An Idaho prosecutor laid out his case against Chad Daybell this week, successfully convincing a magistrate judge to advance the felony charges against the end-times author to district court. Lori Vallow Daybell waived her preliminary hearing and will now answer to felony charges related to the disappearance and deaths of her two children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, in district court as well.
Chad and Lori have both pleaded not guilty and deny all allegations of wrongdoing. Their attorneys, John Prior and Mark Means, have not responded to Inside Edition Digital's requests for comment.
Here are five major revelations we learned from Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood's case against Chad.
"They're searching the property"
On Tuesday, the court heard a three-minute phone call that Lori Vallow Daybell placed to her husband Chad from jail on June 9, the day investigators found her children's remains buried in Chad's backyard. The call was entered into evidence during the second day of Chad's preliminary hearing on felony charges of willfully destroying, concealing or altering evidence.
"I love you so much," Chad tells Lori in the call. When Lori asks if she should try to call Chad back later, he tells her, "I don't know, you can try. I'll answer if I can." Chad was arrested later that day after investigators unearthed the remains of Tylee and JJ, who had been missing since September.
The audio of the call between Lori and Chad was hard to make out at times, but in part of the call, Lori asks Chad, "What can I do for you?"
Chad seems to say to her, "I'm feeling pretty calm. I was telling Mark I'm relieved."
It is not clear who the Mark Chad refers to is. Earlier in the call, Chad tells Lori she will be hearing from her attorney, Mark Means. One of Chad's sons is also named Mark.
"I did exactly what I felt the Lord was instructing me to do"
Chad and Lori's close friend, Melanie Gibb, took the stand on Monday and shared an explosive phone call with Chad and Lori she secretly recorded on Dec. 8, 2019.
When Gibb asks the couple where they are, Chad replies, "We're just hanging out," adding that they are "near Idaho." It's unclear whether Chad and Lori were already living on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where Lori was later arrested on Feb. 20.
In the call, Gibb confronts Lori about asking her to lie to police about JJ's whereabouts.
Lori tells Gibb JJ is "safe and happy" but that she cannot tell anyone where he is because "most of my family are working against me." Chad tells Gibb they can't tell her where JJ is to "keep you protected."
Of her decision not to tell authorities where the children are, Lori says, "I did exactly what I felt the Lord was instructing me to do." Investigators have said they believe the children had been dead for months at that point.
During the playing of the recording in court Monday, JJ's grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, shook their heads, visibly disturbed and frustrated. In the recording, Lori continuously describes Kay as "dark" and complains about the fact that Lori's late husband, Charles Vallow, had changed the beneficiary on his life insurance policy from her to Kay.
Both Lori and Chad tell Gibb they believe God is on their side during the call.
"I promise you I have done nothing wrong in this case, but sometimes you have to hide in a cavity of a rock for your own life's safety, and that's what the Lord requires of you sometimes, and that's how it is," Lori says. "And I'm sorry that's how it is, because there is a lot of darkness on the Earth. They're after me for zero reason."
Chad then tells Gibb he knows there are "conspiracy theories" about his first wife's death. Tammy Daybell, 49, died at home in October weeks before Chad and Lori married. Separately, Lori and Chad are currently under investigation by the Idaho Attorney General's office for "conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder" in Tammy's death. Neither has been charged with a crime in that case.
"[Alex] said I did not want to know and that [JJ] could not be found"
During that same secretly recorded phone call, Gibb asks Lori about a comment Lori's brother, Alex Cox, had made to Gibb when she asked him about JJ.
"I asked Al at one point–your brother–if I wanted to know, like, where [JJ] was, and he said I did not want to know and that he could not be found. So what does that mean?" Gibb asks Lori in the call.
"I don't know why he would say that, but it's the same story," Lori replies.
Investigators believe JJ and Tylee were buried on Chad's property by Cox shortly after they were last seen in September. Cox himself died of natural causes on Dec. 12, a medical examiner ruled, just four days after the phone call between Gibb, Chad and Lori. His death remains under investigation.
