Lori Vallow Daybell, the mother of two missing Idaho children, will wear a face mask to court Friday as she again asks a judge to reduce her $1 million bond amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Lori's attorney is arguing that restrictions meant to stem the spread of the virus in the Rexburg, Idaho jail have made it impossible for him to communicate with her confidentially, a claim law enforcement and the prosecutor in the case deny. They say Lori's bond shouldn't be reduced until she produces her two missing children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
Lori has been held in a Rexburg jail since March 5 after being arrested in Hawaii and extradited to Idaho.
She is facing two counts of felony desertion of a child in the disappearance of 7-year-old JJ and 17-year-old Tylee, as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt, according to the prosecutor's office. Lori has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Her attorney, Mark Means, is asking Magistrate Judge Michelle Mallard once again to reduce her bond. Part of his argument stems from a March 30 visit he said he made to the detention center where Lori is being held and which is subject to restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis.
During that visit, Means wrote in a declaration filed with the court, "the sole option of communicating with my client [was] in the public visitor meeting room, wall of glass between attorney and client, over recorded telephone line."
Means also wrote he had to pass documents to Lori via a detention center officer "through multiple security doors to the inmate (client’s side), all of which would be out of sight of the attorney and client."
Means argues that "detention center procedure/unlawful restrictions have made it impossible to prepare for said hearings, to communicate with my client in confidential/privileged manner, and to simple review productions of documents/records with my client to assist in her defense of the pending charges/criminal complaint."
Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood objected to Lori's bail reduction request, writing in a document filed with the court that while one conversation between Lori and her attorney was accidentally recorded, "the jail promptly deleted the recording of that conversation and has placed block on all recordings in the current attorney/client visiting area to preclude any other accidental recordings."
Wood added that Lori's bond shouldn't be reduced because she "has yet to comply with the valid court order to produce her children in the related child protection action."
A lieutenant from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and a lieutenant from the Rexburg Police Department also filed affidavits in support of Wood's objection to reducing Lori's bond, according to court records.
That order required Lori to show JJ and Tylee to authorities in Rexburg by Jan. 30, but she failed to produce the children by the deadline. JJ and Tylee still haven't been seen since September.
Several elements of the case have changed since Lori last appeared in court to ask that her bail be reduced. The original judge presiding over the case, Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins, was removed at Lori's attorney's request.
Two of Lori's attorneys, Brian Webb and Edwina Elcox, also stepped down from representing her. Means is now the sole attorney representing Lori, as well as her husband, Chad Daybell, after Chad's attorney stepped down, EastIdahoNews.com reported. Means did not immediately return InsideEdition.com's request for comment.
Lori's preliminary hearing has been rescheduled a second time to July 9 and 10.
Chad and Lori are currently under investigation by the Idaho Attorney General's office for "conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder" in the death of Chad's first wife, Tammy.
Tammy Daybell, 49, was found dead at her home on Oct. 19. Chad and Lori married weeks later in Hawaii. Neither Chad nor Lori have been charged with a crime in connection with Tammy's death, and both deny all allegations of wrongdoing.
A full timeline in the case can be found here.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding the children's whereabouts or welfare to contact the department at 1-208-359-3000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST.
JJ has brown hair and brown eyes, is 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. He has autism and "may be in need of medical attention," according to authorities. Tylee has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.