Testimony continues in Chad Daybell trial: detective describes moment they discovered JJ and Tylee’s remains

Apr 11, 2024, 5:14 PM | Updated: 7:33 pm

EDITOR’S NOTE: Information may be disturbing to some readers, reader discretion is advised.

BOISE, Idaho — In the second day of the trial of Chad Daybell, a detective described the heavy moments they discovered the remains of the once missing 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. 

Chad Daybell is charged with the first-degree murder of his first wife Tammy Douglas Daybell, and his two stepchildren, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

Chad Daybell is married to Lori Vallow Daybell, who was convicted of six felonies last summer involving the deaths of her two children and conspiring to murder Chad Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell.

Click here for complete coverage of the Chad Daybell trial

Detective Ray Hermosillo with the Rexburg Police Department continued the testimony he began on Wednesday. He described the scent of decomposition they experienced as they began to dig near a pond on Chad Daybell’s property.

Photos were shown of the plastic bag they unburied containing a small body, later confirmed to be JJ.

Some of the jurors became emotional.

Hermosillo then described digging the firepit area on Chad Daybell’s property, where they found evidence of body decomposition.

“We assumed it was Tylee,” Hermosillo said. 

Hermosillo explained the remains were heavily decomposed, dismembered, and charred. Investigators worked for “hours” meticulously removing them and placing them into a body bag.

Both sets of remains were taken to the county coroner’s office for autopsies. Hermosillo said JJ was in red pajamas and bound in duct tape.

“I observed a small child with duct tape on his head, from his chin to his forehead area,” Hermosillo said.

The detective explained an autopsy could not be performed on Tylee’s remains.

In cross-examination, Chad Daybell’s defense attorney, John Prior, focused on an event where Tammy Daybell was shot at while in her driveway. Prior showed a screenshot where Tammy Daybell had posted in a  Facebook group that she believed she had been shot at with a paintball gun, but Hermosillo said he believed it was a real gun.

Hermosillo told Prior that he had reasoned it was a real gun based on previous Google searches Alex Cox had made. He did not specify what those were.

Cox is believed to be the person who shot at Tammy Daybell based on testimony given by his girlfriend in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial and evidence that his phone was in the area of Tammy Daybell’s home at the time the shots were fired.

Cox was found dead of natural causes the day after Tammy Daybell’s body was exhumed.

Prior implied the shooting could have been targeting Chad Daybell.

Hermosillo said there are several events that lead him to believe Chad Daybell was involved including a lack of cooperation from Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell.

“Chad Daybell never called Rexburg Police to tell them there may be dead children in his backyard,” Hermosillo said.

Court will resume Monday morning.

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Testimony continues in Chad Daybell trial: detective describes moment they discovered JJ and Tylee’s remains