DNA analyst: Lori Vallow Daybell’s hair found on tape wrapping body of dead son

May 1, 2023, 7:16 PM

Lori Vallow Daybell sits in a police car after a hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. An...

Lori Vallow Daybell sits in a police car after a hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Tony Blakeslee/East Idaho News via AP, Pool, File)

(Tony Blakeslee/East Idaho News via AP, Pool, File)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A hair found stuck to duct tape wrapping the body of a 7-year-old boy matched the child’s mother, a DNA analyst told jurors Monday in the woman’s triple murder trial.

The hair, found on tape attached to a black plastic bag wrapping the body of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, contained a partial DNA profile that was compared to three DNA samples, including one from the boy’s mother, said Keeley Coleman, a DNA analyst for Bode Technology. The results showed the hair came from the mother.

“The partial DNA profile matched the DNA profile provided from Lori Vallow Daybell,” Coleman said. “The probability of randomly selecting a random individual in relation to that profile 1 is 71 billion.”

Vallow Daybell is charged with conspiracy, murder and grand theft in connection with the deaths of her two youngest children and a romantic rival in what prosecutors say was a doomsday-focused plot carried out with her brother and her fifth husband. The husband, Chad Daybell, is also charged in the case, and the brother, Alex Cox, died of natural causes before the charges were filed.

Idaho prosecutors say the couple espoused strange doomsday-focused beliefs involving demonic possession and “zombies” to further their plan to kill JJ, his older sister Tylee Ryan, and Chad Daybell’s previous wife Tammy Daybell so they could collect life insurance and survivor benefits.

Both have pleaded not guilty to murder, conspiracy and grand theft charges, and they are being tried separately. Daybell’s trial is still months away.

Vallow Daybell has also been charged in Arizona in connection with the the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow.

He was shot and killed by Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, outside of his Phoenix-area home in July 2019. Cox told police the shooting was in self-defense and was never charged in the case. He died of natural causes later that year. Vallow Daybell has not yet had the opportunity to enter a plea in the Arizona case.

The children were last seen alive in September of 2019, just before Tylee’s 17th birthday. Police discovered they were missing a month later after an extended family member became worried that she wasn’t able to get ahold of JJ.

Their bodies were found the following summer buried in Chad Daybell’s yard. JJ’s remains were taped, wrapped in plastic and taped again, and Tylee’s remains had been badly damaged and burned. Some of Tylee’s bones showed evidence of stabbing or chopping marks, an investigator told jurors last week.

Tammy Daybell died in October of 2019, and her death was initially reported as being from natural causes. But investigators became suspicious after Chad Daybell and Vallow Daybell married two weeks later and eventually had Tammy’s remains exhumed. An autopsy showed she had been asphyxiated.

On Monday, the DNA analyst told jurors that the hair sample wasn’t complete enough to run through the FBI database, but that she was able to compare it to DNA samples from Tylee, Vallow Daybell and Vallow Daybell’s friend, Melanie Gibb. The FBI database wasn’t needed, Coleman said, because she had the three DNA samples from known people.

The trial began last month and was scheduled to last up to 8 weeks or more.

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DNA analyst: Lori Vallow Daybell’s hair found on tape wrapping body of dead son