REXBURG, Idaho — After the remains of his new wife’s two children were unearthed in Chad Daybell’s rural Idaho yard, the family of his deceased former wife — whose death is being treated as suspicious — offered their condolences Thursday.
“We share the pain of the tremendous and shocking loss you are enduring,” Tammy Daybell’s family members said in a statement addressed to relatives of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, age 7 at the time of his disappearance, and Tylee Ryan, 17. “We still suffer and we will suffer with you for many years to come.”
The family members of Tammy Daybell, whose obituary says she died in her sleep in October at 49 years old, added they will continue to pray for the children’s loved ones and for swift justice in the courts. They thanked local police, the FBI and the public.
Investigators serving a search warrant at Daybell’s home in Salem, just north of Rexburg, made the grim discovery Tuesday. While police have not yet released any identification on the two sets of children’s remains, relatives said Wednesday they belong to the children last seen in September.
Their mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, 46, and Chad Daybell, 51, jailed in separate facilities in Idaho. Chad Daybell faces two charges of concealing evidence, while his wife is charged with child abandonment. She is accused of failing to produce the kids under a judge’s order in a child welfare proceeding.
Their attorneys have said separately the Daybells are committed to defending themselves against the allegations tied to the children’s disappearance.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office also is investigating them in the death of Chad Daybell’s former wife.
Lori Daybell was arrested in February in Hawaii, where police say the couple traveled just after being questioned about the children’s whereabouts. Authorities say they have lied repeatedly when asked where the kids were.
The couple wed in that state just two weeks after Tammy Daybell’s October death, authorities say. With that timeline in mind, investigators looking into the children’s disappearance took a new look at Tammy Daybell’s death, and her remains were exhumed for an autopsy. Results have not yet been released.
The case has delved into Chad and Lori Daybell’s rumored apocalyptic religious beliefs and two other deaths tied to the couple.
Lori Daybell’s estranged husband, Charles Vallow, was shot and killed by her brother Alex Cox before Cox’s own death, found to be from natural causes. In divorce papers filed before his death, Vallow alleged his wife considered herself “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020.”
Chad Daybell is the author of several books based on doomsday scenarios.
On Thursday, as those in the rural Idaho community prepared to hold a Friday vigil for the children, a coworker recalled that a day before Tammy Daybell was found dead inside her home, she was not her typical, cheerful self.
Mandy Fowler, also an employee of Central Elementary School, recalled that her friend, a librarian, seemed frustrated and upset when Fowler went to consult her about book recommendations that day.
When a supervisor later delivered the news of Tammy Daybell’s death, “I was in total disbelief,” Fowler recalled. “Everyone was having a hard time because it was so sudden.”
Fowler said employees tried to comfort Daybell’s daughter, also an employee at the school, in the absence of any explanation for her mother’s death.
Larry Woodcock, JJ Vallow’s grandfather, said late Wednesday near Chad Daybell’s home that he was moved by an outpouring of support from those who live in Idaho. He had traveled there from his home in Louisiana.
“I just came here for one reason. That’s to know where JJ was,” Woodcock told reporters, his voice thick with emotion.
Chad and Lori Daybell are both being held on $1 million bond as they await court appearances in July.