Editor’s note: This timeline was originally published Jan. 17, 2020. It has been updated with the latest events as of April 11, 2022.
REXBURG — In December 2019, the world learned that two children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and his sister, Tylee Ryan, were missing.
Since then, investigators found the children’s remains. Their mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, and her new husband, Chad Daybell, have been arrested and charged. EastIdahoNews.com created the following timeline of events.
Written timeline of events
Chad and Tammy Daybell married on March 9, 1990, in Manti, Utah, according to her obituary. The couple lived in Springville, Utah, where they founded Spring Creek Book Company, through which Chad Daybell, an author, published many of his books. The couple had five children before moving to their home in Salem, Idaho, in 2015. Tammy Daybell worked as a school librarian.
In 2006, marriage records show Lori married her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Lori entered the marriage with her son, Colby, and Tylee, the daughter with her third husband, Joseph Ryan Jr. Family members say in 2014, Charles and Lori adopted Joshua “JJ” Vallow. He is the biological grandson of Charles’ sister Kay Woodcock, who is married to Larry Woodcock.
Social media posts indicate that sometime in 2014, the Vallows moved to the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The couple operated a small business on the island, as indicated by business records. The family then moved back to the mainland between 2016 and 2017.
While the Vallow family lived in Arizona, Tylee’s father, Joseph Ryan, died on April 3, 2018. According to a copy of the medical examiner’s report, the cause of death was ruled as a heart attack. He was cremated and little other information is available about his death.
Almost one year before the public announcement of the cases, Chad and Lori made their first appearance together on the Preparing a People Podcast “Time to Warrior Up.” The two appeared with others on several of the podcasts; many focused on the end of the world. Preparing a People has since removed the podcast and publicly dissociated itself from the couple.
A felony indictment indicates that on Oct. 26, 2018, Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell began discussing their religious beliefs to justify killing Tammy Daybell, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan. The couple is believed to have met around this time at a religious conference in St. George, Utah
Arizona police body camera footage shows Charles Vallow pleading for Lori to receive mental health help at Community Bridges on Jan. 31. Officers determined she had a normal state of mind and she was medically cleared by Community Bridges.
Two months after the podcast begins, Charles files for divorce from Lori in February. He claimed she viewed herself as a god preparing for the second coming of Christ, according to court documents obtained by Fox10 Phoenix. Charles claimes his wife would kill him if he got in her way to perform her mission. The divorce proceedings are later stopped after Charles says he wants to make the marriage work.
During divorce proceedings, the family says Lori disappeared to Hawaii in February for nearly two months and left the children with others.
Around June, Lori Daybell’s niece, Melani Boudreaux, demands a divorce from her husband, Brandon Boudreaux, as first reported by Fox13 Salt Lake City. Brandon claims Melani affiliated herself with similar beliefs as her aunt and had joined “a cult.” The demands for a divorce came as a shock to Brandon as he thought their marriage was fine.
On July 11, Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, shoots and kills Charles Vallow. Alex says the shooting was in self-defense, but police were still investigating the incident. By the end of August 2019, Lori, Tylee, JJ, Alex and Melani Boudreaux move to Rexburg, Idaho.
Just days after Charles was killed, Chad texted Lori what investigators called a “romance novel.” Chad who was still married wrote the story that described in detail a sexual relationship between James and Elena, the names he reportedly used to fill in for Chad and Lori
.On Sept. 8, Tylee, JJ, Lori and Alex visit Yellowstone National Park. Officials say this is the last time anyone saw Tylee. The FBI later asks for help from anyone who may have photos of the family taken that day in the park.
Chad Daybell signs an application with Tammy Daybell onSept. 8 to increase Tammy’s LifeMap insurance to the maximum amount allowed on the policy.
On Sept. 9, phone records place Alex on Chad Daybell’s property in the general area where investigators would eventually find Tylee’s body. That same day, Chad allegedly texts Tammy saying he shot a raccoon and buried it in the area.
Lori Daybell enrolls JJ in school on Sept. 3, Kennedy Elementary School Principal Josh Wilson told EastIdahoNews.com. Less than three weeks later, JJ attends class for the last time and his mother unenrolls him, saying he would be homeschooled. Tylee was never enrolled in school in Idaho.
