NewsLocal News


Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow face new conspiracy charges, not murder charges

Posted at 10:28 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 00:53:15-04

ST ANTHONY, Idaho — Chad Daybell faced a judge on Wednesday for the second time since police found theremains of two missing Rexburg children in his backyard.

Investigators have not yet determined how JJ Vallow or Tylee Ryan died, other than to indicate they believe the children were killed.

The results of an autopsy are pending.

Both Chad Daybell and his wife Lori Vallow are facing the same additional charges since their initial arrests: two counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence.

"If you worked with another person... you're just as guilty as if you did it all by yourself," explained attorney Luke Malek, a former Idaho prosecutor who is not affiliated with this case.

Chad Daybell sat stoic as Judge Faren Eddins read the charges and kept bail at $1 million.

Lori Vallow, who appeared in court on Tuesday, had her bail increased from $1 million to $2 million.

Police said they have GPS proof from a cell phone indicating Lori Vallow's brother, Alex Cox, was in Chad Daybell's backyard during the burial of both children and that he did not act alone.

Chris Bertram, a retired law enforcement officer who has served as Deputy Chief of the Unified Police Department and Chief of the Holladay Police Department, said the technology used by FBI officers to triangulate the location of a cell phone is very reliable.

"This has been something that's been going on for a while, but it's not really been known to the public," Bertram said. "This is not something that you can just get on a computer and quickly look up. This is taking a lot of data points, a lot of information that come from the cell phone towers, and sending that down to somebody that knows what they're doing."

Investigators also say they have proof Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow each independently asked a friend to lie about the location of the children in 2019.

Officers say when they tried to interview Chad Daybell, he pretended that he did not know Lori Vallow very well even though they had been recently married.

Some legal experts tell FOX 13 that even though nobody has been charged with murder, the additional charges that have been filed this week could be a sign prosecutors are getting closer.

"You know somebody killed those kids," said Frank Montoya Jr., a retired FBI agent who has worked in multiple field offices across the country. "You (file) as many charges as you can to get your end goal. To get justice."

Police have not yet indicated who they believe killed JJ or Tylee.

"The fact that Alex Cox is now deceased? As a defense attorney, you're going to want to give that potentially to a jury -- the reasonable doubt as to who was actually involved. Who is actually responsible?" Bertram said. "Absolutely you can always blame the person who is not here to answer the questions."

"If they can't find evidence of who did this then the murder charges very well may never come," Malek said.

"They're not quite there yet. I think they'll get there. One of the purposes for bringing additional charges is to put more pressure on the suspects," Montoya said. "I think that July is actually going to be an eventful month."

Investigators have pointed to Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow's extreme religious beliefs as a possible motive for hiding the remains of JJ and Tylee.

Police have learned from multiple sources that Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow believed in prophesies about the end of the world or "second coming of Jesus Christ" taking place on July 22, 2020.

According to East Idaho News sources, Chad Daybell "doesn't say much in jail" and spends most of his time "reading scriptures."

"What happens when July 22 comes and goes and we're still here?" Monyota said. "That's going to be a reckoning for them if they're 'true believers.'"

Tammy Daybell death investigation

Montoya said, depending on how JJ and Tylee were killed, investigators may find clues to help solve another death investigation.

For more than six months, coroners have been trying to figure out how Chad Daybell's previous wife, Tammy Daybell, died in her sleep at the age of 49.

"I think the investigators have a fair certainty that foul play was involved. The question is -- if it was poison -- what kinds of poison?" Montoya said. "As unfortunate as it may sound, or as gruesome as it may sound, the discovery of additional bodies increases the chance... it could be very helpful."

Tammy Daybell's body was exhumed from the Springville Cemetery in Utah last December for further testing months after her husband Chad Daybell declined an autopsy in October.

Alex Cox died in Gilbert, Arizona the day after Tammy Daybell's body was exhumed. The Maricopa County Coroner's Office determined Alex Cox died of "natural causes" due to a blood clot in his lung.

The Idaho Attorney General's Office is investigating Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow's potential involvement in the death of Tammy Daybell.

Once the kids' bodies have been released, family members plan to hold public services in Idaho, Arizona, and Louisiana.

Members of JJ and Tylee's family released the following statement.