Jail recording as boy's body discovered played during Chad Daybell murder trial

The second "doomsday cult" murder trial entered its second week Monday. Chad Daybell is charged with the murders of his former wife and "JJ" Vallow (L) and Tylee Ryan, the two children of his current wife, Lori Vallow. File Photo courtesy of the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children

April 15 (UPI) -- A jail phone call recorded was played Monday for jurors, during the third day of testimony in Chad Daybell's triple murder trial in Boise, Idaho, shortly before the remains of his wife's 7-year-old son were found buried on his property.

The three-minute phone call between Daybell, 55, and Lori Vallow Daybell from June 9, 2020, featured at least a half-dozen "I love you's" as officers searched the property for the remains of her children. Daybell had called Vallow, who is serving a life sentence for the deaths of her two children and Daybell's wife, to provide an update.

"They're searching the property," Daybell told Vallow.

"What do you want me to do? Pray?" Vallow asked.

"Yeah, pray," Daybell responded. "I love you so much."

Officers found the body of Vallow's 7-year-old son Joshua "JJ" Vallow later that day near a pond and eventually located the remains of 16-year-old Tylee Ryan near a fire pit on the property.

Daybell is charged in their deaths, as well as in the death of his former wife, Tammy Daybell, in 2019. Prosecutors claim he killed them in what was described as a doomsday cult. Prosecutors also allege Daybell murdered for "sex, money and power" and saw the children and spouses as "obstacles."

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow were both charged in the murders in 2021. Vallow was convicted last July and sentenced to life in prison. Daybell could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder and other charges.

During Monday's testimony, Rexburg Det. Eric Wheeler told the court he was responsible for security during the 2020 search and saw Daybell move his vehicle to a spot where he had a better view of the pond area.

"He sat in his vehicle and was on his phone for quite some time -- just sat there in his vehicle," Wheeler said, adding that Daybell drove over to his daughter Emma's home where he spent approximately 90 minutes before driving away in a hurry.

"Hurry and go stop him," Wheeler said investigators told him. Wheeler testified he stopped Daybell, put him in handcuffs and told him that JJ's remains had been found.

According to Wheeler's testimony, Daybell's daughter Emma approached the car crying as he told her how to access his bank account, saying "I'm sorry. I'm not coming back."

Wheeler also testified Monday that law enforcement found a portion of a skull, flesh and other bones melted in a bucket. He said only JJ and Tylee were found on the property.

Fremont County Lt. Joe Powell told the court Monday about the morning Daybell's wife Tammy died on Oct. 19, 2019. Powell said he followed Chad Daybell to notify him of his wife's death and discovered he was with Lori Vallow. Vallow's children had already been reported missing.

Powell testified that he requested Tammy Daybell's medical records because her death had been unattended. While the cause of death was listed as a cardiac event and pulmonary edema, Powell testified that Chad Daybell said his wife had a coughing fit and vomited, went to sleep and died.

While Chad Daybell did not want an autopsy done on Tammy Daybell, Powell testified Monday that the decision to exhume was made because "all deaths surrounding Lori Vallow were a factor."