Jury hears of disturbing moment police discovered Tylee and JJ’s remains
Apr 11, 2023, 12:38 PM | Updated: 2:18 pm
Detective Ray Hermosillo testified of the discovery in the Lori Vallow Daybell Trial.
Vallow Daybell is charged with seven felonies. She and her husband Chad Daybell are accused of murdering her two children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Vallow Daybell is also accused of conspiring to murder Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell.
Hermosillo helped execute a search warrant on June 9, 2020, for Chad Daybell‘s property. After law enforcement arrived at approximately 7 a.m. and announced their purpose, Chad asked to contact his lawyer.
FBI arrived along with some additional detectives and began marking off different areas in the backyard while Chad talked on the phone to his attorney from his car.
“While he was on the phone, he had his phone in his right hand, he was intently looking over his right shoulder. He would talk for a second, looking over his right shoulder, watching what was going on,” Hermosillo said.
Hermosillo said he observed the tree and pond area where Chad seemed to be looking.
A model of Chad Daybell’s property can be found here.
By about 9 a.m. Hermosillo was asked to assist in the area by the pond, underneath the tree.
“I observed the emergency response team remove the top layer of soil in that area. As they began removing the top layer of that soil, it began to expose 3 large white rocks. And at that point there was a strong odor,” Hermosillo said. “Through my training experience, that was a decomposing body.”
Hermosillo is explaining the pictures showing a progressive excavation of the burial site of JJ, under a tree.
He is asked about smell
"As soon as we removed the top soil we were able to smell."
Top soil to white rocks to wood paneling then to moist soil with black plastic.
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) April 11, 2023
As investigators scraped and brushed through the different layers of dirt, they found a black plastic bag with a small body wrapped in it.
“We were able to see what looked like brown human hair,” Hermosillo said.
Images were shown to the jury.
The moment the body was discovered, Hermosillo said they were told that “Chad Daybell was leaving his daughters residence at a high rate of speed.”
“At that time, Chad Daybell was pulled over and taken into custody,” Hermosillo said.
In another spot, labeled a pet cemetery on Chad’s property, Hermosillo observed law enforcement excavating methodically.
In that area, they uncovered burnt flesh and charred bone, they assumed were the remains of Tylee.
As it grew late in the evening, officers secured the scene to return the next morning and resume the recovery of remains and evidence.
“There were several officers from Rexburg Police Department, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office that were scheduled to be there all night to watch the scene,” Hermosillo said. “We had two big light trucks that were given to us by the fire department to illuminate the scene all night to make sure the scene wasn’t compromised.”
The search and recovery continued on June 10 and the remains were sent to the Ada County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.
They have now gone through, photo by photo, discovering JJ's body. Larry Woodcock shoots a look at Lori, then begins to cry. Wiping tears away, he leans forward in his seat over his knees. Lori looks straight down at table. #LoriVallowDaybellTrial #LoriVallowDaybell @KSL5TV
— Lauren Steinbrecher (@LaurenSnews) April 11, 2023
The jury was shown images of the excavation and remains found and appeared rattled. Larry Woodcock began to cry.
The testimony has given a timeline to the jury of when Vallow Daybell and Chad were investigated and the grisly details of how the children were discovered.
The trial was moved to Ada County, Idaho, instead of being held in Rexburg in an effort to find people who hadn’t heard of the trial to form an impartial jury.
Hermosillo’s testimony will continue this afternoon.