On Oct. 1, Lori rents a 10×10 storage unit from Self Storage Plus in Rexburg. Surveillance video at the facility, exclusively obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, shows Lori and a man associated with her visiting the unit nine times in October and once in November. Often the man, who appears to be Alex, comes alone. Another visit shows Alex and a man who appears to be Chad. During one visit, Chad and Lori appear to visit the storage facility together.
On Oct. 2, Brandon Boudreaux says he was shot at with the bullet missing his head by inches. Arizona Central reports the shooter was driving a Jeep registered to then-dead Charles Vallow. That same day, Lori purchases a wedding ring on Amazon, later seen on her finger at Chad and Lori’s beach wedding.
Days later, on Oct. 9, Tammy Daybell calls 911 and says a masked man shot at her in her driveway with a paintball gun. She posts about the experience on Facebook, saying she has no idea who the person was or why they would shoot at her. Court documents later indicate Alex Cox attempted to shoot and kill Tammy that day.
Ten days later, Chad Daybell calls 911 saying Tammy died in her sleep at their Salem home. Detectives visit the home and investigators originally rule the death as natural. Tammy is buried at the Evergreen Cemetary in Springville on Oct. 22.. The family holds a memorial service in Rexburg the following day.
Within weeks of Tammy’s death, Chad and Lori are married in Hawaii on Nov. 5. They then return to Rexburg. Over the coming weeks, police say Chad told witnesses that Lori had no minor children. Police also say Lori told people Tylee died years earlier.
On Nov. 26, the Rexburg Police Department conducts a welfare check for JJ at the request of his grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock. They had not spoken with the boy in months. Police do not see JJ at the townhome at 565 Pioneer Road and Lori tells police JJ was with her friend, Melanie Gibb, in Arizona. Police determine within days that JJ was not with Gibb.
The next morning, Nov. 27, the Rexburg Police Department serves a search warrant. When police arrive, they discovered the Daybells had quickly left.
Court documents indicate that on Dec. 1, Chad and Lori catch an American Airlines flight to Lihue, Hawaii on the island of Kauai. The children are not with their parents.
On Dec. 6, Melanie Gibb contacts the Rexburg Police Department to say that Chad and Lori called her on Nov. 26 and asked her to lie about the location of JJ.
As deputies investigate, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office determines Tammy Daybell’s death is “suspicious.” Tammy’s body is exhumed on Dec. 11 and perform an autopsy in Utah. The results of the autopsy are not released.
On Dec. 12, Alex Cox dies under mysterious circumstances in Gilbert, Arizona. His autopsy later reveals he died of a blood clot.
On Dec. 20, the Rexburg Police Department announces JJ and Tylee are missing. Police say their disappearance is possibly linked to the suspicious death of Tammy Daybell. The following day, police call Chad and Lori “persons of interest.”
On Dec. 23, the attorney representing the Daybells, Sean Bartholick, releases a statement calling the parents loving and devoted. He says the allegations will be addressed once they move beyond “rumor and speculation.”
On Dec. 30, the Rexburg Police Department issues a news release saying they have information indicating Lori knows either the location of the children or what has happened to them. They call the parents’ lack of cooperation “astonishing” as the couple refuse to cooperate.
Local investigators and the FBI serve a search warrant on the Daybell home in Salem on Jan. 3. Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries says investigators recovered 43 items, including computers, cell phones, journals, documents and medications. These are sent to an FBI lab for further analysis.
As investigators continue to look for the kids, Larry and Kay Woodcock travel to Rexburg from their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana. They announce a $20,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the kids.
RELATED | ‘All I want is just to see those children.’ Grandparents announce $20K reward for JJ and Tylee
Chad Daybell’s brother, Matt Daybell, pleads for him to cooperate with the investigation on Jan. 10. Matt says his immediate family had little association with Chad due to concerns about his religious claims and books he authored.
Body camera footage is released detailing the moments after Alex Cox is believed to have shot and killed Charles Vallow. In police reports, portions of Alex’s and Lori’s story contradict one another.
