Body cam video from Nov. 2019 was played in court on Monday, showing Lori Vallow Daybell’s reaction to a police welfare check on her 7-year-old son JJ Vallow. The video was played at a preliminary hearing in the criminal case against the defendant’s husband, Chad Daybell.
The video of the hearing shows the defendant and grieving grandparents looking on as Rexburg Police Detectives Ray Hermosillo, Ron Ball and David Stubbs testified about the day that they questioned Vallow Daybell about her young son’s whereabouts. After that, audio of their encounter with Vallow Daybell played. She seemed upbeat, bubbly and unconcerned, while also projecting an image of herself as overwhelmed by life.
She also committed one of the overt acts that police allege implicated the defendant in a conspiracy to conceal evidence of her children’s deaths: “Falsely informed the Rexburg Police that JJ was in Arizona with Melanie Gibb.”
Melanie Gibb has since disavowed her former friend entirely.
As heard in audio, Lori claimed JJ was with Gibb in Gilbert, Arizona.
Gibb has said that wasn’t true. She also said that Lori and Chad separately called her on Nov. 26—the day of the welfare check—and asked her to tell Rexburg cops that JJ was with her.
“Lori called and said, ‘Hey, everything’s fine,’” Gibb told Dateline in June. “‘I told them that JJ was with you.’”
“I can’t even begin to tell you how horrible that moment was for me,” she continued. “They tried to use me as their way of escape. So part of me is processing, ‘I can’t believe you’re friends with these people.’ The other part of me is like, ‘How did you even believe any of the things they shared to you?”
The Daybells infamously got married in the months after Lori’s kids were last seen. This occurred before police conducted the welfare check we now discuss. After the welfare check, rather than assisting authorities in a search for the children, the newlyweds traveled to Hawaii. Then came Vallow Daybell’s arrest in Feb. 2020.
We have since learned that JJ and his sister Tylee Ryan, who may have been 16 at the time of her death, were found dead on Chad Daybell’s Idaho property back on June 9. That led to his swift arrest. Vallow Daybell had been arrested months earlier on since-dropped desertion charges.
Det. Hermosillo testified that JJ was buried after being wrapped in a black plastic bag and had duct tape on his mouth, arms and wrists. He was wearing red pajamas. The detective said Tylee’s remains, which appeared to have been burned, were found nearby.
Vallow Daybell and Daybell have not yet been charged with murder in the children’s deaths. Currently, they face charges for alleged destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence and conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence.
[Image courtesy of East Idaho News]
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