Man accused of hiding missing kids’ bodies pleads not guilty

Man accused of hiding missing kids’ bodies pleads not guilty
FILE - This file booking photo provided by the Rexburg (Idaho) Police Department shows Chad Daybell, who was arrested June 9, 2020. (Rexburg Police Department via AP, File) (Source: AP)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A man charged with destroying evidence after police said the bodies of two missing kids were found on his Idaho property has pleaded not guilty.

Chad Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, filed documents notifying the court of Daybell’s not-guilty plea late last week. He said Daybell requested a preliminary hearing and a jury trial.

Police found the remains of 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and her brother, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, on June 9 after months of searching. They hadn’t been seen since September, and investigators said the children’s mother Lori Vallow Daybell and her husband Chad both lied to police about their whereabouts.

Lori Daybell has been in jail since February, charged with child abandonment and obstructing the investigation. Her attorney has indicated she intends to defend herself against the charges. Both Daybells are being held on $1 million bond, and both are scheduled for preliminary hearings next month.

Police began searching for Tylee and JJ in November after relatives raised concerns. Police say the Daybells lied to investigators about the children’s whereabouts before quietly leaving Idaho. They were found in Hawaii months later.

The case spans several states and began when Lori Daybell’s brother shot and killied her estranged husband, Charles Vallow, in suburban Phoenix last summer in what he asserted was self-defense. Vallow was seeking a divorce, saying Lori believed she had become a god-like figure who was responsible for ushering in the biblical end times.

Her brother, Alex Cox, then died in December of an apparent blood clot in his lung.

Shortly after Vallow’s death, Lori and the children moved to Idaho, where Chad Daybell lived. He ran a small publishing company, putting out many fiction books he wrote about apocalyptic scenarios loosely based on the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also recorded podcasts about preparing for biblical end times, and friends said he claimed to be able to receive visions from “beyond the veil.”

He was married to Tammy Daybell, who died in her sleep last October of what her obituary said were natural causes. Authorities grew suspicious when Chad Daybell married Lori just two weeks later, and they had Tammy Daybell’s body exhumed in December. The results of that autopsy have not been released.

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