Defense questions police in Daybell trial day cut short by prosecutor’s loss

Apr 12, 2023, 4:09 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm

The defense questions Det. Ray Hermosillo in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial for murder. (Pool)...

The defense questions Det. Ray Hermosillo in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial for murder. (Pool)


BOISE, Idaho — The third day of testimony in the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell was a short day. By mid-morning court was adjourned, and later the prosecution released this statement:

“There has been a death in the family of one of the prosecutor’s lead attorneys. The Court and defense have been gracious in allowing the prosecution to adjust to this personal situation.”

Click here for complete coverage of the Lori Vallow Daybell trial

Lori 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. 

Ray Hermosillo

In his questioning of Rexburg police detective Ray Hermosillo, defense attorney John Thomas attempted to clarify the timeline of the events and items found when Chad Daybell’s property was searched on June 9 and June 10, 2020.

Thomas also clarified the process of transferring bodies from a crime scene to a coroner’s office, and whether boards that were found at the burial site were also found inside Chad Daybell’s garage.  Hermosillo said that they were not able to match the boards found near the body of Tylee Ryan to those found in Chad Daybell’s garage.

Upon redirect, prosecuting attorney Rob Wood asked Hermosillo about guns found in Vallow Daybell’s garage.

Search warrants, autopsies, and duct tape: an emotional second day of testimony in Lori Vallow trial

“It was extremely suspicious to have those guns along with everything else we located,” Hermosillo told the court. The weapons were photographed, he said, in case police later learned they were used in the attempted homicide of Tammy Daybell.

Ray Hermosillo’s questioning ended with an explanation of how tips from the public are used in a police investigation. He described that they’d set up a hotline through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan were still missing.

He said they received photographs and tips from psychics, but that none of the tips they received led them to JJ Vallow or Tylee Ryan.

A prison call

The prosecution introduced a recorded telephone call between Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell from June 9, 2020, the day the search of Chad Daybell’s property began. As they listened, the jurors heard Chad Daybell tell Lori Vallow Daybell that police were searching his property. The two agreed that Lori should pray for Chad.

At the time, Lori was jailed for failing to return her children to Rexburg. The bodies of the children would be found that day on Chad Daybell’s property.

The last person to testify on day three of the Lori Vallow Daybell trial was a state witness, Lt. Joe Powell of the Fremont County Sheriff’s office. During state questioning, Powell described the exhumation and positive identification of Tammy Daybell, the late wife of Chad Daybell. Along with the murders of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, Chad Daybell is charged with the murder of Tammy Daybell.

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Defense questions police in Daybell trial day cut short by prosecutor’s loss