 a.m. Smith asks Hart what “still working on it” means. Hart says he saw very frequent usage of that particular term. “We are working on things.” That is a direct reference to the belief they were in a battle against zombies and dark entities so when they talked about working on something, they were referencing their efforts, Hart says.

11:09 a.m. On March 26, 2019, we now see text messages between Alex and Lori. Alex: “Correct. Charles body is alive.” Alex: “What did u learn?” Lori: “A lot! Still working on it. Will call u later.”

11:08 a.m. Hart says Alex and Melani Boudreaux (Lori’s niece, now Pawlowski) would solicit Lori to find out religious information from Chad. Lori’s position was “right next to Chad Daybell. The two of them were in elevated positions, and others would seek their counsel and advice as if related to alleged revelations and visions and so forth.”

11:06 a.m. We now see text messages between Lori and Alex from March 20, 2019. Lori tells Alex she is finding out “some great stuff” about him, and she was going to the temple to do some sealings (a type of Latter-day Saint ordinance done in temples). Alex responds, “Ok. hurry up please.” Lori responds, “Going to check everything with my source tonight to make sure I get this all right but it’s really good. We can talk about it tomorrow hopefully.” Hart says Chad acted as a religious leader, and this is an instance where Lori communicated to her brother regarding things she’s learning about him from “her source” Chad, Hart believes.

11:05 a.m. Hart says Chad told Audrey he was going to marry Lori, and he wanted Audrey to act as the liaison between him and Lori until Tammy died.

11:02 a.m. The next slide shows a text string between Lori and Audrey Barattiero on Jan. 23, 2019. Lori: “Hi Audrey, this is Lori. I would love to talk with you sometime. Text me or call me. I’m excited to be able to talk with you about what we both know.” Response: “Hi Lori. Guess you talked to Chad. Haha. Did he tell you I have a crazy work schedule? I’ll have to play it by ear but I would know until about 9:30 p.m. The same for tomorrow.” Lori responds: “He did. That’s ok. No pressure. I just think it’s fun to talk to someone who knows what’s really going on :)” Audrey responds: “So what times usually work for you? I usually talk to him on my lunch breaks on Mondays or Tuesday, Sunday afternoons I can talk.”

11:02 a.m. Chad and Lori met at a Preparing a People seminar on Oct. 26, 2018. The conference ended on Oct. 28. This was the first known electronic contact between the two, Hart says.

11 a.m. The first slide is a line in the contact section of lori4style. It was saved under the name of Bishop Shumway on Oct. 28, 2018. The phone number was the known cell number for Chad Daybell.

10:59 a.m. Smith asks to admit the summary PowerPoint presentation. Thomas objects. Boyce overrules the objection.

10:56 a.m. Hart describes how he pulled information from Cellebrite into the summary PowerPoint. He cut and pasted each message from the program into the presentation so the words/letters were not altered.

10:53 a.m. “There were a number of communications between Alex Cox and Lori Vallow deemed to be pertinent to the investigation, and it was clear there was a relationship between Alex Cox and Chad Daybell as well,” Hart says. “Those relationships were important because those individuals were ultimately charged with the alleged crimes.”

10:52 a.m. Hart says there was communication and direct references to a large life insurance policy possessed by Charles Vallow as well as Social Security payments attributed to JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

10:51 a.m. Hart also found financial information and information regarding the relationship between Alex Cox and Lori and Chad.

10:50 a.m. Hart says Chad and Lori used the word “obstacles” to describe JJ, Tylee, Charles and Tammy.

10:48 a.m. Hart discovered leads in the messages, such as Lori and Chad saying they wanted to get married and lead a life together. “There were several communications regarding JJ and Tylee that were relevant to their deaths. They discussed their deaths. After the affair began, there began to be communication regarding the deaths of Charles Vallow, Tammy Daybell, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.”

10:47 a.m. Hart’s initial review of the iCloud account began before the children were found. He believes it has taken him well over 200 hours to go through all the records.

10:46 a.m. Lori is chatting with her attorneys while the FBI agent speaks about these messages. She’s also taking notes on her yellow pad.

10:45 a.m. Hart says every single text Lori sent was not relevant to the investigation. He says there were thousands of “normal, everyday” type of texts that had no bearing on the case. If a message was relevant, he would flag it.

10:43 a.m. The program was able to retrieve the contents of the message, whom it was sent to, who sent it, the date and time.

10:41 a.m. Hart applied a date filter starting Oct. 26, 2018, through November 2019 on lori4style. There were approximately 4,500 text messages. Hart read every text. Then went to each category (voicemail, photos, etc.) and did the same thing.

