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Chad Daybell visibly shakes as graphic photos of Lori Vallow’s children’s remains are shown at trial: Updates

Chad Daybell was visibly shaking as graphic photos of Lori Vallow’s children’s remains were shown at his triple murder trial.

On the second day of testimony Thursday, Rexburg police detective Rey Hermosillo took the court through their horrific process of digging up the charred remains of Tylee, 16, and the bound body of JJ, seven, who were found buried on Daybell’s property in 2020.

Spectators at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho noticed the “doomsday cult” author start to tremble as the gruesome pictures were shown to the jury, according to East Idaho News.

During opening statements this week, prosecutors said Daybell’s “desire for sex, power, and money led to the murders” of his former wife Tammy Daybell and Vallow’s children, and that he sought to eliminate “obstacles” in pursuit of a life with Vallow.

Daybell’s defence attorney John Prior, however, said his client was manipulated by Vallow.

Last year, Vallow was convicted in the three murders and sentenced to life in prison. Jurors heard how she, Daybell and her late brother Alex Cox were fuelled, in part, by their bizarre cult beliefs.

If convicted, Daybell faces either the death penalty or life in prison.

Key points

  • Who is Chad Daybell?

  • What are the charges against Chad Daybell

  • What is the bizarre ‘doomsday’ cult at centre of murders

  • Uncle of Lori Vallow believes ‘cult mom’ would love to testify for husband Chad Daybell

Reminder: No court today in Chad Daybell’s trial

17:35 , Andrea Cavallier

There will be no court today in Chad Daybell’s triple murder trial.

Detective Hermosillo finished his testimony for the state on Thursday.

The next witness is not yet available, so court will be in recess until Monday.

VIDEO: Prosecutor says Chad Daybell’s 'desire for sex, power, and money’ led to triple murder

13:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Chad Daybell visibly shakes while graphic photos of children’s remains are shown

11:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Daybell was shaking at the defence table as graphic photos of Lori Vallow’s children’s remains were shown at his death penalty trial on Thursday.

Rexburg police detective Rey Hermosillo took the court through the horrific process of digging up the remains of Tylee, 16, and JJ, seven, who were found buried on Daybell’s property.

Spectators at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho noticed the “doomsday cult” author start to tremble as the gruesome pictures were shown to the jury.

During opening statements this week, prosecutors said Daybell’s “desire for sex, power, and money led to the murders” of his former wife Tammy Daybell and the children of his new wife Lori Vallow, and that he sought to eliminate “obstacles” in pursuit of a life with Vallow.

Daybell’s defence attorney John Prior, however, said his client was manipulated by Vallow.

What are the charges against Chad Daybell?

09:00 , Andrea Cavallier

  • Murder of Tammy Daybell

  • Murder of Joshua “JJ” Vallow

  • Murder of Tylee Ryan

  • Conspiracy to commit murder of Tammy Daybell

  • Conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft in the death of Joshua “JJ” Vallow

  • Conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft in the death of Tylee Ryan

ICYMI: Lawyers make opening remarks in Chad Daybell trial

05:00 , Andrea Cavallier

RECAP: Graphic evidence about children’s remains first heard at Lori Vallow’s murder trial

03:00 , Andrea Cavallier

“Cult mom” Lori Vallow was convicted of murdering her two youngest children in a case that shocked the nation with its bizarre doomsday cult ties and the tragic deaths of almost everyone close to the mother-of-three and her new husband Chad Daybell.

Shocked jurors were shown images of JJ’s body found in the shallow grave – still dressed in the red pyjamas.

Now Daybell is on trial and a different jury is hearing all the jarring evidence against the couple.

Read more:

Lori Vallow case summary: Key revelations from ‘cult mom’s’ murder trial

Who will defend Chad Daybell? His children are expected to testify

Friday 12 April 2024 00:00 , Andrea Cavallier

He’s accused of killing their mother but Chad Daybell’s adult children will take the stand in their father’s defence at his triple murder trial.

Daybell told police his wife Tammy Daybell had died suddenly in her sleep after battling an illness, but an autopsy later revealed she died of asphyxiation and he was charged with her murder.

