Chad Daybell’s family testifies about his demeanor after wife’s death

May 2, 2024, 8:21 PM | Updated: 10:24 pm

BOISE — Chad Daybell’s family testified in his murder trial Thursday, including his mother and his sister-in-law, Heather Daybell, who asked him not to move his family into her Idaho neighborhood.

Chad Daybell is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of his late wife, Tammy Daybell. He faces the same charges for the deaths of the children of his current wife Lori Vallow Daybell. They married 17 days after Tammy Daybell’s death on Oct. 19, 2019.

The children — Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan — were last seen in September 2019, were declared officially missing in December of that year, and then their remains were found in Chad Daybell’s backyard on June 9, 2020. JJ was 7 and Tylee was 16 when they disappeared.

Click here for complete coverage of the Chad Daybell trial

Heather Daybell: ‘It made me feel very uneasy’

Heather Daybell, married to Chad Daybell’s brother Matt Daybell, said in Thursday’s testimony that she was concerned for Tammy Daybell and had a strained relationship with her brother-in-law. She asked Chad Daybell not to move his family to her neighborhood, and was relieved when they agreed not to in 2014.

Human remains found on Daybell property were missing children, family says

She was upset when they later moved approximately a half mile away and asked Chad Daybell not to speak to her children about his beliefs about needing to prepare for the end of the world. She also said she was concerned for Tammy Daybell, who told her she was feeling better about the move to the Rexburg area after initially feeling uncomfortable.

“I tried to support her kids,” she said.

She also testified that she was upset by Chad Daybell’s behavior and words after Tammy Daybell’s death. Heather Daybell said she called Chad Daybell after she learned that his wife had died and asked him what happened.

She testified that Chad Daybell told her his wife had not been feeling well, had started coughing that night, and vomited at approximately midnight because of the hard cough. She said Chad Daybell told her that at approximately 6 a.m., he heard a thud and found that his wife had fallen off the bed.

She said he described Tammy Daybell as “hard,” that she had been dead for a while.

Lori Vallow Daybell found guilty of murdering her children

The prosecution did not clarify how she had fallen out of bed but also had been dead for a while.

“The whole time he was saying that, it felt scripted to me,” Heather Daybell said Thursday. “It made me feel very uneasy.”

She said Chad Daybell told her there would be no autopsy and the funeral would be in two days, leaving Heather and Matt Daybell unable to attend because they were traveling. But Chad Daybell said they were just going to get it done.

She stated that during the grieving period, Chad Daybell would turn his grief on and off.

“It was strange to me that Chad could be smiling and then crying all of a sudden,” Heather Daybell said. “His demeanor seemed strange to me.”

She also found it strange he was late to the post-funeral luncheon and then acted as though it were a normal day.

“I wouldn’t guess that just days previous, he had just lost his wife. He just didn’t seem upset,” Heather Daybell said.

Weeks later, she learned in a phone call that Chad Daybell had remarried and that his children were struggling and upset. She testified that Chad Daybell told her that Tammy Daybell died of an embolism.

“I remember being so flustered by that explanation, because he had given me a different one weeks before,” Heather Daybell said.

Sheila Daybell describes Chad Daybell’s demeanor as ‘upset’

Chad Daybell’s mother Sheila Daybell also took the stand Thursday and said her son was an introvert and that his only serious romantic relationship, prior to marrying Lori Vallow, was with Tammy Daybell. But she believed he was upset at his wife’s passing.

“He just looked like someone who had their partner pass away,” she said. But she didn’t believe it was common for a person to marry two weeks after their spouse dies.

She was also surprised to learn about her son’s wedding after it already happened. While meeting Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell at a restaurant in Idaho Falls, she and her husband learned the news.

“We noticed that they had these rings on and my husband said, ‘Are you engaged?’ and they said, ‘No, we’re married,” Sheila Daybell said.

In questioning from the defense team, Sheild Daybell said it was Lori Vallow Daybell who told her that she had a daughter who had died. She described her new daughter-in-law as “very friendly, very upbeat.”

Kay Woodcock testifies about the final contact with JJ Vallow

JJ’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock, was the day’s first witness and said she and her husband, Larry Woodcock, cared for JJ for eight or nine months and would see him every two or three months afterward.

She said she was very close with her brother Charles Vallow and that “Lori seemed to be a wonderful person,” and that when they were a couple, they adopted JJ.

Lori Vallow’s late brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Charles Vallow on July 11, 2019, in what he told authorities was an act of self-defense.

Woodcocks elated to get justice with guilty verdict

She said Lori Vallow limited contact with JJ. She last had contact with him on Aug. 10, 2019, via Facetime.

“She would never respond. Not one time would she respond,” Kay Woodcock said.

Charles Vallow designated Kay Woodcock as his beneficiary before he was shot and killed by Cox instead of his wife, Lori Vallow.

Angela Yancey testifies about payroll benefits

Angela Yancey said she worked with Tammy Daybell as a school teacher and that Chad Daybell moved quickly to collect benefits after Tammy Daybell’s death.

“Tammy had passed away sometime between Saturday and Sunday and he was in my office Monday morning,” Yancey said.

She also found it unusual that he told her he ordered eight death certificates.

Investigator David Stubbs testifies

During the search for JJ and Tylee, Det. David Stubbs was with the Rexburg Police Department. He was a witness in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial and said Thursday he kept up on his training to use electronics to dig deep into cell phone data.

He said law enforcement was concerned about an attempted shooting of Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Lori Vallow Daybell‘s niece, Melani Pawlowskit. Stubbs said police were monitoring Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell in their possible connection to that shooting.

He later followed up when police inquired about JJ’s well-being after Kay Woodcock told them they were concerned.

Prosecution dives deep into search histories in Lori Vallow Daybell murder trial

He detailed watching Chad and Lori Daybell enter a Hobby Lobby holding hands not long after the death of Tammy Daybell. He was one officer who executed a search warrant of three different residences to try to locate JJ or Tylee.

Neighbors of Chad Daybell testify he told them Lori Vallow’s daughter had died

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Chad Daybell’s family testifies about his demeanor after wife’s death