10:40 a.m. Smith asks Hart how many records of data were on the iCloud. He says he doesn’t have an exact number, but his best estimate is 130,000 to 150,000 records.

10:39 a.m. Hart says he followed a “very methodical” process in searching the iCloud accounts. “My process was to open up a compartment and examine the data in there. If there was something that was pertinent or relevant, I would make a document of that.”

10:38 a.m. Lollytime has far fewer files than lori4style. Lollytime was created in April 2019. Lori4style was first used in December 2000.

10:37 a.m. We see an image on the screen that shows the Cellebrite dashboard with menu items showing different categories of what was found in the iCloud. Over 13,000 text messages along with images, voicemails, etc.

10:35 a.m. Smith asks Hart about viewing Lori’s iCloud accounts through Cellebrite. Cellebrite is a digital intelligence company that provides tools for federal, state, and local law enforcement to collect, review, analyze and manage digital data, according to their website.

10:32 a.m. Boyce is back on the bench. Jurors are being brought in.

10:02 a.m. Time for a morning break. We will be back by 10:30 a.m.

10 a.m. Hart says with each section of the iCloud, you can apply filters. You can use a “capture time” filter. He did this often in the lori4style account. The earliest records on this account go back to December 2000. For this case, Hart started with data from Oct. 26, 2018 – the day Chad met Lori at a Preparing a People conference in St. George.

9:57 a.m. Hart says you can delete something from your phone to increase the storage on your phone but if your phone is backed up in the cloud, it still exists in the cloud. “Carved strings” are data have been deleted from the iCloud but not overwritten. “It’s bits and pieces of messages and communication. They don’t make a whole lot of sense. The carved strings weren’t really of any value to us in the investigation.”

9:55 a.m. We are back to the iCloud accounts. Hart says he has several years of experience in analyzing voluminous amounts of records. He has personally worked with Apple iCloud accounts and records. “Whatever is on your smartphone is in the iCloud. It’s more than a mirror – it’s a storage device of the activity of your phone. It contains your contacts, your messages, your cookies, your strings (data that has been deleted but not overwritten), it contains images, videos, the list goes on and on.”

9:54 a.m. Hart helped exhume JJ’s grave and body. He also helped recover Tylee’s remains.

9:52 a.m. We see an image of the rocks that were placed on top of the boards on JJ’s body.

9:51 a.m. Hart attempted to put the probe in the ground, but it did not go in. “Ultimately we understood why the probe didn’t go in. Once we lifted the sod away, we saw a board and rocks were placed on top of JJ’s body.” The probe was hitting the rocks and board.

9:48 a.m. A new photo shows a closer view of the yellow spot where the vegetation isn’t growing as well. JJ’s remains were found in this area. Hart felt the ground with his hands and had a probe (a rod with a point) with him. “If hard, undisturbed ground exists, it doesn’t go in. If you’ve dug the earth up, it goes in considerably easier.”

9:46 a.m. We see an image that shows, from a distance, a spot on the property that is yellow. The rest of the area around the spot is green. The spot stuck out to Hart.

9:44 a.m. Hart noticed a mound of dirt and changes to vegetation in the area. He felt the ground with his hand, and it was different. Smith asks to show photos of the site where JJ was found.

9:41 a.m. On June 9, 2020, the FBI Evidence Response Team was present to oversee the search of Chad’s property. Due to the size of the property, other FBI agents were asked to help. The first thing law enforcement did was walk the property to look for evidence. As they did so, they located JJ’s grave. “When you’re looking for a clandestine grave, there are certain tell-tell signs that you want to find. If a grave has been dug, the vegetation around where the digging took place is slightly different than the vegetation around the ground. Typically, you’ll see a mound of dirt where the grave has been dug, or you’ll see a depression in the earth where the person has been buried.”

9:40 a.m. “In this instance we have a large volume of direct communication between Lori Vallow and others in this case. We have a number of emails and notes and recordings that were discovered during the review and analysis of the iCloud account,” he says.

9:38 a.m. Hart interviewed witnesses and was present when the search warrant was served at Chad’s house on June 9. His biggest role was to examine Lori’s two iCloud accounts. It was important to look at the accounts “because of the value of information that’s contained in the cloud storage.”

9:37 a.m. Hart’s primary role was to be the investigator on the case. He lives in Boise, but he traveled multiple times to Rexburg every month. “Due to the complexity of the case and the fact two children were missing, I felt it was important to play an active role given my background. Moreso than my supervisory role, I played an investigator role in the case.”

