Police found missing children’s debit card, iPad with Daybells in Hawaii, sergeant says

May 9, 2024, 5:26 PM | Updated: 5:34 pm

BOISE — Colin Nesbitt, a sergeant with the Kauai Police Department in Hawaii, said he first encountered Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell at a pool on the island.

He showed the jury in Chad Daybell’s murder trial body camera footage from Jan. 25, 2020, of officers delivering an order to Lori Daybell to bring her children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, to the Idaho Department of Health.

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The officers invited the couple to ask them questions, but they didn’t have any. The next day, officers came back with search warrants, finding Chad and Lori Daybell in their vehicle.

Nesbitt testified about items they found, including a debit card belonging to Tylee, an iPad with “JJ” written on it, 17 copies of Charles Vallow‘s death certificate, some birth certificates and $10,500 in cash. He said they also found two laptops in a backpack, four credit cards belonging to Chad Daybell and other documents.

This was about two months after police had begun searching for the two missing children. Their remains were later found in Chad Daybell’s backyard in Salem, Idaho.

Public helps search for the children

Benjamin Dean, an FBI intelligence analyst, said he was tasked with reviewing about 600 to 800 tips sent by the public in March 2020 after a public request was made for information from anyone who had been to Yellowstone National Park around Sept. 8, 2019 — the day Tylee was last seen. He said some were just texts, but many had attached photos and videos.

Dean also reviewed electronic devices seized from Chad Daybell’s home in January 2020, including his deceased wife Tammy Daybell‘s phone.

He said one specific text was “longer and more detailed” than any of the other messages between Tammy and Chad Daybell, and said Chad Daybell described his actions “with some amount of care.”

“This message was the only one that was on this device in which Chad wrote to Tammy such a lengthy and detailed explanation of his day’s events,” Dean said.

The text said: “I’ve had an interesting morning! I felt I should burn all of the limb debris by the fire pit before it got too soaked by the coming storm. While I did so, I spotted a big raccoon along the fence. I hurried and got my gun, and he was still walking along. I got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery. Fun times!”

A second text said: “Gonna shower now and then go write for a while at BYU. Love you.” Tammy Daybell’s response a few hours later was: “Good for you.”

He said the date of the message caught his attention, since it was one day after the day he knew Tylee and JJ had been at Yellowstone with their family.

Tylee’s body was ultimately found in the pet cemetery, as other witnesses have testified during the trial.

DNA samples

Katherine Dace, a forensic biologist with the Idaho State Police, testified about her findings after evaluating items found on Chad Daybell’s property, along with the children’s bodies.

This included human remains found on tools that were carried into the courtroom, and Dace showed the jury where on the tools the remains — ashes and blood — were found. She said human remains on a shovel matched Tylee’s DNA, and remains on a pick ax had a partial DNA profile that also matched Tylee.

Tape and plastic wrapped around JJ’s body tested positive for blood, and she said decomposition fluid often has blood. A hair found near JJ, she said, was very likely Lori Daybell’s hair.

Dace said she tested 18 tools, and nine of those tested positive for blood. But she said the tools did not have enough blood to conduct further DNA testing.

She said they did not test the handles of the shovels for trace DNA from the people who might have been using them because that was not requested and is typically not done unless the ownership of the tools is disputed. She said likely Chad Daybell’s DNA would be found there, but she would expect any of his family’s DNA to be on the tools “through noncriminal means.”

Co-workers say Tammy Daybell was healthy

Three women who worked with Tammy Daybell testified at the end of the day on Thursday, each saying she was healthy right up until the day before her death.

Janet Andersen said Tammy Daybell was friendly, and was friends with everyone. “She was the Energizer bunny … she just never quit,” Andersen said. “She just wasn’t ever sick. She never had a cough or a sniffle or a limp or anything that I noticed.”

Tammy Gee, a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school where Tammy Daybell worked as a librarian, said she spoke to her the day before she died and did not see any health issues. She said she was “shocked” when she heard about the death.

Pamela Peebles said Tammy Daybell knew each child at the school by name and was a good friend and co-worker. She also testified she was shocked when she heard about Tammy Daybell’s death and said the woman had recently told her she felt like she was “in the best health of her life.”

Contributing: Daniel Woodruff, KSL TV

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Police found missing children’s debit card, iPad with Daybells in Hawaii, sergeant says