‘It brings closure’: Victims’ families react to Chad Daybell death sentence

Jun 1, 2024, 10:04 PM | Updated: 11:21 pm

BOISE Family members of the three people murdered by Chad Daybell and his wife Lori Vallow Daybell said they are feeling a sense of healing and closure after the 55-year-old religious author from Utah was given the death penalty Saturday. 

Hearing the words “sentenced to death” by Judge Steven Boyce in the courtroom, following the jury’s unanimous decision, brought the family members of JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan, and Tammy Daybell to tears. 

When court ended, they stood up and hugged, emotional knowing Daybell was headed to death row for heinously killing Tammy Daybell, his wife of 29 years, in their Salem, Idaho home in October 2019 and the youngest two children of Vallow Daybell, 7-year-old JJ and 16-year-old Tylee in September 2019. 

Click here for complete coverage of the Chad Daybell trial

One final time, the group stood out front of the courthouse, being able to say for the first time that this is all finally over. 

“We got justice for our loved ones,” said Vicki Hoban, Tammy Daybell’s aunt. “And that was always what this was about, getting justice for them.” 

Tammy Daybell (Family photo)

The feeling of relief came just 24 hours after a heavy day where some of the same family members gave heart-wrenching victim impact statements to jurors before death sentence deliberations began. 

Tammy Daybell’s brother, Matthew Douglas, explained he wanted to tell jurors to be true to themselves and do what is right or just. 

But because of Idaho statute, he said he wasn’t able to read the portion of his victim impact statement that addressed the jury directly. 

“I offer my sincere gratitude to you as a family member of a victim,” Douglas said, pausing at times as he got choked up reading the words he couldn’t say in court. “Thank you for your time and your selfless sacrifice. I hope you all know how much it means to someone in our position.” 

He asked that jurors get the necessary support and help they need, knowing what they went through. 

“Living it for myself and for all of us who are victims, has been burden enough,” Douglas said. “Please do not carry that burden for us on your heart.” 

Tammy Daybell’s brother Matthew Douglas, surrounded by his siblings and their spouses (KSL TV)

Colby Ryan, JJ and Tylee’s older brother and only surviving child of Vallow Daybell, said he can now close a painful chapter. 

“It doesn’t change the outcome. But it is good news, and it brings closure for everybody that’s been hurt,” he said. 

The hurt for Kay and Larry Woodcock started years ago with asking a simple question about their grandson, when Vallow Daybell wouldn’t let them get in touch with JJ. 

Larry Woodcock said it’s important to speak up when something’s not right. 

“I did, and I’ll do it again. Where are the children? Where are the children? Where are the children?” he asked. 

They received the horrific answer on June 9, 2020, when the children’s remains were discovered on Daybell’s property. The Woodcocks still don’t have any good reasons as to why. Chad Daybell and Vallow Daybell wanting to marry and collect the children’s Social Security benefits to fund their living expenses is an insult, Larry Woodcock has said. 

“For what? What has been accomplished?” Larry Woodcock asked. “Nothing. Nothing has been accomplished.” 

JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan (File photo)

Vallow Daybell was convicted last year of the conspiracy and murders of her children, as well as the conspiracy to murder Tammy and grand theft of the Social Security benefits. 

She will spend life in prison. 

“Everybody’s support is how we have gotten through this,” Kay Woodcock said. “And you know, we’re not through yet.” 

Vallow Daybell is in jail in Arizona, awaiting trial on two cases related to the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow and the attempted murder of her ex-nephew-in-law Brandon Boudreaux. 

JJ Vallow’s grandparents Kay and Larry Woodcock (KSL TV)

Daybell is headed to death row for the conspiracy and murders JJ, Tylee, and Tammy Daybell, plus he received two 15-year prison sentences to run concurrently on two insurance fraud charges for Tammy Daybell’s life insurance policies. 

Tammy Daybell’s brother-in-law Jason Gwilliam talked about how the families of JJ, Tylee, and Tammy are forever bonded together. 

“The hardest part I think about all of this is our family is lost, lost a brother,” he said. “But in the process of it, we’ve almost gained an entire family and that can’t be replaced.” 

Reading a statement, Gwilliam talked about The Tammy Douglas Daybell Foundation started by the family to carry on Tammy’s legacy by increasing literacy and putting books in the hands of children. 

He expressed thankfulness for all the support, as they work to move forward. 

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‘It brings closure’: Victims’ families react to Chad Daybell death sentence