On Jan. 25, the Kauai Police Department serves Lori with a notice stating she must produce JJ and Tylee to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or the Rexburg Police Department within five days.
EastIdahoNews.com reporters Nate Eaton and Eric Grossarth fly to Kauai and on Jan. 26, confront Chad and Lori after police stop them at the Kauai Beach Resort. Law enforcement seizes the couple’s rental car and search their rental townhome in Princeville, Hawaii. The parents refuse to say where the children are.
On Jan. 29, Kay and Larry Woodcock file for guardianship of JJ in the Madison County Magistrate court. This comes as the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare conducts its own investigation into the children’s safety.
On Jan. 30, Lori misses the 5 p.m. deadline to produce JJ and Tylee. Kay Woodcock holds a news conference expressing her disappointment.
On Feb. 3, EastIdahoNews.com visits the storage unit where Lori abandoned several of the kids’ items. Bikes, a scooter, winter clothing, a photo album with pictures of JJ and Tylee, sports equipment, a backpack with JJ’s initials and a jersey with Colby Ryan’s name on it are left in the unit. There are also blankets showing photos of the children – one focused on JJ with the other showing photos of Tylee.
On Feb. 12, Kay Woodcock tells EastIdahoNews.com that in February 2019, Charles removed Lori from a $1 million life insurance policy. Woodcock was named the sole beneficiary.
On Feb. 20, police in Kauai arrest Lori on a $5 million warrant out of Madison County. She is charged with two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. She is also charged with arrests and seizures – resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, and contempt of court – willful disobedience of court process or order.
On Feb. 26, Lori waives her extradition to Idaho after six days behind bars in Hawaii. The waiver comes after multiple attempts to reduce bail fail.
Idaho authorities extradite Lori from Hawaii to Rexburg on March 5. They land in an airplane at the Rexburg airport and Nate Eaton attempts to speak with her before deputies drive Lori to the Madison County Jail. She refuses to speak.
Lori makes her initial court appearance in Rexburgon March 6. Hundreds wait in line hoping to catch a glimpse of the hearing where Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins reduces her bail to $1 million. She remains in jail unable to post bond.
On March 24, Lori’s attorney, Mark Means, files a motion to reduce Vallow’s bail again. Means noted that “new facts have come to light” since a previous bond hearing, but does not elaborate.
On April 9, EastIdahoNews.com obtains a letter from the Idaho Attorney General stating Chad and Lori are under investigation for conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.
On May 1, Lori walks into a Madison County courtroom to ask for a reduction in bail again. Means argues the jail recorded a conversation between the two thus violating her constitutional rights. Judge Michelle Mallard denies the request, keeping bail at $1 million.
The Maricopa County Medical Examiner releases the autopsy of Alex Cox on May 8. They say Alex died of natural causes – specifically blood clots in the lungs.
Melanie Gibb, a close friend of Lori and Chad, breaks her silence to EastIdahoNews.com and reveals explosive new details about their relationship and religious beliefs.
Around 7 a.m. on June 9, the Rexburg Police Department, FBI and Fremont County Sheriff’s Office serve a search warrant at Chad’s home. Within hours, investigators uncover unidentified human remains and bring in a backhoe to dig deeper in the yard. Days later, officials confirm the remains are those of JJ and Tylee.
Around 11:30 a.m. on June 9, Chad is taken into custody about a mile from his home, just moments after law enforcement find the remains. He’s booked into the Fremont County Jail on two felony charges of concealment, distribution or alteration of evidence.
Chad makes his first court appearance on June 10 via video from the jail. Magistrate Judge Ferren Eddins sets bail at $1 million.
Memorials are set up in Rexburg along the fence of the property where the children had been found. Several candlelight vigils are held in their honor.
On June 29, prosecutors file charges against Lori including two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
On July 2, prosecutors dismiss two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children against Lori. On July 15, she pleads not guilty to misdemeanor resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court.
On Aug. 3 and 4, the preliminary hearing for Chad Daybell is held in Fremont County. Friends, investigators and witnesses testify and Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins rules the prosecution has enough probable cause to advance the case to the District Court.
Lori waives her preliminary hearing scheduled on Aug. 10 and 11 in Fremont County. The case automatically moves to District Court.
