Chad Daybell appears in court following missing children saga
Chad Daybell, the man accused of hiding the remains of his wife's children from Arizona, made an appearance in court on August 3.
Daybell’s preliminary hearing will be live-streamed from Idaho to the world for the next two days.
The case surrounding a couple with dead former spouses, and doomsday beliefs is being investigated by law enforcement agencies across four states as well as the FBI.
Just two weeks ago, the prosecutor motioned for the hearing to not be broadcasted. Ultimately, the judge said the defendant’s right to a fair trial and the public’s right to information can be balanced.
Daybell and his wife Lori Vallow are currently both behind bars with charges against them relating to the disappearance of Tylee Ryan, 16, and JJ Vallow, 7. Murder charges haven't been filed against either one of them.
The children were missing since September 2019, and for months, family and friends wondered how the children vanished after their mother, Vallow, moved them from Chandler to Rexburg, Idaho.
As authorities in Idaho began the search for the siblings last November, investigators say the newlyweds refused to cooperate. The FBI got involved and the case entered the national spotlight.
“The underlying charge here is destruction alteration and concealment of evidence and the allegation was that it was human remains of two different people," said the presiding judge, Faren Eddins.
Monday marked emotion day in court
During the court proceedings, a phone call recording was played. The call was made by JJ's grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, in December 2019. They wanted to know where their grandson is.
On June 9, investigators uncovered the remains of the children buried under Daybell’s property.
"His hands were folded chest high, folded like this, chest high. Had duct tape continuously wrapped from elbow all the way around arms," said Detective Ray Hermosillo with the Rexburg, Idaho Police Department.
Investigators say they already knew exactly what JJ and Tylee looked like. They already believed that Daybell and Vallow were lying to them, on June 9, their worst fears came true.
A judge is not allowing the video to be published yet, but audio recording from body camera footage taken in December 2019 was allowed to be recorded. The video shows the kids' mother responded to a welfare check for JJ.
"What is all this?" Vallow was heard saying.
"We're a little concerned," officers said at the time. "The officers were here earlier, and they got a bad vibe that something was going on here."
Daybell's defense attorney asked repeatedly why weren't all conversations recorded.
It was the first time JJ's grandparents saw the video. Larry cried while Chad sat stoic. Kay, meanwhile, shook her head, angry and listening to the mother's excuses for lying, accusing her of trying to win custody.
Chad, 51, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of destruction and concealment or alteration of evidence. He also faces two counts of conspiracy to commit those alleged crimes.
Three agents with the FBI Salt Lake City bureau have been subpoenaed for this hearing, along with an employee for Idaho State Police Forensic Services.
Two key witnesses are Melanie Gibb and David Warwick.
Court documents show the two former friends of Daybell and Vallow told detectives about their visit to Rexburg on September 19.
According to the affidavit, Daybell and Vallow believed their mission was to "rid the world of zombies." Gibb says Vallow allegedly called both her children zombies before their deaths.
Nearly a year prior, emails discovered from Daybell to Vallow show how he allegedly graded her family members as light or dark spirits.
Chandler police are still investigating the death of Vallow's fourth husband Charles Vallow who was shot by her brother Alex Cox in July 2019. Cox claimed self-defense and died four months later.
Meanwhile, the Idaho Attorney General is investigating the suspicious death of Daybell’s first wife Tammy, who died in October 2019.
Daybell’s hearing begins Aug. 3 at 9 a.m. MST. It could last through Tuesday, Aug. 4.
For more on this case, visit https://www.fox10phoenix.com/tag/crime-publicsafety/missing-persons/vallow