9:34 a.m. Hart was the supervisor over the investigation for the FBI. He was not in charge of the case (the local agencies were), but he was in charge of the FBI role.

9:31 a.m. The FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit was also consulted on the case. Cell phone records, business records, tips, leads, everything was followed up on.

9:29 a.m. Hart got involved in the Daybell case on Nov. 27, 2019, when Rexburg Police contacted him. The CARD team was contacted but not called in. “We knew very quickly that Lori Vallow lied when the welfare check was conducted and due to the span of time that had taken place (since JJ and Tylee disappeared), it didn’t fall under the parameters of a CARD deployment for those things done in the aftermath of a child going missing.”

9:27 a.m. Hart says there is a special unit in the FBI called CARD – the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team. “They come and help the investigators ensure all the appropriate steps are being taken. Collectively the unit has responded to over 160 child abductions in the United States in the past 20-plus years. They are the world’s foremost experts in those types of cases.”

9:25 a.m. Hart worked as the FBI Behavioral Analysis Coordinator in Idaho for approximately 13 years. He was responsible for getting additional training in behavior analysis when needed in different cases.

9:24 a.m. Rob Wood is assisting Smith with the technical aspects of the exhibit. He is preparing the presentation while Smith continues to question Hart.

9:22 a.m. Thomas asks the court to provide them with copies of the exhibits. “We don’t have time to go through 100,000 pages of documents right now but would like to go over them this weekend.” Smith says they were already provided in discovery back in August 2021. Thomas says his concern is the state will introduce something the defense may or may not have. He wants to know exactly what’s on the thumb drives. Boyce says he will allow copies of each thumb drive to be made and provided to the defense.

9:21 a.m. Boyce overrules the objection and says because these are the accounts of the defendant and her statements, they are not subject to the hearsay exclusion.

9:17 a.m. Hart’s initials are on the thumb drives. He prepared the thumb drives and copied them from the business records obtained from Apple. Thomas objects to having the exhibits admitted due to multiple cases of hearsay in the documents. Smith says it’s communication from the defendant and is relevant to the case.

9:15 a.m. Smith asks to admit two exhibits – one is the entirety of Lori’s lollytime iCloud account. The other is Lori’s lori4style iCloud account. Each exhibit is on its own thumb drive. The bailiff takes the thumb drives to the witness stand.

9:12 a.m. “If a child is going to be killed, they are typically killed within 24 hours of being abducted, so you have a very small window in which to respond and utilize all the tools and resources with our partners to locate the child,” Hart says.

9:11 a.m. “The FBI has taken the stance that when a child goes missing, our capabilities, coupled with local and state investigators, need to be brought to bear immediately so we can seek the best outcome in locating and recovering those children,” Hart says.

9:10 a.m. Hart explains that when you exhume a body, it has to be done very carefully. Over the years, Hart has been involved in 20 to 30 homicide investigations. He has helped investigate more than 50 crimes against children. Several of them have involved missing or abducted children.

9:07 a.m. Smith asks Hart about the training he received to be an FBI agent. He talks about his original training when he began in law enforcement and explains other special training. “As an Indian Country agent, you attend a special crime scene seminar that encompasses a lot of different aspects of crime scene management and investigation. Part of that training was the identification and location of clandestine gravesites. This means someone has buried a body where they don’t want it to be found.”

9:05 a.m. Hart then spent seven years at the Nez Perce Reservation investigating violent crimes. He then transferred to the Boise FBI office and supervised the violent crime task force. Following seven years in this capacity, he was promoted to be the supervisory senior registered agent in 34 counties in southern Idaho.

9:03 a.m. Hart worked as an FBI special agent from Sept. 1995 to 2022. He explains he attended the FBI Academy. His first assignment was in Hawaii investigating drugs, conspiracy, homicides.

9:01 a.m. Jurors are in their seats. As a reminder, there are 10 men and eight women on this jury. Twelve jurors and six alternates. They do not know what position they will play (juror vs. alternate) until it’s time for deliberations.

8:58 a.m. Boyce says there has been no violation of the exclusionary rule, and Hart will testify. Jurors are being brought in.

8:56 a.m. Archibald asks if Hart has communicated with the FBI agent who has been sitting in the courtroom for most of the trial. Hart says no. Archibald asks if prosecutors have relayed any information to Hart about what witnesses have said. Hart says no and on a number of occasions, he’s been asked to leave the room. Hart says he has not spoken with local police about witnesses. Archibald is done questioning.

