Image Source: John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool
On June 9, 2020, Chad Daybell was arrested for the alleged murder of his two children, Joshua and Tylee, and his former wife of 30 years. He was additionally charged for alleged insurance fraud as well as destroying evidence after the police were granted a search warrant for his home. Along with Chad Daybell’s charges, Lori Vallow, his current wife, was arrested for grand theft for allegedly drawing Social Security benefits from her children even after many days of their deaths.
The police have raised various suspicions prior to the charges when court documents revealed how Daybell and Vallow did not invite Joshua and Tylee to their wedding ceremony in Hawaii. The police have additionally noted that the timing of the wedding ceremony came only after a few weeks of the death of Daybell’s former wife.
Before the murder trial, Chad Daybell was most known for his self-published novels about doomsday and the apocalypse. Daybell’s family and friends have even added how he and his wife believe in divergent religious beliefs, that may have played an influence on the murder of his children and former wife.
In the statement made by Gary Hagen, Rexburg’s assistant chief of police, he has stated that “during the search of the property, investigators found what appears to be unidentified human remains” (JACKSONVILLE). Their children’s remains were found buried in the backyard of Daybell’s property, in Fremont County, nine months after their grandparents reported them missing. Law Enforcement reports show that Joshua’s body was covered with a black plastic tarp and Tylee’s body was burned and dismembered (EASTIDAHONEWS).
Court paperwork by the prosecutors described Chad Daybell’s crimes as "heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity." Attorneys during the trial even stated that Daybell showed no mercy for his own children and had "utter disregard for human life" (CNN).
According to court documents, Idaho state prosecutors are planning to seek the death penalty for Chad Daybell if convicted of any of the murder charges. In the statement, prosecutors Lindsay Blake, Fremont County, and Rob Wood have stated how they "determined that the nature and magnitude of these crimes warrant the possibility of the highest possible punishment." (USA TODAY). Chad Daybell pleaded not guilty to all of his charges including his murder charges, insurance fraud, as well as the destruction of evidence.
On the other hand, Lori Vallow was placed at a mental health institute to get treated for the trial. Though Idaho state law does not take into account an insanity defense, they deemed that Lori Vallow was unfit to stand on trial without assistance after a psychological assessment. Vallow has pleaded not guilty to any of her charges, including her alleged grand theft as well as child abandonment.
Daybell’s trial is set to start on November 8, 2021, while Vallow will continue to seek treatment in her mental health institute until the judge determines she is ready for trial (CNN).