Defence attorney John Prior said during opening statements on Wednesday morning in Boise, Idaho the children will testify about their mother’s ongoing health issues, the home remedies she would try, and her refusal to see a doctor.

Read more:

Chad Daybell’s children will take the stand in their father’s defence

Will Lori Vallow testify? Here’s what her uncle says

Thursday 11 April 2024 23:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Court dismissed until Monday

Thursday 11 April 2024 21:44 , Andrea Cavallier

Detective Hermosillo is dismissed for now and court has ended for the day.

The next witness is not yet available, so there will be no court on Friday.

Court will resume on Monday with day three of testimony in Chad Daybell’s trial.

Defence focuses on Alex Cox during cross of detective

Thursday 11 April 2024 20:40 , Andrea Cavallier

Prior asks Detective Hermosillo about the days following Tammy Daybell’s death.

“Three days after Tammy Daybell dies, Alex Cox is still sharpening knives,” he says, and Hermosillo says this is correct.

Cox is Lori Vallow’s late brother. He died of natural causes.

Prior then makes a point of saying the knives and guns were found at the home of Alex Cox, not with Vallow or Daybell.

Defence to continue cross on detective when court resumes

Thursday 11 April 2024 20:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Court is on a lunch break, but will resume around 3.10pmET.

Just before court was dismissed for lunch, Chad Daybell’s defence attorney John Prior was cross examining Rexburg police detective Rey Hermosillo.

Mr Prior attempted to discredit the investigation while placing the blame on others, including Lori Vallow and Alex Cox.

Spectators say Daybell was ‘shaking’ as graphic photos were shown

Thursday 11 April 2024 17:35 , Andrea Cavallier

During a court break, several spectators told local reporters that they noticed Chad Daybell shaking while graphic photos were being shown in court.

The jurors are being shown graphic evidence from when JJ and Tylee’s remains were found buried in Daybell’s backyard.

One woman told East Idaho News’ Nate Eaton that it looked like he had never seen the images before.

Court will resume shortly.

Who was Tylee Ryan?

Thursday 11 April 2024 17:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Tylee Ryan, 16, was the daughter of Lori Vallow and her third husband, Joseph Ryan.

She was described by family members as “loving, and constantly laughing,” according to KPVI.

Tylee also loved spending time with her friends and watching “The Office,” but “more than anything” she loved hanging out with little brother JJ and older brother Colby Ryan, the outlet reported.

This photo of Tylee Ryan and her brother Joshua “JJ” Vallow with their uncle Alex Cox was taken days before they were killed (Handout)
This photo of Tylee Ryan and her brother Joshua “JJ” Vallow with their uncle Alex Cox was taken days before they were killed (Handout)

“She’s so witty … even for adults, like, she would have me laughing,” Echo Itaaehau, a family friend, told KTVK. “She could be sassy, but just super sweet and tender-hearted.”

Tylee spent most of her life in Arizona, but a week before going missing, she had moved from Arizona with her family to Rexburg, Idaho.

She was last seen on 8 September 2019, on a trip to Yellowstone National Park with JJ, her mother and Cox. A photo of the children and Cox is now widely circulated.

Who was Joshua ‘JJ' Vallow?

Thursday 11 April 2024 17:13 , Andrea Cavallier

Joshua “JJ” Vallow was last seen on 23 September 2019. In the last known picture of him, he is wearing red pyjamas – the same ones he was wearing when his remains were found nine months later. He was seven years old.

Lori Vallow and her fourth husband Charles adopted JJ in 2014. JJ is also the biological grandson of Charles Vallow’s sister Kay Woodcock.

Ms Woodcock, who was the first witness in Vallow’s tria last year, told jurors that JJ was born with some disabilities and was diagnosed with autism.

After Charles Vallow died, Ms Woodcock said she feared Vallow no longer wanted the boy.

Larry and Kay Woodcock pushed the police to do a welfare check on JJ Vallow (Post Register no sales no mags)
Larry and Kay Woodcock pushed the police to do a welfare check on JJ Vallow (Post Register no sales no mags)

JJ was attending Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg, Idaho before Vallow informed them he would not be returning and that he would be homeschooled.