8:54 a.m. Archibald questioning Hart on behalf of the defense. He asks if, as part of Hart’s job, he reviewed the statements of FBI employees made in the trial. Hart says no. Archibald asks if he coordinated with anyone about what FBI witnesses would say. “Over the past three years, I have met with our FBI analysts, accountants and reviewed reports, but I have not discussed their testimonies in any way.”

8:53 a.m. Smith asks Hart if he has reviewed or read any witness testimony. He says no. She asks if Hart has been part of pre-trial preparation with prosecutors. He says yes but has had no involvement after witnesses testified. Hart says he has not spoken with other witnesses about their testimony and has not read or watched any news stories about the trial. “I have obeyed that order rigorously.”

8:51 a.m. The judge is back. He explains the court has an order in place that prohibits witnesses from reviewing testimony from other witnesses during the trial. Rachel Smith will question Hart. He is a retired FBI agent and now serves at the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy.

8:50 a.m. Boyce needs to have a brief consultation with his staff and leaves the courtroom.

8:48 a.m. Defense objects to pages 2, 5, 7, 15, 43, 46, 72, 73, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84 of the exhibit and says hearsay is contained on each of those pages. Hart is being brought into the courtroom.

8:46 a.m. Jurors will remain outside of the courtroom while defense argues that Hart violated the exclusionary rule. Hart is being brought into the courtroom to answer how much involvement he has had with witnesses during the trial. Lori’s attorneys do not think he should be able to testify. Hart is one of the prosecutors’ main witnesses.

8:44 a.m. Boyce says he has not made a determination on whether the information on the pages is hearsay. “To the extent there is any hearsay in there, it may not be permissible, but the defense would be allowed to cross-examine on those issues.” Boyce will allow the exhibit to go forward.

8:41 a.m. Thomas asks if he can be heard on a motion to reconsider. He says 14 pages contain hearsay from other people who have not testified – Melani Pawlowski and others. He is asking the pages be removed. Smith says they are not hearsay but rather conversations from the defendant.

8:39 a.m. Boyce says after reviewing the exhibit, it can be admitted assuming Hart lays an adequate foundation before showing it to the jury.

8:37 a.m. Smith says the entirety of the lollytime and lori4stlye iCloud accounts have been placed on thumb drives “to ease any concerns the defense may have.” She says the defense received all of these documents in August 2021.

8:36 a.m. John Thomas arguing against the exhibit. Says the defense received the presentation last night around 8 p.m. He lists several pages that he says contain “numerous impermissible hearsay statements from witnesses who have testified already or witnesses who have not been called.” Thomas says this is “far outside what Mr. Hart can testify to.”

8:35 a.m. Smith: “These texts are the defendant’s own words, and her conversations with her co-conspirators. The probative value of this significant evidence is unparalleled, and Agent Hart has spent hundreds of hours reviewing the iCloud. To ease his testimony and make it easier for the jury, he prepared this summary. Using this summary will aide the jury in questions and making an ultimate decision on this case.”

8:33 a.m. This is the exhibit former FBI Agent Doug Hart will use during his testimony. Rachel Smith says with the amended exhibit, headers have been removed, along with any slides that could border on argument. The timeline has also been removed. “It is simply representative text in summary from the iCloud. It was cut and pasted directly from what’s already been admitted. The lori4style and lollytime documents have already come in. These items are already in evidence.”

8:31 a.m. Boyce is on the bench. Before jurors are brought in, Boyce says an updated amended exhibit has been prepared by the prosecution for their witness. He will hear argument on it.

8:27 a.m. Attorneys are back at their tables. Waiting on Judge Boyce to enter the courtroom.

8:23 a.m. Lori just walked in with a smile, wearing a light blue blouse and navy dress pants. The bailiff is reviewing the courtroom conduct rules – keep your phones off, no eating, etc. If you’d like to read the courtroom conduct order, here it is.

8:19 a.m. The public rows of the courtroom are full this morning. Many people are here for the first time – like the woman next to me from Kentucky. Others have been coming every day since the trial started. The attorneys have all left the courtroom and are likely meeting with Judge Boyce before proceedings begin.

8:15 a.m. It’s day 23 of Lori Vallow Daybell’s murder trial. The prosecution had planned to have former FBI Special Agent Doug Hart on the stand today with a 160-page summary presentation of the case, but defense attorneys objected to the exhibit. Boyce agreed with the defense but said if the presentation was reworked, he might allow it in. You can read more about what happened here. Hart could take the stand or another witness could be called. Court will end at noon today.