Prosecutors Plan to Charge Lori Vallow & Chad Daybell with Conspiracy to Murder Kids: Recording
Idaho prosecutors may be planning to file conspiracy to commit murder charges against Lori Vallow and husband Chad Daybell in the death of Vallow's two children, Joshua (J.J.) Vallow and Tylee Ryan, according to an audio recording released by East Idaho News last week.
"I'm going to tell you right now we are going to be filing conspiracy to commit murder charges against both Chad and Lori," Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood said during a conversation with Vallow's sister, Summer Shiflet. "And we aren't shy about that."
The conversation was recorded by Shiflet's attorney in October, the Idaho State Journal reports.
During the conversation, Wood calls Daybell "extremely manipulative."
"And your sister manipulated him in some ways, too," Wood says. "But the context for everything that happened came from Chad. We do have enough evidence to prosecute him and we are. The case against your sister [Vallow] is stronger."
Attorneys for Daybell and Vallow accused the prosecutor of misconduct and wanted him removed from the case following the unearthed conversation.
According to the East Idaho News, attorneys claimed in motions that Wood attempted to "coerce, unduly influence, coach, and or intimidate" Shiflet.
Wood denied any wrongdoing and asked for an expedited hearing, the East Idaho News reports. On Friday, Judge Steven Boyce said, "The court cannot find at this time that the interaction between Mr. Wood and the witness would render Mr. Wood's continued participation, in this case, unfair and cannot determine that the prosecutor's pretrial activity will be a material issue in this case," the East Idaho News reports.
In June, the bodies of J.J. and his 17-year-old sister Tylee were found on the Idaho property of Vallow's husband Chad Daybell.
Vallow has already been charged with desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, contempt of court and willful disobedience of court process or order.
Daybell was charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence and two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
Vallow and Daybell both pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges.
Lawyers for Vallow and Daybell could not be reached for comment Monday, nor could Wood.
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Vallow and Daybell, an author who wrote about religious doomsday prophecies, married in Nov. 2019 and quickly became the targets of police scrutiny in Vallow's kids' disappearance after J.J.'s out-of-state grandparents filed a missing-persons report later that month. J.J. is the son of Vallow and her previous husband, Charles Vallow.
Before police could execute a search warrant on the couple's Rexburg home, however, police said Vallow and Daybell fled, only to be located without the kids on Jan. 25 in Kaua'i, Hawaii. Vallow was arrested there on Feb. 20 after refusing the court order to turn over the children to police or child welfare officials.
While looking for the children, Rexburg police say they documented several misleading statements about their whereabouts, saying they "strongly believe[d] that Joshua and Tylee's lives [were] in danger."
J.J. was last seen alive on Sept. 23, 2019, at his school in Rexburg, before his mother unenrolled him, telling the principal she was considering home-schooling him instead.
The last known image of Tylee was taken Sept. 8, 2019, while Tylee was on a day trip to Yellowstone National Park with her mother, brother and uncle Alex Cox, according to a court filing in Madison County, Idaho.
Using Cox's cell phone records, authorities allegedly placed him on Daybell's property on two dates that coincide with the last time the two children were seen. They allegedly used that as their basis to search there for the children's bodies.
Authorities who found the remains of the children said J.J., clad in his red pajamas, had been duct-taped at the hands and feet and had a plastic bag taped over his head.
In a nearby pet cemetery, authorities recovered a mass of burned flesh and bone in a melted green bucket. Under the bucket was a partial human skull, Rexburg police Det. Ray Hermosillo previously said in court. Those remains were later confirmed to belong to Tylee.