The State called seven witnesses to the stand Thursday to testify in the murder trial of Lori Vallow Daybell in Boise, Idaho. These witnesses included three law enforcement officials, a former babysitter, an elementary school principal, a BYU-Idaho dean and Vallow Daybell’s former friend, David Warwick.

Vallow Daybell, along with her husband, Chad Daybell, are accused of first-degree murder in the September 2019 deaths of two of her children: seven-year-old JJ Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan. They are also charged with murder for the October 2019 death of Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy. Vallow Daybell lived in Rexburg, Idaho from August 2019 until November 2019.

Her children were last seen alive in September 2019 and were found dead and buried in Chad Daybell’s backyard the following June. In the time between, Vallow Daybell lied to and then refused to tell authorities about her children’s whereabouts. 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WITNESSES:

Sergeant Nathan Moffat, Chandler Police Department in Chandler, Arizona


Sgt. Nathan Moffat spoke on the death of Charles Vallow, Vallow Daybell’s fourth husband, who was shot and killed by her brother, Alex Cox on July 11, 2019. Moffat was the agent for this case until July 2020.

Moffat said that by his observations, Charles Vallow’s wounds were consistent with having been shot while he was already lying on the ground. He also said that the head injury Cox claimed to have sustained from Charles Vallow was not consistent with having been inflicted by a baseball bat swung “extremely hard” by an “athletic man.”

Moffat and another detective brought Cox, Vallow Daybell and Tylee back to the house from the police station. He called the ride “bizarre, to say the least” and described the conversation between Cox and Vallow Daybell as “lighthearted.” Daybell faces a  charge for conspiracy to commit murder in Maricopa County, Arizona for his death. Cox claimed self-defense at the time and died in December 2019 without charges.

Sydney Woodbury Schenk, JJ’s one-time babysitter in Rexburg


Vallow Daybell hired Sydney Woodbury Schenk to be a babysitter for JJ in September 2019. During the interview, she mentioned to Schenk that Tylee lived out of the home to study at BYU-Idaho. Schenk said she understood her job to be a long-term “as needed” nannying position, but days after the first time she took care of JJ, Vallow Daybell told her that he was with his grandparents for the next month. A month later, Vallow Daybell did not respond to messages from Schenk.

Dr. Josh Wilson, Kennedy Elementary Principal in Rexburg


Dr. Josh Wilson confirmed that JJ was enrolled in Kennedy Elementary from Sept. 3 to Sept. 24, 2019. Vallow Daybell did not previously indicate that his enrollment would be short-term. Upon unenrolling JJ, Vallow Daybell told Wilson that he was going to live with his grandparents in Louisiana and be homeschooled. No other school ever requested his records. 

Wynn Hill, BYU-Idaho Dean of Students


Brother Wynn Hill testified that Tylee had never applied nor enrolled at BYU-I, as Vallow Daybell had previously told people, including JJ’s babysitter and her friend, David Warwick. 

David Warwick, one of the last individuals to see JJ alive


Warwick is married to Melanie Gibb, a former close friend to Vallow Daybell. Vallow Daybell’s defense requested that Warwick be excluded from testifying after he admitted that he broke court witness rules and watched the first 45 minutes of his wife’s testimony in the trial. Judge Steven Boyce allowed Warwick to testify but gave the defense free reign to comment on his credibility in front of the jury. Warwick visited Gibb, whom he was dating at the time, in Rexburg on Sept. 22 and 23, 2019. 

During that time, he recorded a religious-themed podcast with Vallow Daybell and Gibb. Warwick, Gibb, Vallow Daybell and Daybell were all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Warwick also said that Daybell told him that he and Lori were appointed by God to gather the 144,000 mentioned in the New Testament book of Revelation in preparation for Christ’s coming. He replied that Daybell did not have that authority and that the gathering would be done by the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ. 

His last night in Rexburg, Warwick saw Cox carry JJ to bed. The next morning, Vallow Daybell told Warwick that at night, JJ had climbed on the cabinets and refrigerator and knocked over a picture of Christ, so she had called Cox to take him. Warwick noted that he saw no indication JJ had climbed on the cabinets.

Detective Bruce Mattingly, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office


Lt. Bruce Mattingly told the Court that he and his colleague, Lt. Joel Powell, executed a warranted search on Daybell’s house in January 2020 and collected electronic devices. They transferred those devices to the Intermountain Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah.

FBI Intelligence Analyst Benjamin Dean


Benjamin Dean read aloud a message that Daybell sent to his first wife, Tammy, on Sept. 9, 2019.

The message read:
“Well, I’ve had an interesting morning! I felt I should burn all of 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!”

Dean said the message stood out to him because it was unusual for Chad to send a “detailed, step-by-step explanation of his days’ events”. It concerned him because it was sent the day after Tylee was last seen alive. 

Detective David Stubbs, Rexburg Police Department


David Stubbs specializes in collecting evidence from electronic devices. The courtroom was shown body cam footage from Stubbs’ and another detective’s interactions with Vallow Daybell after Idaho law enforcement was asked to conduct a welfare check for JJ on Nov. 26, 2019. Vallow Daybell told them that Kay Woodcock, JJ’s grandmother, was trying to sue her and take JJ from her. She said JJ was with her friend Melanie Gibb in Arizona. That statement, among others made by Vallow Daybell, was confirmed to be untrue. The Court was also shown Stubbs’ bodycam footage from the search of Vallow Daybell’s home the next day.

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