Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
Chad Daybell smiled and laughed during his first court appearance Wednesday after being charged with murdering his first wife, Tammy, and Lori Vallow’s two children.
Daybell, who wore a white shirt and red tie, appeared virtually in the court hearing alongside his attorney, John Prior. When asked by Judge Faren Eddins if he could hear the proceedings, he smiled and appeared to laugh before telling the judge yes, according to The New York Post.
The lengthy charges against him—including three counts of first degree-murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft by deception and one count of conspiracy to commit murder—were read aloud before Eddins said that Daybell would be held without bail.
Daybell only spoke briefly whenever he was asked a question by the judge and otherwise remained silent during the short proceedings.
Vallow also appeared briefly in court via Zoom wearing a blue face mask and blue long sleeve shirt, but her hearing was postponed due to what her attorney referred to as “exigent circumstances.”
Eddins agreed to delay the hearing “based upon the information that was provided to me,” but did not go into details about why the delay was necessary, according to USA Today.
If convicted, both could face life in prison or the death penalty.
Prosecutors announced Tuesday that the couple is facing charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft by deception for the death of Vallow's children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, according to a joint press release from Fremont County prosecutor Lindsey Blake and Madison County prosecutor Rob Wood.
The bodies of the children—who disappeared weeks apart in September 2019—were discovered last year buried on Daybell’s Idaho property.
Daybell is also facing murder charges in the death of his first-wife, Tammy Daybell, who died under suspicious circumstances in October 2019, in addition to two counts of insurance fraud related to her death.
According to an indictment in the case obtained by Oxygen.com, prosecutors believe the couple used their “religious beliefs” to encourage or justify the murders.
Daybell is a religious author who often wrote about the end of days.
After the new charges were announced, Tammy’s family released a statement to East Idaho News saying they hoped the “truth would prevail” in the case.
“We’d like to thank the tireless efforts of law enforcement, the FBI, and all those who’ve continued to seek out answers during the investigations surrounding Tylee, JJ and Tammy,” they wrote. “We appreciate their pursuit of justice, and ultimately some measure of peace for those of us left in the wake of our loss.”
The family also asked for privacy, particularly for Tammy’s children and grandchildren.
“We want their lives to retain as much peace, normalcy and remembrance of their mother/grandmother as possible,” they said. “No one knows how to handle this perfectly. We ask that we all be given space to continue to honor and grieve our loved one the best we can.”
Lori’s oldest son Colby Ryan also took to Facebook Tuesday, posting a photo of his slain siblings JJ and Tylee smiling on the beach alongside his stepfather, Charles Vallow. Charles was shot to death in Arizona by Lori’s brother Alex Cox in July 2019, in what Cox claimed at the time had been self-defense. The case remains open and no charges were ever filed. Cox, who was also named in the murder indictments, died in December 2019.
“YOU WILL ALL HAVE JUSTICE!,” Colby wrote.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.