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5 Things We Learned from Probable Cause Affidavit Detailing New Charges Against Lori Vallow Daybell

A Rexburg Police Department lieutenant’s probable cause affidavit filed in state court on Monday is providing new details in support of charges against Lori Vallow Daybell, 46, in the disappearances and confirmed deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

The charges, two felony counts of destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence, were the same as those that were brought against Chad Daybell, the defendant’s 51-year-old husband. The children were found dead on Daybell’s Idaho property on June 9. At the time, Lori Daybell was behind bars and facing charges of felony desertion of a minor, misdemeanor resisting and obstructing, misdemeanor solicitation to commit a crime, and misdemeanor contempt.

Here’s what we learned from the document on the new charges.

1. Authorities now have reason to believe Tylee Ryan didn’t live to see her 17th birthday.

After JJ and Tylee disappeared in Sept. 2019, authorities publicly identified them as 7 and 17 years old, respectively. In the new documents, Lt. Ron Ball said, however, that police now have reason to believe that Tylee died before September 24, 2019.

“Tylee was 16 years old at the time she went missing and JJ was 7 years old when he went missing. Until this time law enforcement has stated that Tylee was 17 at the time she went missing because we were not aware she was missing until several months after her seventeenth birthday. However, we now have reason to believe she was killed before her seventeenth birthday,” the affidavit says.

2. The defendant’s brother was posthumously accused of participating in the conspiracy to conceal the children’s deaths. 

Lt. Ball said that the defendant, Chad Daybell, and Lori’s since-deceased brother Alex Cox “conspired to commit the crime of concealing and destroying/altering evidence they knew would be produced, used, or discovered as evidence in trial, proceeding, inquiry or investigation involving felony.”

Cox shot and killed Lori’s previous husband Charles Vallow, JJ’s adoptive dad, on July 11, 2019. Cox, who insisted the killing was self-defense, died in Dec. 2019 of causes that were initially unclear. A medical examiner ruled in May that Cox died of “natural causes.” The Vallow homicide occurred at the Arizona home where Lori lived with the children, cops said.

Federal authorities have shown that Cox was in pictures with JJ and Tylee at Yellowstone National Park on September 8, 2019, which was the last day Tylee was seen.

3. In Nov. 2019, Chad Daybell allegedly acted like he did not know Lori very well, despite getting married to her weeks earlier.

Rexburg Police detectives, per the affidavit, went to Vallow Daybell’s home and met with Chad Daybell and Alex Cox outside of the residence. At the time, Daybell “acted as if he didn’t know Vallow very well and stated he didn’t know her phone number.” Then, per authorities, Cox “told the detectives that JJ was with his grandma, Kay Woodcock, in Louisiana, which was not likely to be true due to the fact that Kay was the individual who first called in missing child report to the Gilbert Police Department.”

Vallow Daybell and her fifth husband Chad Daybell married in Nov. 2019 while her kids were missing and roughly two weeks after Daybell’s previous wife Tammy Daybell died. (Tammy died on Oct. 19; the Vallow-Daybell marriage took place on Nov. 5.) Thereafter, rather than assisting authorities in a search for the children, the newlyweds traveled to Hawaii.

4. The day after Tylee was last seen, Chad Daybell allegedly texted his then-wife Tammy to say he shot a raccoon during the day and buried it their “pet cemetery.”

According to Lt. Ball, the Daybell text about shooting a raccoon during the day seemed suspicious because raccoons are “normally nocturnal.” Police conversations with neighbors yielded information about the increasing frequency of bonfires and the existence of a fire pit. In addition, Tammy Daybell’s sister, Samantha Gwilliam, confirmed the location of a “pet cemetery” on the Daybell property.

Authorities say that Alex Cox’s phone pinged at that location on Sept. 9, which was the day after the last verifiable sighting of Tylee Ryan in Yellowstone with Cox.

“The above facts establish that Alex Cox appeared to be at the Daybell property on September 9, 2019, until at least 11:39. Chad sent the text to Tammy about burning debris and shooting and burying the raccoon in the pet cemetery only 14 minutes later at 11:53. The pet cemetery is located at the same location as most of the pings on Alex Cox’s phone on September 9, 2019,” the affidavit said.

The last verifiable sighting of JJ was Sept. 22. Authorities noted that Alex Cox’s phone pinged on the Daybell property the next day, which also happened to be the day authorities say Cox “Transported JJ Vallow from Madison County, Idaho to Chad Daybell’s property in Fremont County.” Investigators analyzed pings from Cox’s phone to pinpoint locations on the property, locations that were searched on June 9—the day JJ and Tylee were found dead.

5. The “overt acts” that authorities say implicate Vallow in the conspiracy.

a. Telephoned Melani Gibb and asked her to lie to the police about the location of JJ.
b. Asked Gibb to create false evidence of JJ’s existence and location.
c. Falsely informed the Rexburg Police that JJ was in Arizona with Melani Gibb.
d. Falsely informed the Rexburg Police Department that Tylee was attending BYU- Idaho and living with Vallow.
e. Refused to produce the children to the Rexburg Police or the Idaho Department of
Health and Welfare as required by Court Order.

The document was filed in District Court for the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Idaho.  Read it below:

Lori Vallow Daybell Affidavit of Probable Cause by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via court pool feed]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.