CHAD DAYBELL TRIAL

Texts show Chad and Lori Daybell’s relationship days after her husband’s death

Apr 19, 2024, 4:24 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm

BOISE — Just days after Charles Vallow was shot and killed in his wife Lori Vallow Daybell’s home, she was exchanging sexual texts with Chad Daybell before his wife’s death.

That’s according to testimony Friday from Douglas Hart, a former FBI agent who investigated Lori Daybell’s iCloud accounts.


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He testified the texts showed the couple had a relationship and had plans to be together, and to be together in Hawaii where they eventually went while police were searching for Lori Daybell’s missing children.

Chad Daybell is now on trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of Lori Daybell’s children — 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — and the death of his former wife, Tammy Daybell, in late 2019. He is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of each of the victims, grand theft and two counts of insurance fraud.

Plans to be there

In a text conversation from July 13, 2019, two days after Charles Vallow’s death, Chad Daybell texted Lori Daybell about three of his children graduating 10 days from then, on July 23, and said: “I feel she will be gone by then, but I will still have that hoopla to deal with. … So I believe that’s why the Lord hinted I might not get to be with you until that is over.”

Hart said he believes the “she” he was referring to is Tammy Daybell.

His investigation uncovered a story written by Chad Daybell that he said was autobiographical and chronicled Chad and Lori Daybell’s relationship, using the names James and Elena, which the story said were names from previous lives.

In July 2019, Chad Daybell texted Lori Daybell and thanked her for virtually joining him in the shower, which Hart said was just one example of the couple referencing an ability to “connect on a spiritual plane and be together spiritually,” despite being in different states.

In one text, Chad Daybell said, “I love you so immensely that the whole universe knows it, and very soon the people on this little blue globe will know it too.”

Hart said this shows their relationship was a secret, but there was a plan for it to not to always stay a secret. He said there was a plan Chad Daybell talked about that included him being with Lori Daybell, and Chad Daybell said the plan had been revealed to him in the story he wrote for her.

In the days after Charles Vallow was killed, Hart said there was a lot of “sexting” content between them and he shared several texts with the jury. “It was not an emotional affair or a spiritual affair. It’s very clear that it’s a physical, sexual affair between Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow,” he said.

In another part of the story, Chad Daybell talked about both of them arriving at a temple just weeks after they met. In the text, Chad Daybell said the two knelt across an altar and “knew that they were now sealed as husband and wife for eternity.”

Hart said this explains what their relationship was to each other during the time their spouses were killed. Hart shared other messages sent in the same time frame saying they would beg “father and mother” for them to be together. He said, however, that there was never any communication during that time of Chad Daybell getting a divorce or separating from his wife.

Hart showed texts between the two on July 22, 2019, talking about plans to be on Kauai, an island in Hawaii, together “soon.” He said they got married on that island, and eventually moved there together.

Chad Daybell’s wife died in October 2019. Investigators later determined her death to be a homicide.

Chad Daybell’s attorney questions friend about JJ’s disappearance

Melanie Gibb, who testified Thursday that Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell had determined their then-spouses were “dark” before their deaths, returned to the witness stand Friday for a cross examination by defense attorney John Prior.

Gibb testified on Thursday about “castings,” where she, Lori Daybell and others in their religious group would pray for an evil spirit to leave someone, including Charles Vallow, Lori Daybell’s husband at the time, and Tammy Daybell, Chad Daybell’s wife. Gibb said if the casting was successful, either the person would die or a new spirit would enter their body.

Jurors heard a phone call where Gibb asked Lori Daybell why she lied to police that Gibb was watching JJ when she wasn’t, and the mom was adamant that JJ was “safe and happy” and that she was protecting him.

“I promise you that I have done nothing wrong in this case, but sometimes you have to hide in a cavity of a rock for your own life safety, and that’s what the Lord requires of you sometimes,” Lori Daybell said in the recorded call.

Prior asked Gibb whether Chad Daybell was a major part of that phone conversation, and she said he was not. He asked if it were possible that Lori Daybell had told Chad Daybell that Gibb had JJ, and Gibb said she did not recall anything like that occurring.

He pointed out that, in the phone call, Lori Daybell said, “You more than anyone else know the truth.” Prior asked if Lori Daybell was being vague on that call “because Chad was there,” but Gibb knew what happened to JJ.

Prior asked her detailed questions about her stay with Lori Daybell in Idaho the same weekend that JJ disappeared, asking about specific restaurants and things that they did.

He referred to a phone call with Chad Daybell when he asked her not to answer the phone when police called looking for JJ. He asked Gibb if Chad Daybell asked her where JJ was, but Gibb said she did not. Prior further questioned her about why it took her two weeks to tell police the full story.

Gibb said Prior was also correct that she had not turned over her emails or social media accounts to police during their investigation.

JJ and Tylee’s bodies were found months after the police began their search — in Chad Daybell’s backyard. Investigators determined they had been killed weeks apart in September 2019.

Lori Daybell was found guilty of her role in a trial last year and was given five sentences of life in prison without parole. If he is found guilty, Chad Daybell could be given the death penalty.

The trial ended early Friday, and the judge said it would resume Monday morning.

KSL TV will be streaming the trial for Chad Daybell each day on social media.

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Texts show Chad and Lori Daybell’s relationship days after her husband’s death