In November, Ms Woodcock requested a welfare check on the boy, which sparked a nationwide search.

During Vallow’s trial, Ms Woodcock and her husband Larry sobbed as graphic evidence was shown to the court.

The grandparents were regulars at the trial and as it neared the end, Mr Woodcock could be found playing “The Party’s Over” while lined up outside the court before blaring “We Will Rock You” inside.

Both songs held a special personal meaning to him and his grandson JJ and they would often sing them together, he said.

“Today is the day,” he told journalists outside the court, dressed in a “World’s Greatest Papa” t-shirt. “I’m not the world’s greatest papa… but I hope I was the world’s greatest papa to JJ and Tylee.”

Family of JJ Vallow, Tammy Daybell not in court for graphic evidence

Thursday 11 April 2024 16:46 , Andrea Cavallier

Kay Woodcock, the grandmother of slain JJ Vallow, and Vicki Hoban, the aunt of Tammy Daybell, were not at the Ada County Courthouse on Thursday, according to local reporters.

The family members have been in court all week and for much of Lori Vallow’s trial last year, but their absence at today’s proceedings indicated that it was going to be a tough day.

Detective Hermosillo is currently recounting finding the children’s remains and graphic photos are being shown to the jurors, but not in court.

Detective recounts finding children’s remains in Daybell’s backyard

Thursday 11 April 2024 16:40 , Andrea Cavallier

A photo is shown in court of  a white piece of plastic with a little slit in the plastic that shows some brown hair.

Another photo shows the body of JJ wrapped in black plastic and duct tape, Detective Hermosillo tells the court.

"This is body composition. The body had begun to break down," the detective.

Det Hermosillo assisted the coroner in taking JJ’s body to the morgue before returning to Daybell’s house where he said they “assisted in a second burial site.”

“We knew from talking to family members that the pet cemetery had a little black dog statue next to a post.”

As the Evidence Recovery Team sifted through the dirt, Det Hermosillo says they could only work for a few minutes because the smell was so bad.

As they dug deeper, they found bone fragments and “globs of burnt flesh starting to protrude through the dirt.”

A green object was found and started to take a “roundish shape” and “at that point we saw what appeared to be the shape of a green melted bucket that appeared to have the remains of what we assumed was Tylee charred and burned inside that bucket.”

Tylee’s remains were collected and put into a body bag.

“The smell was horrendous,” the detective said.

Graphic evidence being shown to jurors

Thursday 11 April 2024 16:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Jurors are now seeing graphic evidence in the case.

Judge Boyce told the court that the photos will not be shown to the public in the courtroom or on the livestream.

The jury, however, will see all the exhibits entered into evidence.

Day 2 of testimony in Chad Daybell’s trial

Thursday 11 April 2024 15:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Court will resume at 10.30 ET for the second day of testimony in Chad Daybell’s triple murder trial.

Detective Hermosillo will be back on the stand.

Watch live on Judge Steven Boyce’s YouTube channel:

ICYMI: State says Chad Daybell’s desire for ‘sex, money, power’ led to murders

Thursday 11 April 2024 15:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Trial continues today with first full day of testimony

Thursday 11 April 2024 14:00 , Andrea Cavallier

The first full day of testimony in Chad Daybell’s trial will be today as Detective Hermosillo is back on the stand.

When court ended on Tuesday, the detective was explaining how the excavation of Daybell’s property progressed, and how a small body wrapped in black plastic was uncovered.

A black, round object was retrieved from the site, that Det Hermosillo described as shaped like a human head. When an incision was made into the black plastic, it revealed brown human hair according to Det Hermosillo.

It was later revealed to be JJ.

Testimony continues today at 8.30amMT/10.30amET.

Where are Chad Daybell’s children?

Thursday 11 April 2024 13:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Chad Daybell’s adult children have mostly stayed out of the spotlight in the wake of their father’s arrest in the death of their mother Tammy Daybell and Lori Vallow’s two children.

But almost all of them will testify in his death penalty case in his defence.

Daybell’s attorney John Prior says they will detail their mother’s “health struggle” before her sudden death in 2019.

Daybell had told police his wife had died suddenly in her sleep after battling an illness, but an autopsy later revealed she died of asphyxiation.

