Audrey Barattiero was walking up the stairs, getting ready to pack her belongings and leave the Rexburg, Idaho, townhome where she had been staying when her former friend Lori Vallow Daybell allegedly threatened to kill her.
She told Barattiero she would cut her up; that it would be messy, with lots of blood; that it would involve bleach and trash bags; that she had been at “the scene” watching someone take their last breaths.
That’s all according to Barattiero’s testimony Wednesday in the trial of Vallow Daybell, who is charged with murder, conspiracy and grand theft in connection to the deaths of her two children — 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old JJ Vallow — and Tammy Daybell, the spouse of her fifth husband, Chad Daybell.
“She would bury me where no one would ever find me,” Barattiero recalled hearing, detailing the threats to a jury in Boise, Idaho.
This was in October 2019, just weeks after prosecutors say Tylee and JJ were murdered and buried in a shallow grave, and Tammy Daybell was killed by asphyxiation in her sleep. Investigators discovered Tylee’s body had been dismembered, while JJ’s was bound in trash bags and duct tape.
Barattiero’s unsettling story marked the 16th day of testimony in the murder trial that is expected to last well into May. Chad Daybell, who is also charged in the three deaths, has pleaded not guilty and will face a separate trial.
Vallow Daybell walked into court wearing a blue vest over a blue blouse, chatting casually with her lawyers as she has done frequently throughout the trial. However, her demeanor changed as Barattiero took the stand and began detailing the alleged threats.
As her former friend testified, Vallow Daybell looked at her attorney and shook her head.
Barattiero and Vallow Daybell originally met at a religious conference in 2018 and became friends in 2019. She told the jury that Vallow Daybell’s beliefs involving demonic possession and “zombies” would sometimes make her uncomfortable.
“When I heard Chad Daybell say something to the effect of why is the body still alive or something like that, I realized that they must have taken things even further. They didn’t intend for the person to be helped — they didn’t want the person to live,” she testified.
Still, the friendship continued, and in fall of 2019, Barattiero traveled to Hawaii to spend time with Vallow Daybell and her niece, Melanie Boudreaux. That’s when they got word that Chad Daybell’s wife, Tammy Daybell, had died. At the time her death was not deemed suspicious, but her body was later exhumed and prosecutors now say that she was killed by asphyxiation.
Vallow Daybell traveled back to Rexburg, Idaho, and Barattiero followed several days later and stayed at Vallow Daybell’s townhome there. That’s when she saw Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell kissing and hugging, sometimes coming to her apartment late at night to stay over.
Barattiero recalled feeling increasingly unsettled. “I told her that I was going to go upstairs and pack my bag and go to bed early because I didn’t want to spend more time with her,” she said.
That’s when Barattiero asked: “Is there anything weird going on that I don’t know about?”
“No, what do you mean?” Vallow Daybell responded, according to Barattiero’s testimony. “And I said, ‘I don’t know, anything.’ And she said, ‘No.’”
Barattiero says she believed her. But as she turned to walk up the stairs, she said Vallow Daybell started laughing.
“You’re so naïve and so trusting. You’re like a little child. You’ll believe anything anyone will tell you ... I’ve got news — not everyone’s a good person and not everyone is so nice and kind,” Barattiero recalls Vallow Daybell telling her.
“She said that she would cut me up, and something about she wasn’t in the mental place to do that now but she would get herself in the mental place to do it ... and it would be so messy, with so much blood, and she mentioned bleach, trash bags ... and she would bury me where no one would ever find me,” Barattiero told the jury.
As she was questioned by Vallow Daybell’s attorney, Barattiero said Vallow Daybell had “brought up being at the scene, watching someone take their last breaths.”
That answer came as attorney Jim Archibald asked Barattiero why she hadn’t detailed this encounter when she testified under oath before a grand jury. He asked her if she remembered saying “the truth, whole truth, nothing but the truth.”
“I was scared because she said, ‘If you ever tell anyone, I’ll come and find you in the dark night,’” Barattiero replied.