Lori Vallow Wept as Jury Saw Photos of Kids' Remains

Her defense team had asked if she could leave the courtroom; request was denied
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 12, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Jurors See Graphic Photos of Lori Vallow's Slain Kids
This courtroom sketch depicts Kay Woodcock, the grandmother of Joshua "JJ" Vallow, the first witness to take the stand during the murder trial of Lori Vallow Daybell in Boise, Idaho, Monday, April 10, 2023.   (Lisa C. Cheney via AP)

Jurors in the triple murder trial of a woman accused in the deaths of her two children and a romantic rival were shown gruesome photographs of the slain children Tuesday afternoon, as the grandfather of one of the kids sobbed in the back of the courtroom, the AP reports. Seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and his big sister Tylee Ryan were last seen in September of 2019, shortly before Tylee's 17th birthday, sparking a nationwide search. The search ended in tragedy the following year when their bodies were found buried in an eastern Idaho yard. Lori Vallow Daybell and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, are both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, murder, and grand theft in connection with the deaths of the children, who were buried on Chad Daybell's property. Prosecutors also charged the couple in connection with the October 2019 death of Chad Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell.

Both defendants have pleaded not guilty and are being tried separately. Vallow Daybell's trial began this month, and Daybell's trial is still months away. A police detective from Rexburg, Idaho, was the only witness to take the stand Tuesday. Detective Ray Hermosillo explained how the investigation started—with a call from an Arizona law enforcement agency seeking help to track down a vehicle that was suspected in an attempted shooting—as well as the condition of the children's bodies when they were unearthed eight months later. At one point, Vallow Daybell's defense attorneys asked the judge if she could be excused from the rest of the day's testimony, saying the graphic evidence that was to be shown would be detrimental to her already fraught mental health.

Seventh District Judge Steven Boyce has twice ordered Vallow Daybell to undergo mental health treatment after finding her incompetent to assist in her own defense at various points since her arrest. Still, Boyce rejected the request, saying her presence in the courtroom was needed to ensure a fair trial for all involved. The evidence that followed was exceedingly graphic; one photo showed JJ wearing red pajamas and a pull-up nighttime diaper, duct tape covering his mouth and binding his arms and legs together. His arms were visibly bruised, Hermosillo said. Tylee's remains were destroyed and burned, packed into a melted green bucket and buried at a different location on the property, Hermosillo said. Prosecutors had him describe pieces of the remains as shown in a series of photos. USA Today reports Vallow Daybell "appeared upset and weeping" as he testified.

(More Lori Vallow stories.)

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