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Idaho Judge denies bail reduction request for Lori Vallow-Daybell

Lori Vallow in Court - Friday, May 1, 2020
Posted at 12:48 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-02 00:18:41-04

An Idaho judge has denied a second bond reduction request for Lori Vallow-Daybell, who is facing felony charges in connection with the disappearances of her two children.

Vallow-Daybell's children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, have been missing since September.

Vallow-Daybell's defense filed a motion to reduce her bail bond amount from $1 million to an amount between $100,00 and $250,000. In March, a different Idaho judge reduced Vallow-Daybell's original bail amount of $5 million to $1 million.

"Our motion alleges new evidence has come to light, needs to be discussed with the court," Vallow-Daybell's attorney, Mark Means, explained in court Friday.

That evidence, apparently, had to do with COVID-19 precautions taken by the Madison County jail, as well as jail recordings of private conversations between Means and Vallow-Daybell.

Means asserted that the jail recorded "multiple" phone calls with Vallow-Daybell in late March, and also didn't let him know of the new COVID-19 restrictions that would prevent him from meeting with his client face-to-face.

"We have a situation here, that makes it to where I cannot, in good faith, get on the phone with my client being detained in the Madison County Detention Center, and be confident enough that the conversation will be confidential, and we can prepare the defense," Means argued.

However Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood fired back, saying that Means knew those calls were being recorded.

"The request for reduction of bail on those grounds, is improper or misplaced," he said.

In documents filed the day before the hearing, Wood said that Means visited Vallow on March 30, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, had to speak with her over a phone and through a glass barrier.

Means asked for the call not to be recorded, the documents explained, and so it wasn't. But when Means returned the next day, March 31, the documents allege Means did not make the same request.

Wood said that an automated recording played out at the beginning of the call saying that it was being recorded, but that Means didn't ask for the recording to be turned off. Wood admitted that two calls during that same meeting were accidentally recorded-- the first one, one minute in length, and the second one a few minutes later, 28 minutes in length.

Court documents state that as soon as Madison County discovered it, the 28 minute call was deleted but the one minute call was kept to show records that the automated warning played out before Means and Vallow-Daybell spoke.

"I think this is an attempt to divert the court and the public from the actual facts of the case, to deal with the actual case," Wood said. "It's a way to try to get the client out on an issue that doesn't exist."

Ultimately, Judge Michelle Mallard decided not to lower Vallow-Daybell's bond.

"Because I cannot find any good cause to reduce bond further than it already has," she said.

Vallow-Daybell is charged with two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children under 18, and misdemeanor charges of resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court.

Tylee and JJ have been missing for more than seven months.

The Idaho Attorney General's Office is investigating Vallow-Daybell and her husband, Chad Daybell for conspiracy, attempted murder, and/or murder in the October death of Chad's late wife, Tammy Daybell.

While Chad has not been arrested on any charges, after Friday's hearing, it appears likely that Lori Vallow-Daybell will continue to stay in jail.