Chad Daybell’s family claim the fact that his wife Lori Vallow’s two children were found buried in shallow graves on his own property in Idaho proves that he was ‘framed’ for their murders.
Daybell was arrested in June 2020 and pleaded not guilty to murder charges stemming from the deaths of Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, 7, Tylee Ryan, 17, and his first wife, Tammy. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty against Daybell if he is convicted of any of the three killings.
Lori Vallow Daybell in June 2021 was committed to a mental health facility to be treated for up to three months, in hopes of making her competent to stand trial on charges of murder and conspiracy.
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Chad Daybell’s five grown children broke their silence for the first time since their father’s arrest last June on murder charges
Daybell (left) and his new wife, Lori Vallow Daybell (right), face murder and conspiracy charges stemming from the killings of the woman’s two children
In this aerial photo, investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell’s residence outside Rexburg, Idaho, on June 9, 2020
Daybell’s five children, Garth Daybell, Emma Murray, Seth Daybell, Leah Murphy and Mark Daybell, spoke with CBS’ 48 Hours for the first time since his arrest last year. The exclusive interview with the accused murderer’s relatives will air at 10pm ET on Wednesday as part on an episode titled The Secrets of Chad Daybell’s Backyard.
In a promotional clip released by the network, Daybell’s grown children defended their father and sought to build a case that he was set up by someone else for the killings.
‘Everything that’s happening – it eats at the soul a bit,’ Garth Daybell says in the preview. ‘I think about it every day.’
Standing near the spot where JJ and Tylee’s remains were unearthed by law enforcement officials last summer, Emma Murray said it would have made no sense for her father to hide the bodies outside his own home in Salem, Idaho, amid an intense, monthslong search for the missing children that put a spotlight on him.
‘I don’t know why they would be there, 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,’ she said.
The bodies of Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, 7 (left), and his half-sister, Tylee Ryan, 17 (right), were found in shallow graves on Daybell’s property
Daybell also faces a murder charge related to the death of his first wife, Tammy (right)
Location aside, Daybell’s children also pointed out that as a former gravedigger, he would not have made the mistake of burying the remains in shallow graves outside his home, especially given that his property is surrounded by acres of open space seldom visited by anyone.
‘He knew how to dig graves and that just doesn’t sound believable to me,’ Daybell’s son Seth Daybell said.
Emma Murray, Daybell’s daughter, argued that her father was ‘framed’ because he would not have hidden evidence on his own property
All five children argued that their father played no part in the deaths of JJ and Tylee.
‘My father needs someone to be a voice for him. To let people know what’s real – what we know,’ Emma Murray said.
Daybell is scheduled to appear in court for a closed-door hearing on Monday. His trial is set to begin on November 8.
In an indictment, Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell are accused of being a members of a doomsday cult revolving around bizarre religious beliefs to encourage or justify the killings.
The twisted case began in 2018, according to the indictment, the Daybells — both still married to other people — began espousing their apocalyptical system of religious belief. Lori’s then-husband, Charles Vallow, eventually decided to seek a divorce. He wrote in court documents that his wife believed she had become a god-like figure responsible for ushering in the end times.
The two were still married but estranged in the summer of 2019 when Lori Daybell’s brother Alex Cox shot Charles Vallow, in suburban Phoenix.
Daybell is set to go on trial in November. His wife Lori has been committed to a mental health facility for treatment
Cox asserted the shooting was in self-defense, and he was never charged. Cox later died of an apparent blood clot in his lung.
Shortly after Charles Vallow’s death, Lori Daybell — then still Lori Vallow — and her children moved to Idaho, where Chad Daybell lived. He ran a small publishing company, releasing doomsday-focused fiction books loosely based on the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He also recorded podcasts about preparing for the apocalypse, and friends said he claimed to be able to receive visions from ‘beyond the veil.’
At the time, Chad Daybell was married to Tammy Daybell, a fit 49-year-old school librarian who helped him run the publishing company. She died in October of 2019. Her obituary said she died in her sleep of natural causes.
Authorities grew suspicious when Chad Daybell remarried just two weeks later, and they had Tammy Daybell’s body exhumed in Utah in December. The results of that autopsy have not been released.
Police began searching for Tylee and JJ in November after relatives raised concerns.