“They’re going to talk about their mother’s use of various medical treatments she would use—oils she would put on her leg, medicine, and different herbs she would take, and that their mother was suffering from a number of maladies, and she would refuse to see a doctor,”Mr Prior said during opening statements on Wednesday.

Judge extends length and scope of gag order in Chad Daybell case

Thursday 11 April 2024 09:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Judge Steven Boyce has extended the gag order he issued in the Chad Daybell case.

It has been issued to remain in effect until the trial is concluded.

The gag order prohibits “any party to this case, including the prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, and any attorney representing a witness, victim, or victim’s family” from making writen or oral statements about the case until April 15 or after opening statements.

However, the prosecution – Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake and Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood asked the judge on Monday to extend the motion until the end of the trial.

Ddefence attorney John Prior agreed.

All the attorneys said a gag order would “benefit the administration of a fair trial” due to media coverage.

“Investigators, law enforcement personnel, and agents for the prosecuting attorney or defense attorney, and essential court staff directly involved in the trial in this case, are prohibited from making extra judicial statements (written or oral) concerning this case between 28 March 28, 2024 and the conclusion of the trial in this case,” Judge Boyce wrote.

RECAP: Defence says Daybell was manipulated by Lori Vallow

Thursday 11 April 2024 05:00 , Andrea Cavallier

In opening statements, Chad Daybell’s defence attorney John Prior said his client lived a normal, faith-focused life before he met Lori Vallow.

He described Vallow as a “beautiful, vivacious person” who drew Daybell into an extramarital relationship.

“What’s important are facts and evidence,” Mr Prior told the jury. “Don’t be distracted by speculation, don’t be distracted by guesses or suspicions or hunches. It all comes down to facts and evidence.”

Mr Prior also said he would present several experts in DNA, forensics and medicine who would testify that it’s impossible to determine what caused Tammy’s death and that none of Daybell’s DNA was found with the children’s bodies.

RECAP: State says Daybell crafted an ‘alternate reality’ so that he could fulfill ‘his desire for sex, money and power’

Thursday 11 April 2024 03:00 , Andrea Cavallier

During opening statements on Wednesday in Boise, Idaho, the prosecution said Daybell crafted an alternate reality so that he could fulfill “his desire for sex, money and power.”

That desire is what led to the murders of his wife Tammy Daybell, and Lori Vallow’s two children Tylee and JJ, prosecutor Rob Wood said.

Mr Wood said Daybell described both children as being possessed before they disappeared, and that he repeatedly predicted to friends that Tammy would soon die.

“When he had a chance at what he considered his rightful destiny, he made sure no person and no law would stand in his way,” he said.

The bodies of the children were eventually found buried in Daybell’s yard. Tylee Ryan’s remains had been dismembered and burned, and JJ’s remains were bound.

Prosecutors say the couple justified the three killings by creating a detailed and apocalyptic belief system, part of an elaborate scheme to eliminate any obstacles to their relationship and to obtain money from survivor benefits and life insurance.

Mr Wood told jurors that the evidence in the case will show that Daybell and Vallow manipulated her brother Alex Cox into doing their bidding by promising him spiritual rewards.

Chad Daybell’s children will take the stand in their father’s defence

Thursday 11 April 2024 01:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Chad Daybell told police his wife Tammy Daybell had died suddenly in her sleep after battling an illness, but an autopsy later revealed she died of asphyxiation and he was charged with her murder.

Now, five years later, his adult children will take the stand at his triple murder trial in his defence to testify about their mother’s ongoing health issues, the home remedies she would try, and her refusal to see a doctor, defence attorney John Prior said during opening statements on Wednesday morning in Boise, Idaho.

The prosecution says Daybell’s desire for ‘sex, money and power is what led to the disturbing murders of Tammy, and the two children of his second wife Lori Vallow, who was convicted last year.

Read more:

Chad Daybell’s children will take the stand in their father’s defence

Last known photo of JJ Vallow shown in court

Wednesday 10 April 2024 21:34 , Andrea Cavallier

A photo of JJ sitting on a couch in red pyjamas that was taken from Vallow’s iCloud account was shown in court.

