BOISE, Idaho - Jurors in the triple murder trial of a woman accused in the deaths of her two children and a romantic rival were shown gruesome photographs of the slain children Tuesday afternoon, as the grandfather of one of the kids sobbed in the back of the courtroom.
Seven-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and his big sister Tylee Ryan were last seen in September of 2019, sparking a nationwide search. The search ended in tragedy the following year when their bodies were found buried in an eastern Idaho yard.
Lori Vallow Daybell and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, are both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, murder and grand theft in connection with the deaths of JJ and Tylee, the latter of whom was last seen shortly before her 17th birthday in 2019. The children were buried on Chad Daybell’s property. Prosecutors also charged the couple in connection with the October 2019 death of Chad Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell.
Both defendants have pleaded not guilty and are being tried separately. Vallow Daybell’s trial began this month, and Chad Daybell’s trial is still months away. Vallow Daybell faces up to life in prison if convicted.
A police detective from Rexburg, Idaho was the only witness to take the stand Tuesday. Detective Ray Hermosillo explained how the investigation started — with a call from an Arizona law enforcement agency seeking help to track down a vehicle that was suspected in an attempted shooting — as well the condition of the children’s bodies when they were unearthed eight months later.
Det. Hermosillo took the stand again on Wednesday, followed by two other law enforcement officials.
Court was cut short on Wednesday, lasting only about three hours. More testimony is planned for Thursday and Friday.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.
FOX 10's Justin Lum is in Idaho covering the trial. Follow him at @jlumfox10 on Twitter for the latest from the courtroom.