Day 5: Chad Daybell transferred thousands of dollars to children hours before arrest

Testimony continues in Chad Daybell’s criminal trial.

The 55-year-old father is accused of first-degree murder and conspiring to commit murder in the deaths of two of his wife’s children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, and his then-wife Tammy Daybell. He’s also charged with two counts of insurance fraud.

Daybell pleaded not guilty to the eight felonies against him.

The potential eight-week trial is expected to mirror the trial of his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell. Roughly 60 witnesses were called during her trial, and so far all of the witnesses called in Chad Daybell’s trial were also called in his wife’s trial.

Rexburg Police Detective Chuck Kunsaitis was the first witness called Wednesday, and the eighth witness overall. It’s the second week of testimony.

3:30 p.m.: Chad Daybell transferred money to children just before arrest

Chad Daybell transferred thousands of dollars to three of his adult children less than an hour before he was arrested in June 2019 — and while law enforcement was searching his property, where Tylee and JJ’s remains were found.

FBI forensic accountant Michael Douglass, the ninth witness called by the prosecution, outlined several financial transactions made by the Daybells in the months before and after the deaths of the children and of Tammy Daybell. Douglass said Daybell transferred a total of $24,000 — $8,000 each — to three children who lived in the Rexburg area just before 10 a.m. on June 9, 2019.

EastIdahoNews reported that Daybell was arrested at roughly 11:30 a.m. that day.

There were several other transactions between Daybell and his children from his marriage with Tammy in the surrounding months, including $1,000 transfers to three of his children in December 2019, when the Rexburg Police Department announced Tylee and JJ were missing.

Douglass also said Vallow Daybell purchased several airline flights for Daybell, including a March 2019 flight to Arizona.

Testimony during Vallow Daybell’s trial showed Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell were having a months-long affair while they were still married to their spouses. Douglass added that Daybell also purchased disposable phones at least four times between October 2018 and September 2019.

Daybell increased Tammy Daybell’s life insurance policy on Sept. 8, 2019 — the same day Tylee was last seen, Douglass said. Tammy Daybell was killed in October 2019.

Just a few weeks later, on Nov. 1, 2019, Chad Daybell stopped writing for Another Voice of Warning, an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that believes in the end of times, and received his last paycheck, Douglass said. Four days later, Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell got married on a beach in Hawaii.

Douglass also discussed Vallow Daybell’s finances some. He said she illegally received over $22,000 in Social Security benefits. Vallow Daybell was convicted of grand theft for continuing to collect her children’s benefits following their deaths.

Court adjourned just before 3:30 p.m., and Douglass is expected to continue testifying Thursday.

2 p.m.: Vallow Daybell’s financial crimes aren’t tied to Chad Daybell, attorney says

John Prior, Daybell’s attorney, began questioning Kunsaitis just before 1:30 p.m. after roughly four hours of testimony on behalf of the prosecution. In his cross-examination Prior picked at Kunsaitis’ testimony questioning how financial decisions made by Vallow Daybell mattered concerning the allegations against Chad Daybell.

Kunsaitis said there wasn’t evidence Daybell was using the money from the children’s Social Security benefits after their deaths. “Those allegations have to do with Lori Vallow (Daybell)?” Prior asked.

“Yes,” Kunsaitis said, later adding that the Daybells were married at the time Vallow Daybell was using those funds.

Prior also questioned why Kunsaitis included information in a timeline he created about several flights Daybell took to Arizona, surrounding the death of Vallow Daybell’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was shot and killed in July 2019.

Police have said they believe Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, who died in December 2019, shot and killed Charles Vallow. Prosecutors charged Vallow Daybell in Arizona with conspiracy to commit murder in Vallow Daybell’s death, but didn’t charge Chad Daybell.

Prior said he felt the Kunsaitis timeline “somehow implicate(d)” Chad Daybell in Charles Vallow’s death.

“That really has nothing to do with the death of Charles Vallow?” Prior asked, referring to the several flights Vallow Daybell purchased for Chad Daybell.

“No,” Kunsaitis responded.

11 a.m.: ‘No children,’ Daybell emailed realty company in Hawaii

In November 2019 — weeks after the children went missing — Chad Daybell emailed a realty company in Hawaii asking to look at a property.

“Would the owners be interested in leasing this property to a clean couple, with no pets or children?” according to a Nov. 8, 2019, email from Chad Daybell’s account. The Daybells had just gotten married three days earlier on a beach in Hawaii.

Kunsaitis also looked at Vallow Daybell’s brother’s finances. Kunsaitis said that around August 2019, just before the family was moving to Idaho, Cox began purchasing firearms, which was something he hadn’t done before. Law enforcement has alleged that Cox was connected to the killings of the children.

Kunsaitis added that Cox stopped working when he moved to Idaho. Cox is also accused of shooting and killing his sister’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, along with attempting to kill his niece’s ex-husband, Brandon Boudreaux. Vallow Daybell now faces two felony charges in Arizona in connection to those shootings.

9:15 a.m.: Vallow Daybell closed Tylee’s bank account following death

One of Tylee’s bank accounts showed that she used to spend money on a daily basis and made a considerable amount of her purchases in person, according to testimony from Kunsaitis. But he said that all stopped on Sept. 1, 2019.

Kunsaitis said Tylee used her bank card in person in St. George, Utah, and she was likely traveling from Arizona to Idaho as her family moved to Rexburg around that time. But Tylee, who was days away from her 17th birthday, stopped making in-person purchases after that stop in Utah and no one saw her after Sept. 8, 2019, at Yellowstone National Park.

“Nothing in our investigation has shown that she is living after this date,” Kunsaitis said.

Both Tylee and JJ were receiving survivor benefits from Social Security after their fathers died. By mid-September, Vallow Daybell had contacted Social Security to switch Tylee’s payments to her bank account, and closed Tylee’s account. During her trial, Vallow Daybell was convicted of grand theft for continuing to collect her children’s Social Security benefits after their deaths.

“There was no more use for it,” Kunsaitis said, referring to Vallow Daybell closing her daughter’s checking account. Vallow Daybell transferred the remaining money into her account, he added.

Chad Daybell murder trial in Boise begins. Here’s what to know about the case

The Idaho Statesman will have a reporter covering the trial at the Ada County Courthouse providing live, daily updates at You can also follow criminal justice reporter Alex Brizee on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @alex_brizee or breaking news reporter Sally Krutzig at @sallykrutzig.