The photo was taken in September 2019, the detective said.

It’s believed to be the last known photo of JJ before he was killed.

JJ Vallow on the day he was last seen alive (Ada County Court)
JJ Vallow on the day he was last seen alive (Ada County Court)

Jury sees photo of JJ, Tylee and Alex Cox

Wednesday 10 April 2024 21:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Detective Hermosillo is describing an Instagram photo of JJ, Tylee and Alex Cox that was shown to the court.

Based on metadata, the detective says the photo was taken in September 2019 at Yellowstone National Park. It’s believed the photo was taken days before the children were killed.

The detective said he never saw another photo of Tylee.

Hermosillo is also talking about the order that was issued for Lori Vallow to produce her missing children.

He says he flew to Hawaii in January 2020 to deliver the mandate. While there, two search warrants were executed. But there was no sign of children.

This photo of Tylee Ryan and her brother Joshua “JJ” Vallow with their uncle Alex Cox was taken days before they were killed (Handout)
This photo of Tylee Ryan and her brother Joshua “JJ” Vallow with their uncle Alex Cox was taken days before they were killed (Handout)

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow never contacted Rexburg police about the missing children

Wednesday 10 April 2024 21:23 , Andrea Cavallier

Detective Hermosillo said police tried to contact Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell on their cell phones but they were turned off.

Hermosillo says neither one of them contacted Rexburg police about the missing children.

State lays out timeline for jury using detective's testimony

Wednesday 10 April 2024 21:15 , Andrea Cavallier

The prosecution is laying out a complex timeline for the jury using Detective Hermosillo’s testimony.

Chad Daybell’s defence attorney has challenged the witness multiple times.

Court is on lunch break for one hour

Wednesday 10 April 2024 19:00 , Andrea Cavallier

No evidence of JJ found in apartment units

Wednesday 10 April 2024 18:57 , Andrea Cavallier

Detective testifies that there was no evidence of JJ in either apartment 174 or 107.

In apartment 175, everything seemed to be in place, except the lack of clothing on the hangers.

“The thing that caught our attention was that there were no clothes – no clothes on the hangers.”

“It’s like somebody just grabbed the clothes and left,” he said.

Police found a child's Star Wars suitcase as well as an old prescription bottle for JJ.

They also found a storage unit rental agreement contract under the name of Lori Ryan.

JJ was nowhere to be found.

Daybell and Vallow’s brother exchanged looks when police asked about JJ’s whereabouts

Wednesday 10 April 2024 18:37 , Andrea Cavallier

Detective Hermosillo said he informed Alex Cox that it was unlikely that JJ was with his grandmother because she’s the one who called for the welfare check.

There was no response initially, he said.

Cox looked over at the defendant Daybell before responding, he said.

“At that point, I asked Alex where I could find Lori Vallow,” he added.

Cox gave police the address of an apartment in the same complex.

There was no answer.

The detective asked Cox for Vallow’s number, but he stated that he didn’t have the number.

Knowing Cox was close to his sister, he told the court: “when he did not not have his sister’s cell phone number, I assumed he was lying to me.”

Rexburg detective testifies about welfare check on JJ Vallow

Wednesday 10 April 2024 18:32 , Andrea Cavallier

Detective Ray Hermosillo told the court he was contacted about conducting a welfare check on JJ Vallow.

He  says they received a few photos of JJ from Gilbert police and JJ’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock.

The photos were found on Lori Vallow’s iCloud account.

When he arrived at the house, he was greeted by Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox.

Hermosillo said he appeared shocked, frightened when he asked if JJ was home.

Cox and Daybell exchanged looks.

Cox finally stated that JJ was with his grandmother in Louisiana.

VIDEO: Prosecutor says Chad Daybell’s 'desire for sex, power, and money’ led to triple murder

Wednesday 10 April 2024 18:12 , Andrea Cavallier

State’s first witness is Detective Ray Hermosillo

Wednesday 10 April 2024 18:02 , Andrea Cavallier

Detective Ray Hermosillo with the Rexburg Police Department is the first witness for the state.

He testified during Lori Vallow’s trial as well.