"It is very weird, I’ve had to move around a lot"
Detective David Stubbs of the Rexburg Police Department was called as a witness Monday, and testified that he had worn a body camera to record a conversation he had with Lori during the police's welfare check on JJ on Nov. 26. The footage was shown in court but only the audio was allowed to be broadcast.
"It is very weird, I've had to move around a lot," Lori tells officers in the footage. That seems to be true: Lori was born and raised in California, and public records show she has lived in Texas, Arizona, Hawaii and Idaho.
Lori also tells police that her brother, Alex, protects her, but that her other brother is trying to kill her for her $2 million life insurance policy and that she "doesn't want to be found."
Lori's other brother is Adam Cox, a radio DJ who was investigated in the 2007 death of a woman who participated in a radio contest he hosted but was never criminally charged, Inside Edition Digital reported in April. Adam Cox did not respond to a request for comment about Lori's claims.
In regards to a life insurance policy, it was Lori's fourth husband, Charles, who accused Lori of changing his password and locking him out of his $1 million policy months before his death, according to multiple emails he sent to his sister and the life insurance company.
Charles' sister, Kay Woodcock, told Inside Edition Digital she believes that the life insurance policy had "everything to do with Charles' death."
"I think if he wouldn't have had that life insurance, he would be alive and they would be divorced, and that would be that," Kay told Inside Edition Digital.
Adam's son, Zac Cox, was staying with Lori, Charles, Tylee and JJ in Gilbert, Arizona in January 2019 when Charles called the police and told them he was worried about Lori's mental state.
Zac has since written about his late cousins on Twitter, sharing photos of them together.
"I recognized that [the text message] was sent the day after Tylee Ryan was last seen alive, and I became concerned"
Three FBI agents from the bureau's Salt Lake City division—Special Agent Benjamin Dean, Special Agent Steven Daniels and Agent Gary Lyu—took the stand during Chad's preliminary hearing this week.
Dean spoke about finding and analyzing the cellphone belonging to Chad's late wife, Tammy, including a concerning text message Chad sent Tammy on the morning investigators believe Tylee's body was buried in their yard.
Dean read the message from Chad to Tammy dated Sept. 8, 2019 at 11:53 a.m. aloud for the court: "Well, I’ve had an interesting morning, I felt I should burn all the limb debris by the fire pit before it got too soaked by the coming storms. While I did so, I spotted a big raccoon along the fence. I hurried and got my gun and he was still walking along. I got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery. Fun times."
He testified the text "caught my attention because it was longer and more detailed than any of the other messages between Chad and Tammy that were stored on the device. Most of the messages between Chad and Tammy were relatively short and they dealt with matters around the house, for example, whether to pick up food for an animal, the depositing or cashing of checks, and the comings and goings of one or the other, when they would get home or when they would be leaving."
"It appeared to me to be the first and only message sent from Chad to Tammy in which Chad was describing and informing Tammy of his day’s events in such a lengthy and detailed manner," Dean added. "The other thing that caught my attention was the date."
"Upon reading this text message in which Chad appears to claim to have started a fire, shot and killed a large animal and buried it on his property, I recognized that it was sent the day after Tylee Ryan was last seen alive and I became concerned," the FBI agent stated.
It would take nine months for the children's remains to be discovered on June 9.
Chad has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence, as well as two felony charges of willfully destroying, concealing or altering evidence related to the children's remains. Chad has pleaded not guilty and denies all allegations of wrongdoing. Chad is now scheduled to be arraigned in district court in Fremont County on Aug. 21.
Lori faces two counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence in Fremont County, and her case will now advance to district court after she waived her preliminary hearing. Lori also faces misdemeanor
Chad and Lori remain in jail on $1 million bond in Idaho.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding the case to contact them at 1-208-359-3000.