When the bones of Lori Vallow’s children were found in two small graves in Chad Daybell’s backyard, their fall shook the world. The two, now notoriously known as the ‘doomsday couple’, are suspected of killing their respective ex-partners as well as JJ Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, and Tylee Ryan.
One of the most horrific cases in Idaho history was brought about by a string of unsolved murders in 2019, as well as fanatical religious beliefs and disturbing evidence. Daybell and Vallow have been detained since their 2020 arrests awaiting their individual trials. The latter was reportedly declared unfit to stand trial and spent nearly a year in a psychiatric hospital.
Chad Daybell’s particular case is unique, and CBS has previously shared in-depth insights into the lives of those closely involved. The Secrets of Chad Daybell’s Backyard, the upcoming episode of 48 Hours narrated by Jonathan Vigliotti, airs exclusively on CBS this Saturday at 10:9c.
Five chilling details about the Chad Daybell case
1) Chad Daybell reportedly texted his wife to make a statement
The most damning evidence they found during their investigation was a text message Chad sent to his wife the night they thought Tylee Ryan was buried in their backyard. He explained to his wife in the text:
“A large raccoon (sic) could be seen on the fence. I quickly grabbed my gun and one shot was all it took. He is now buried in our pet cemetery.”
When Chad sent the message to his wife, it appeared to prosecutors that he was fabricating an explanation. It arrived at Daybell’s property 14 minutes after Alex Cox’s GPS location. But a later investigation of the site found no trace of a raccoon buried there.
2) Tammy, his wife, allegedly died of asphyxiation after being murdered by him.
Although the Daybell family children declined an autopsy after their mother’s death, questions were raised about Tammy’s cause of death, prompting detectives to have the body exhumed for later examination. The 49-year-old librarian reportedly choked to death; Officials suspected Chad Daybell.
3) Chad misled JJ as to the whereabouts of his stepson
Melanie Gibb, a friend of Lori Vallow, claimed that the two repeatedly misled law enforcement when questioned about JJ’s whereabouts. Months after the girl went missing, Lori was contacted by police and she informed them that the 7-year-old was staying with her friend Melanie. It was the same acquaintance who was staying at the defendant’s home at the time the youth was last seen.
Daybell, according to her testimony in court, instructed Gibb not to take calls from the police. She also said Vallow asked her to lie to the police. She asked Melanie to let them know that JJ was safe and with her. For her own protection, Chad is said to have told her that they could not reveal the whereabouts of the child. He explained:
You would be in danger if you knew.
4) In the middle of the investigation, Chad and Lori went to Hawaii
When authorities discovered that both of Lori’s children had been missing for weeks, they quickly began a nationwide search. Chad Daybell and his newly married wife, Lori, were the only ones who appeared unconcerned, despite nationwide prayers for the safety of the two children. The couple traveled to Hawaii, which caused a stir as the search for the missing children intensified.
5) Daybell was stunned to see evidence on his property.
The Daybell siblings claim we’ve only heard one side of the story about the murders of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
Insisting that her father is innocent and that her parents’ deaths were the fault of his new wife and brother.
On a beautiful day in June 2020, authorities searched the Daybell home for Tylee and JJ. They assumed that based on the evidence found, there was a chance of spotting the two children somewhere on their sizeable property. You were accurate.
Two small graves were discovered in Chad Daybell’s backyard in the area that had previously served as the Daybell family’s pet cemetery. However, authorities were shocked by the look on Chad’s face when the find was made. Emma Murray, his daughter, explained:
“His eyes widened and his face went white. He was amazed.”
Chad Daybell was arrested that day and has been imprisoned ever since. He entered a not-guilty plea in 2021 and is currently incarcerated in Idaho awaiting trial.