Police say the Daybells lied to investigators about their whereabouts before quietly leaving Idaho. They were found in Hawaii months later, without the children. The children’s bodies were eventually found buried in a ‘pet cemetery’ on Chad Daybell’s eastern Idaho property.
Lori and Chad were each indicted by a grand jury in May on charges of conspiracy, murder and grand theft in connection with the deaths of JJ and Tylee.
Chad was also charged with one count of murder and insurance fraud in connection with the death of his first wife.
After a psychological assessment, the court found Lori wasn’t able to assist in her own defense or make informed decisions about her mental health treatment.
Timeline of JJ and Tylee’s disappearance
July 11, 2019: Lori Vallow’s husband, Charles Vallow, is killed by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona. Police initially rule that Alex acted in self defense but reopen the case months later after the children are reported missing.
August: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho, where her future husband Chad Daybell lives with his wife Tammy.
September 8: The last time Tylee is seen during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Lori, JJ and Alex. In the following weeks she tells people who ask where Tylee is that she’s studying at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus.
September 23: The last time JJ is seen at his school in Rexburg. Lori emailed the school the following day and claims she is moving the family to California for a new job.
October 2: Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Lori’s niece Melanie Pawlowski, is targeted in a drive-by shooting in Arizona. Police identify the vehicle carrying the shooter as a Jeep registered to Charles Vallow, Lori’s late husband.
October 19: Chad’s wife Tammy, 49, dies at their Idaho home. An obituary states that she passed away peacefully in her sleep. Chad declines an autopsy and her death is listed as natural causes.
October 25: A friend of Tylee receives a vague ‘miss you’ text from her phone but says that it didn’t sound like the teen.
November 5: Lori and Chad tie the knot on a beach in Kauai. Receipts indicate that Lori purchased her own wedding ring from Amazon nearly three weeks prior to Tammy’s death.
November 26: Out-of-state relatives ask Idaho police to perform a welfare check on JJ. Lori and Chad claim he is in Arizona with relatives and ask their friend, Melanie Gibb, to lie and say she took the boy there for Thanksgiving. Police soon learn that no one has seen JJ, or his older sister Tylee, since September.
November 27: Police execute a search warrant related to the children at Lori’s home and discover that she and Chad have fled Idaho.
December 11: Tammy’s body is exhumed from a Utah cemetery and her death is reclassified as suspicious.
December 12: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, is found unresponsive in a bathroom in Arizona and dies. Months later an autopsy determines that he died of natural causes while he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system.
December 21: Rexburg police issue the first press release about JJ and Tylee, revealing they believe their disappearance could be linked to Tammy’s death and asking the public for information.
December 24: Lori and Chad issue a statement through an attorney saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing ‘allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor’.
December 30: Police accuse Lori and Chad of lying to investigators and say they believe the couple know where the kids are or what happened to them.
January 3, 2020: Police search Chad’s home in Salem and remove 43 items, including tech devices and journals. They also comb over sections of the snow-covered yard with rakes and metal detectors.
January 26: Lori and Chad are seen for the first time in months as police serve them with two search warrants in Kauai. Lori is also served with a court order to produce the children to authorities in Idaho in five days. The couple are approached by the media while officers serve the documents and refuse to say anything about the children.
January 30: Lori misses the court deadline to produce the children to Idaho authorities.
February 20: Lori is arrested in Kauai and charged with two felony counts for desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, and one misdemeanor count each for resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt of court.
March 5: Lori is extradited to Idaho, where she is held on $1million bond at Madison County Jail.
March 17: Lori professes her innocence in a statement through her attorney as two other members of her defense team quit and the judge removes himself from the case.
March 24: Court documents filed in the divorce of Lori’s niece Melani and her husband Brandon Boudreaux allege that Lori told people she believed her children were zombies before they disappeared.
April 9: Authorities reveal they are investigating Lori and Chad for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with Tammy’s death.
May 25: Idaho police issue a statement expressing hope that the kids will be found safe on what would have been JJ’s eighth birthday.
June 9: Police search Chad’s home in Salem for the second time and discover human remains in the backyard. Chad is taken into police custody and charged with destruction or concealment of evidence.
May 25, 2021: Lori and Chad are charged with first degree murder in the deaths of the children. Chad is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Tammy.