Eric Grossarth, a senior studying communication, came to BYU-Idaho in 2015 with aspirations of becoming a doctor. After deciding he didn’t like biology, Grossarth turned to psychology before deciding, once again, it wasn’t for him.
Grossarth eventually turned to journalism, joining Scroll in the Fall of 2017 before leaving in Dec. 2019. He completed an internship with East Idaho News in 2018 who has kept him on ever since.
East Idaho News has covered the Daybell case since the beginning, providing updates before anyone else can get to it. One update found Grossarth on a last-minute plane to Hawaii.
Grossarth and EIN had known the Daybells were in Kauai for several weeks after talking to people on the island. They wanted to fly out to talk to them, but were told by police to hold off.
“We don’t want to be the reason why the investigation was messed up,” Grossarth said.
A source within the police department eventually reached out, who according to Grossarth, told them, “can’t tell you why, but you should book your ticket to Hawaii.”
Grossarth and his co-worker, Nate Eaton, drove to Salt Lake City and caught a flight to Hawaii without any knowledge of what was going to happen. They didn’t even know if they would get a chance to talk to the Daybells.
“We had talked a little bit about it beforehand,” Grossarth said. “It was just talks of, oh we want to go and then it was really fast, oh we’re going. We knew we had to go.”
They arrived in Kauai at 1 a.m. and later that morning found that their camera had been broken on the flight. The Walmart and Costco on the small island didn’t have the necessary camera equipment, so the back-up plan was for Grossarth to fly to Honolulu to buy a camera from Best Buy. They were able to find a film school that let them rent out some equipment.
Grossarth was told whatever was going down would be happening that upcoming Monday, but while driving on Sunday, he received a call that it was happening now.
“While we were driving on this highway, we see the black SUV pass us and police cars following,” Grossarth said. “We turn right around and they pull into the resort.”
Eric ran the camera and hid behind cars while police delivered a search warrant to the Daybells.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Grossarth said. “We didn’t know, did they have guns? Was this going to turn bad?”
After police released the Daybells, East Idaho News was given the chance to talk to Chad and Lori while Grossarth filmed the whole thing.
“It’s been crazy,” Grossarth said. “Sunday morning, no one knew about the case. By the end of the day, people were stopping us, ‘hey are you the guys from Idaho?’ The story was already kind of national level but ever since then it’s everyday coverage at the national level. Major networks are covering, they’re asking for interviews and it’s because we were the the only ones that were able to talk to them.”
Grossarth described Lori Daybell as “stone faced and cold,” and “acted like she doesn’t care.” According to Grossarth, a police officer described her eyes as “snakes, staring him down.”
During their return from Hawaii, Grossarth and Eaton have done interviews with TV stations around the country, including CNN’s Headline News.
Grossarth has covered this story while completing his senior year at BYU-I and with a wife and 6-month-old daughter at home.
“It’s been hard on her,” Grossarth said. “She’s been supportive and everything, but it’ll be nice to spend more time with her and the baby. It keeps you very busy. There’s a lot of details that everyday you work on the story, there’s more and more.”
Grossarth continues to cover the Daybells for East Idaho News.