Chad and Lori Daybell sexts entered into evidence

Posted at 2:19 PM, May 5, 2023 and last updated 3:25 PM, May 5, 2023


BOISE, Idaho (Court TV) – Jurors were given a broader look at the investigation into Lori Vallow Daybell as the supervisor of the FBI’s investigation took the stand on Friday.

Lori is charged with murder for the deaths of her two youngest children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, whose bodies were found buried on her fifth husband, Chad Daybell’s, property. She is also charged with conspiracy in the death of Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.

Chad Daybell's property

In this aerial photo, investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell’s residence in the 200 block of 1900 east, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Salem, Idaho. Authorities say they uncovered human remains at Daybell’s home as they investigated the disappearance of his new wife’s two children. Police in the small town of Rexburg say Daybell was taken into custody Tuesday. He had recently married the children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, who has been charged with child abandonment. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP)

FBI Special Agent Doug Hart took the stand on Friday morning and testified that his involvement in the case began on November 27, 2019. Hart was the supervisor of the investigation and took an active role in interviewing witnesses and analyzing two iCloud accounts that were registered to Lori.

MORE: ID v. Lori Vallow Daybell: Daily Trial Updates

Hart testified that he executed a search warrant at Chad Daybell‘s property on June 9-10, 2020. Hart said that investigators located JJ’s grave by looking for aberrations in the earth and differences in vegetation.

The jury saw aerial photos of JJ’s grave in Daybell’s backyard. Hart pointed out areas of uneven vegetation where the grass was shorter than in other areas.

Hart testified to his examination of Lori’s iCloud accounts, specifically ‘Lori4Style’ and ‘LollyTime,’ both active accounts in November 2019. The accounts contained messages Lori was sending and receiving, and Hart testified that one chat can contain up to 3,000 messages. Hart reviewed 130,000-150,000 records.

Hart said the digital evidence made it clear that Chad and Lori quickly shared plans to be married and have a life together after meeting and beginning an affair.

Hart testified that after their affair began, Lori and Chad discussed the deaths of Charles, Tammy, JJ and Tylee, and said the exact word the couple used in their conversations was, “obstacles.”

RELATED: A Look Inside the Daybell Doomsday Cult

Sketch of douglas hart testifying, surrounded by text messages

Douglas Hart testified to text messages sent between Chad and Lori Daybell on May 5, 2023. (Sketch by Lisa Cheney)

The investigation showed that there was a financial motive behind the deaths of Charles, Tammy, JJ and Tylee, Hart testified, because of direct references to a large life insurance policy from Charles and Social Security payments attributable to JJ and Tylee. Hart said there were not only messages sent between Lori and Chad, but also between Chad and Alex discussing financial information.

One exhibit showed a phone number with the name “Bishop Shumway,” which Hart said belonged to Chad. The entry was created in Lori’s account on October 28, 2018. Chad and Lori met on October 26, 2018, and October 28 was the first electronic evidence of their contact.

On January 23, 2019, Lori’s account showed a text string beginning with Audrey Baratterio with a message saying, “I just think it’s fun to talk to someone who knows what’s really going on.” Hart testified that the message acknowledged Chad had previously told Audrey that Tammy would die and he would then marry Lori. Chad had allegedly asked Audrey to act as a buffer between him and Lori until Tammy died.

On March 20, 2019, Lori texted her brother, Alex Cox, “Can’t wait to share all the things I learned about you … going to check everything with my source tonight to make sure I got this all right, but it’s really good.”

Hart said the messages made clear that Chad was a quasi-religious leader and that Alex was involved in the alleged conspiracy, as it related to JJ, Tylee and Tammy.

Other texts shared from Lori’s accounts:

  • March 26, 2019
    • Lori (to Alex): “Correct. Charles’ body is alive” (7:39 p.m.)
    • Alex (to Lori): “What did you learn?” (9 p.m.)
    • Lori (to Alex): “A lot !! Still working on it. Will call u later” (9:14 p.m.)
  • July 9, 2019 (approximately 36 hours before Charles was shot and killed by Alex Cox)
    • Melani Boudreaux (to Lori): “They have an elaborate plan I’ll call you soon.” (9:01 p.m.)
    • Lori (to Melani): “I could take all the babies and drive? and take our stuff” (9:05 p.m.)
    • Melani (to Lori): “U can’t go at all. We both need to stay here to defend ourselves.” (9:06 p.m.)
    • Melani (to Lori): “It’s coming to a head! This week will change everything” (9:07 p.m.)
    • Alex (to Lori): “…want Mel out of the way so I’m left alone…Thank you for standing by me. It’s all coming to a head this week. I will be like nephi I am told !”
  • July 10, 2019
    • Melani (to Lori): “Al is here. Charles says he will come over in the morning.”
  • July 12, 2019 – chat with Lori, Cole, Zach Vallow
    • Lori: “Hi boys, I have very sad news. Your dad passed away yesterday…”
    • (one of Chad’s sons): Lori, what happened?
    • Lori: “We are still waiting for the ME report. I’ll let you know more when I can.”
    • (Chad’s son): “Lori what the (expletive) happened. You can’t just tell us our dad died and disappear. You’re not too busy to just let us know he died and disappear.”
L to R: Chad daybell, Lori Vallow Daybell

(L) Chad Daybell sits during his preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)/ (R) Lori Vallow Daybell, center, sits between her attorneys for a hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Tony Blakeslee/East Idaho News via AP, Pool, File)

  • July 13, 2019 
    • Chad (to Lori): “I feel she [Tammy] will be gone by then…I believe that’s why the Lord hinted I might not get to be with you until that is over.”
  • July 14, 2019
    • Chad (to Lori): “I love you so immensely that the whole universe knows it, and very soon the people on this little blue globe will know it.”
    • Chad (to Lori): “I love you so much! You are my greatest desire and friend. Now on with the story.”
    • Chad (to Lori): “They would both attend the same event in mid-November and it seemed like that day would never arrive. Each day they opened their hearts to each other a little more. James knew he could trust her with the mysteries of the universe that had been revealed to him. He knew that they had been married before, and they had been close friends with the Savior when he lived in Jerusalem. James had served in an important position in the Lord’s church, and Elena had been his beloved spouse and best friend. That relationship was now meant to continue in this lifetime.”
    • Chad: (to Lori): “I need so badly to just gently kiss you…for hours”
    • Chad (to Lori): “It would likely lead to other activities.”
    • Lori (to Chad): “Likely or luckily??”
    • Chad (to Lori): “It would LUCKILY lead to nakedness.”
  • July 15, 2019
    • Cole Vallow (to Lori): “Okay Lori. It’s been 3 days. You let us know our father passed away over a text message. 3 days and we haven’t heard from anyone. The only information we have is that one text from you saying he passed and You disappeared after that. We need any information you have. What happened, when did it happen, how did it happen. Where is he now. Are there any funeral plans and can Zach and I be a part of it. We talked to him all the time and now he’s gone. He was our dad and we loved him very much. We deserve answers. Also why have you been the only one to contact us? We haven’t heard from Colby or Tylee. I know they are affected too. I called Colby recently but he didn’t answer. Is JJ safe and what does he know? I need to be kept in the loop about this all. This isn’t a nonchalant topic you can just throw a text at and be done with it.”