Chad appears for his District Court arraignment on Aug. 21 before District Judge Steven Boyce. He pleads not guilty to the felony charges.
On Aug. 27, Chad’s attorney, John Prior, asks District Judge Steven Boyce to dismiss the entire case against his client.
Rob Wood files a motion on Sept. 1 asking to combine the cases for Chad and Lori. He says having the cases would be more efficient for those involved since he plans to present the same evidence and witnesses.
On Sept. 10, Lori is arraigned in District Court where she pleads not guilty to the two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
On Oct. 19, the anniversary of Tammy Daybell’s death, her parents and siblings announce the creation of the Tammy Douglas Daybell Foundation “to honor her legacy of service and love of literacy.”
On Nov. 5, EastIdahoNews.com obtains audio of Lori saying she “was going to murder” her third husband, Joe Ryan, while speaking at a meeting in Oct. 2018. She says she became closer to God and did not need to act against Joe.
In January, an audio recording between prosecutor Rob Wood and Summer Shiflet, Lori’s sister, is released. Wood tells Summer he plans to file conspiracy to commit murder charges against the Daybells.
LISTEN | New information revealed in recording between Lori Daybell’s sister and Prosecutor Rob Wood
On Feb. 4, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office announces Tammy Daybell’s autopsy is complete but details are not released. That same day, newly elected Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake requests the Tammy Daybell death investigation case be sent back to her office from the Idaho Attorney General. The AG transfers the case.
On March 22, Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood adds veteran homicide attorney Rachel Smith, of Missouri, to his team to assist in the case against Chad Daybell.
On May 24, a grand jury indicted Chad and Lori Daybell on several new felony charges, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Prosecutors announced the charges during a May 25 news conference, releasing the indictment containing additional information surrounding the homicides of Tylee Ryan, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tammy Daybell.
On June 8, Lori Vallow Daybell is committed to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. A psychologist deemed her not fit for trial and a judge agreed she could not help in her defense. She could be committed for up to 90-days before the judge reviews are competency.
Chad Daybell pleads not guilty to all counts handed down by the grand jury on June 9. His family as well as the family of the victims sat in the courtroom.
On June 24, a grand jury in Arizona indicted Lori Vallow Daybell Thursday for conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Prosecutors declined to press charges against Chad Daybell saying there is “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.”
On July 29, prosecutors dropped the destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence charges against Chad and Lori Daybell.
Prosecutors announced on Aug. 5 they will seek the death penalty against Chad Daybell saying “the nature and magnitude of these crimes warrant the possibility of the highest possible punishment.”
By Aug. 30, Lori is still incompetent to stand trial and more competency hearings are scheduled. In September, prosecutors ask if Lori should be forced to take medications as the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare suggest she should
In an interview with CBS’ “48 Hours,” Chad Daybell’s children say their father was framed. They also say their mother died of asphyxiation. Authorities have not released her cause of death but multiple sources close to the investigation tell EastIdahoNews.com she died from asphyxiation.
Following a change of venue hearing on Oct. 5, District Judge Steven Boyce rules the Daybell trial will be moved from Fremont County to Ada County. The Idaho Supreme Court approves the move to Idaho’s most populous county.
On Oct. 7, Chandler, Arizona Police release their entire case file for the investigation into Charles’ homicide. Included are gigabytes of never before seen video interviews, audio recordings, text messages and police reports.
On Dec. 28, , District Judge Steven Boyce ordered that Mark Mean’s Lori Daybell’s attorney can no longer represent her. Boyce cites the conflict of interest in Means representing both Chad and Lori as well as concerns over his legal competency and effectiveness.
In March, Arizona prosecutors announce they will not file conspiracy to commit murder charges against Chad Daybell in the attempted shooting case of Brandon Boudreaux. They cite “no reasonable likelihood of conviction” as the reason. Prosecutors do not announce if Lori will face charges.
On March 21, Judge Boyce denies a request from John Prior to sever Chad’s case from Lori’s.
On April 11, Judge Boyce issues a written order saying Lori Daybell is competent for trial and fit to proceed. She is ordered to be released from a Department of Health and Welfare facility and an arraignment date is set.
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