Lori Vallow Daybell emptied daughter's bank account right after girl was last seen alive, officer says - East Idaho News
Daybell Case

Lori Vallow Daybell emptied daughter’s bank account right after girl was last seen alive, officer says

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BOISE (KSL.com) — A Rexburg police detective testified Wednesday about clues investigators found in financial documents while they were searching for two missing children, whose bodies were later found in Chad Daybell’s backyard.

Detective Chuck Kunsaitis said Lori Vallow Daybell emptied her daughter’s bank account shortly after the daughter was last seen alive and eight months before her body was discovered.

Chad Daybell is on trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of Lori Daybell’s children — 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — and the death of his former wife, Tammy Daybell, in late 2019. He is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of each of the victims, grand theft and two counts of insurance fraud.

Kunsaitis described documents that indicated Tylee and JJ were not around in late 2019 (their bodies were discovered in June 2020), including documents showing Lori Daybell traveling without the children and their prescriptions not being filled as normal. He spoke about plane tickets, showing a travel timeline, and searching for filled prescriptions across multiple states.

Kunsaitis said there is a lot to be gathered by looking into financial accounts in a missing persons case, and went on to show the last proof of life for both Tylee and JJ and how they related to financial accounts.

He described mail found in a post office box in Sugar City, which is outside Rexburg, with mail for Lori Daybell, her brother Alex Cox, and her previous husband Charles Vallow, whom she is charged with conspiring to murder.

Kunsaitis said Tylee had been spending money daily in August of 2019, and her debit card was used for the last time in person at a McDonald’s in St. George on Sept. 1, 2019, while the family was moving to Idaho.

His voice was emotional and broke as he testified about the final financial transactions for each of the children and of June 9, 2020, when the children’s bodies were found.

Kunsaitis said Lori Daybell contacted the Social Security Administration to direct it to deposit checks into her account instead of Tylee’s account on Aug. 16, 2019, about a month before Tylee’s death. He talked about the joint account with Tylee and her mother where those Social Security payments were deposited and said the activity on that account looked much different than the activity on Tylee’s previous account.

He said Lori Daybell’s identifying number was used to access and empty Tylee’s personal bank account on Sept. 20, 2019, shortly after the last proof of Tylee’s life.

Michael Douglass, a forensic accountant with the FBI, testified Wednesday that he looked at almost 80 different bank accounts and credit cards while investigating the case, and also testified to many of the financial aspects.

“Tylee was very responsible with her money,” he said; she never had a negative balance and made payments on time for her Jeep. He said she received money from working for her uncle at the beginning of 2019, in addition to her Social Security payments.

Kunsaitis said Cox’s accounts showed he had no income after August 2019, when he moved to Idaho. He said Cox took out a $21,000 loan before leaving his job and began to purchase firearms and related materials.

Defense attorney John Prior questioned Kunsaitis about why firearms were important, and specifically asked if Cox was allowed to purchase firearms, which Kunsaitis said he could. Prior asked such questions to apparently try to bring in Cox’s 2007 felony conviction for assaulting Lori Daybell’s husband at the time. The judge ruled that Prior could not bring the incident up in this trial after he mentioned it in his opening statements.