Jailhouse phone call reveals Chad Daybell warning Lori Vallow on day children’s remains were found

Call was made around an hour before JJ and Tylee’s remains were found in Rexburg, Idaho

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 12 April 2023 17:45 BST
Lori Vallow Trial: Detective presents evidence in 'Doomsday Mom' murder case

A jailhouse phone call captured the moment Chad Daybell warned “cult mom” Lori Vallow that police were closing in on the day that her children’s remains were discovered buried on his property.

In the call, made on 9 June 2020 and played in court during Ms Vallow’s high-profile double murder trial on Wednesday, Mr Daybell is heard telling his new wife that law enforcement were on the scene searching his property in Rexburg, Idaho.

At the time, Ms Vallow was behind bars in Madison County Jail after she failed to meet a court order to present her two children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 16.

The children were last seen alive in September 2019, with Ms Vallow spending months refusing to reveal their whereabouts.

Mr Daybell – who at the time was still walking free – called his wife in the jail at 11.03am.

“Are you okay?” Ms Vallow asks as she answers the call.

Following a pause, a forlorn-sounding Mr Daybell tells her: “They are searching the property.”

Much of the conversation is inaudible but the couple are heard discussing the police presence at the property, with Ms Vallow asking if they are “in the house” and “seizing stuff again”.

“They’re searching… they’re searching,” says Mr Daybell.

He later adds: “So, we’ll see what transpires.”

The couple – who married in November 2019 weeks after his first wife died and around two months after her children were last seen alive – repeatedly tell each other “I love you”.

The call ends with Ms Vallow asking “shall I try to call you later?” – something that Mr Daybell appears to be unsure will be possible.

Search teams find remains of JJ and Tylee on Chad Daybell’s property (AP)

“I don’t know... if you can,” he says.

Around one hour later, the remains of JJ and Tylee were discovered buried on Mr Daybell’s property.

JJ’s body was found buried close to a tree on the property. The little boy, who had autism, was still dressed in his red pyjamas and a pull-up night diaper.

His arms were wrapped in duct tape and his head was wrapped in a white plastic bag with thick layers of duct tape around it.

He had been partly covered in a blue children’s blanket before wood panelling and three white stones were placed on top of him in the shallow grave.

Jurors were shown graphic photos of the burial site and the little boy’s autopsy in court on Tuesday while it emerged that Tylee’s body was so badly burned that an autopsy was impossible.

The 16-year-old’s remains were found not far from her younger brother’s, close to a fire pit in the pet cemetery on the property. She had been dismembered, burned and her body parts were dispersed around the grounds.

“We uncovered bits and pieces of Tylee - who we assumed was Tylee,” Detective Ray Hermosillo testified on Tuesday.

“The best I can describe was just blobs of flesh that were falling apart. Once we removed some of that, under them there was another round blobs – I’m sorry, it’s the best I can describe it – just burnt flesh, what appeared to be put in a green bucket. The bucket was melted so it was kind of deformed.”

Following the discovery of the children’s remains, Mr Daybell tried to flee the scene – driving off in his vehicle.

He was chased down and taken into custody.

Chad Daybell appears during a court hearing in 2020 (Post Register)

Both Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and grand theft in connection with the deaths of JJ and Tylee.

They are also charged over the murder in the death of Mr Daybell’s first wife Tammy Daybell as well as related financial crimes. Mr Daybell is due to stand trial separately on the charges.

Tammy died suddenly on 19 October 2019 – just one month after the children disappeared that September and weeks before Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell married on a beach in Hawaii.

Despite being an otherwise healthy 49-year-old, no autopsy was conducted and her death was ruled natural causes.

Investigators later exhumed her body and carried out an autopsy.

Tammy’s cause of death was revealed for the first time in court on Monday – with the prosecutor revealing she died by asphyxiation.

Prosecutors allege that Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell conspired with Ms Vallow’s brother Alex Cox to murder Tammy, JJ and Tylee as part of their doomsday cult beliefs – but also for financial purposes so that they could collect Tammy’s life insurance money and the children’s social security and survivor benefits.

As part of their cult beliefs, the couple believed in a “rating system of light and dark” for how they ranked the spirits of the people around them.

Over time, this evolved into the belief that some people – including the children – were “zombies” and the only way to get rid of the zombies was for the human body to be destroyed.

JJ, Tylee and Tammy aren’t the only deaths surrounding the doomsday cult couple.

In July 2019 – two months before the children’s disappearance – Ms Vallow’s fourth husband Charles Vallow was shot dead by Cox.

At the time, Cox claimed Vallow attacked him with a baseball bat and it was ruled self-defence.

On 11 December 2019, Cox also died suddenly at the age of 51. His death was also ruled natural causes, with indications of a blood clot wedged in the arteries of his lungs. However the overdose drug Narcan was also found in his system.

Now, Ms Vallow is also facing charges in Arizona of conspiring with Cox to murder Vallow.

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