Adult Children of Accused Idaho Man Testify to Defend Their Father in Triple Murder Trial!


BOISE, Idaho- The adult children of an Idaho man accused of murdering their mother and his girlfriend’s two small children testified in his defense this week, claiming their mother’s health was deteriorating before her death.

The testimony of Chad Daybell’s children on Monday marked the beginning of his legal defense in a complex triple murder trial that began last month. Daybell’s daughter, Emma Murray, told jurors that her father was devastated after her mother died, and that Murray, not Daybell, was the one who objected to an autopsy being performed.

Daybell, 55, is charged with first-degree murder, insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit murder, and grand theft in connection with the murders of Tammy Daybell, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. Lori Vallow Daybell, their mother, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release last year for the killings.

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Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell married just two weeks after Tammy Daybell died, prompting concerns among local law enforcement officers. Tammy Daybell’s body was later excavated, and investigators said an autopsy revealed she died from asphyxiation. However, Daybell informed officials that Tammy Daybell was unwell and died in her sleep.

“I know the grief he felt was real,” Murray added, recalling Daybell’s manner on the morning her mother died. “He may not have had the same romantic relationship with my mother that he had in the past, but I knew he valued her as a person, and seeing her die was very traumatic.”

Over the last seven weeks, prosecutors have called dozens of witnesses to back up their claims that Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell conspired to kill the two children and Tammy Daybell to remove any obstacles to their relationship and obtain money from survivor benefits and life insurance policies. Prosecutors said the pair rationalized the crimes by developing a sophisticated and apocalyptic belief system that included statements that individuals could be possessed by evil spirits and transformed into “zombies,” and that the only way to redeem a possessed person’s soul was for the possessed body to die.

The investigation began in the fall of 2019, when extended family members reported the two youngsters missing, prompting law authorities to launch a multi-state search. The subsequent investigation took some unexpected detours.

Investigators believe Vallow and Chad Daybell were conducting an affair when both of their spouses died unexpectedly. Vallow Daybell’s spouse was fatally shot by her brother Alex Cox in Arizona in July 2019; the brother claimed self-defense.

Tammy Daybell died many months later, in October of 2019. Chad Daybell first informed authorities that she had an ailment and died in her sleep, but an examination later revealed that she died from asphyxiation. Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell married just two weeks after Tammy Daybell died, which surprised family members.

Nearly a year after going missing, the children’s bones were discovered buried on Chad Daybell’s ranch in eastern Idaho. Investigators later discovered that both children died in September 2019. Prosecutors allege that Cox collaborated with Chad and Vallow Daybell in all three deaths, however, Cox died of natural causes during the inquiry and was never charged.

Tammy Daybell’s friends described her as lively and fit, with a regular schedule of gym courses and training for a 5K race. However, Daybell’s son, Garth Daybell, told jurors on Monday that his mother’s health had deteriorated in the months leading up to her death, and that he was concerned because she was becoming weary and fainting frequently.

Murray made similar allegations, claiming that her mother was anemic, bruised easily, and disliked discussing her health difficulties with others. She also claimed that Tammy Daybell upped her life insurance policy on her own, without consulting Chad Daybell. Prosecutors then handed Murray the life insurance form, which had Chad Daybell’s signature.

Defense counsel John Prior questioned Chad Daybell’s children on various facets of the prosecution’s case. Murray claimed to have checked online for information regarding the wind direction in the area on the day Tylee Ryan died. According to law enforcement officials, Ryan’s bones were cremated before being buried in Daybell’s yard.

Garth Daybell told jurors that he lived with Chad and Tammy Daybell and heard no disruptions the night his mother died, despite being awake until early in the morning and having a bedroom adjacent to his parents. He later claimed that police officers and prosecutors attempted to convince him to change his story during the investigation into his father, even threatening him with charges at one point.

“They told me my story was false and I needed to change it,” Garth Daybell explained.

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