A former FBI agent testified Friday on text messages that Lori Vallow Daybell sent to friends and family two days before the death of her husband.
At the time of the children’s disappearances, Canyon County Chief Deputy Douglas Hart was the supervisory senior resident agent for the FBI over 34 counties in Southern Idaho. Rexburg police called him for assistance locating Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow on Nov. 27, 2019.
At that point, both children had been missing since September of that year. Throughout the FBI’s involvement in the ensuing investigation into Vallow Daybell, Hart had direct and supervisory roles over the case.
The Court admitted into evidence a PowerPoint that Hart prepared. It was a collection of communication between Vallow Daybell and others pertinent to the investigation into the deaths of Tylee, JJ, Tammy Daybell and Charles Vallow.
Two days before Vallow’s death on July 11, 2019, Lori had a text exchange with her niece, Melanie Boudreaux, in which she mentioned an “elaborate plan.” After Boudreaux replied that she could take Vallow Daybell’s children and leave the area, Vallow Daybell said they had to “stay (at home) to defend themselves.”
Vallow Daybell finished the text string with what Hart believes was a reference to her and Charles Vallow’s “deteriorating” marriage. At the time of his death, they were living apart.
“It’s coming to a head! This week will change everything,” Vallow Daybell said at the end of the exchange with Boudreaux.
The same day, Vallow Daybell sent her brother, Alex Cox, a similar message.
“Thank you for standing by me. It’s all coming to a head this week. I will be like Nephi I am told. And so will you,” she said in the text.
Hart believes this was in reference to a story in the Book of Mormon in which the prophet Nephi killed Laban to obtain an ancient record that was imperative to the success of his family. The defense objected to this as speculation saying there are several stories about Nephi.
Two days later, Charles Vallow came to Vallow Daybell’s home to pick JJ up for school when an argument ensued between the couple. Cox claimed to have gotten between the two before Tylee reportedly came out with a baseball bat to defend her mother from Vallow.
Vallow purportedly grabbed the bat and assaulted Cox. Cox eventually retrieved a firearm, shot Vallow twice and killed him after Vallow attempted to hit him again.
The day after Charles Vallow’s death, Vallow Daybell messaged two of his adult sons to tell them he had died. Though she was present when he was shot, Vallow Daybell told his sons that she had to wait for the medical examiner before she could tell them his cause of death.
Hart also testified that in messages between Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell, the former characterized Tylee, JJ and his first wife, Tammy Daybell, as “obstacles.”
Hart’s supervisory work in the case was the subject of scrutiny by Vallow Daybell’s defense team as they argued that he violated the exclusionary rule because he was involved in pretrial witness preparation with the prosecution and also supervised various FBI agents who later testified in the trial.
Hart denied reviewing witness testimony and reading news reports since the start of the trial.
Vallow Daybell’s defense team objected to the admission of Hart’s PowerPoint, arguing that it contained hearsay. The state responded that the statements of co-conspirators are not hearsay.
Judge Steven Boyce allowed the admission, saying that the summary comprised already admitted evidence that was not originally objected to by the defense.