Defence concludes opening statements

Wednesday 10 April 2024 18:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Prior has concluded his opening statement.

Testimony is now starting with the state’s first witness.

Defence says jury will see no DNA evidence from Daybell on children

Wednesday 10 April 2024 17:59 , Andrea Cavallier

Prior says the jury will hear from four experts including Dr. Greg Hampikian, who is a DNA expert.

Mr Hampikian got Amanda Knox exonerated in Italy because of DNA evidence, Prior says.

“He is the guy. He’s going to talk a little bit about the DNA evidence that was found on the scene.”

Prior says Hampikian will talk about “several” hairs found on the plastic wrapped around JJ Vallow’s body.

“He’s also going to say there was no DNA evidence, no hair sample of Chad Daybell on Tylee Ryan or on JJ Vallow,” Prior tells the jury.

Defece says jury will see Daybell had nothing to do with Charles Vallow’s murder or shooting of Brandon Boudreaux

Wednesday 10 April 2024 17:55 , Andrea Cavallier

Prior tells the jury they will see that Daybell had nothing to do with the execution of Charles Vallow or the shooting of Brandon Boudreaux.

Lori Vallow is accused of conspiring to kill her former husband Charles, who was shot and killed in July 2019 by Cox. In the months leading up to his death, Charles told local police he was concerned that Vallow may hurt him or their children.

Vallow and Cox are accused of trying to kill her niece’s ex-husband, Mr Boudreaux, outside his home in Gilbert, Arizona, in October 2019. He survived the drive-by shooting.

A grand jury indicted Lori on the conspiracy charges for Charles’ death in 2021. However, she had to face charges in the deaths of her kids and Tammy Daybell in Idaho before she could face a judge in Arizona.

Chad Daybell’s children will testify at father’s trial

Wednesday 10 April 2024 17:52 , Andrea Cavallier

Prior confirmed in his opening statement to the jury that Daybell’s children will testify in defence of their father at the trial.

He said that at least three or four of the five children will take the stand.

“They’re going to talk about their mother’s health struggle,” he said. “They’re going to talk about their mother’s use of various medical treatments she would use - oils she would put on her leg, medicine and different herbs she would take, and that their mother was suffering from a number of maladies and she would refuse to see a doctor.”

Vallow’s brother Alex Cox would ‘do anything to protect her'

Wednesday 10 April 2024 17:50 , Andrea Cavallier

The defence told the jury that Alex Cox was Lori Vallow’s protector and that he would do anything for her.

Cox approached her third husband Joseph Ryan in 2007 and shot him with a Taser – years before Vallow and Daybell knew each other.

“It set the pattern for what we are dealing with with Alex Cox,” he said. “Whenever there was a problem with Lori Vallow, Alex Cox ran to the rescue.”

Prior tells the jury that Daybell and Vallow’s relationship turned inappropriate while their spouses were still alive. He then says Alex Cox shot and killed her fourth husband Charles Vallow.

Defence says Lori Vallow pursued Chad Daybell

Wednesday 10 April 2024 17:46 , Andrea Cavallier

John Prior told the jury how his client met Lori Vallow at a conference and her growing interest in him.

“She pursued him,” he said, adding that she would help him sell books.

He talked about how Daybell was married to only Tammy at the time.

“But Lori Vallow was a different story,” he said, pointing out her many marriages.

“Lori Vallow was someone who, right out of high school, married her first husband. That marriage was very short-lived – very short-lived.”

Her third marriage to Joseph Ryan was tumultuous, he said.

Chad Daybell’s mission

Wednesday 10 April 2024 17:40 , Andrea Cavallier

Prior talks about Daybell’s mission to talk to people about his religious beliefs.

When he returned home after six months, he and Tammy got married and had five children.

He talked about his client’s beliefs and his faith. And about the books Daybell wrote based on his faith.

Some of the topics he covered in his books were dark, like death – but stories and theories he wrote were fiction, Prior said.

Defence begins opening statements

Wednesday 10 April 2024 17:36 , Andrea Cavallier

Chad Daybell’s attorney John Prior begins his opening by introducing himself.

“What’s important are facts and evidence,” he begins.

He tells the jury not to be distracted by speculation.