Police, FBI testify to evidence found in Doomsday Cult Mom Trial

Posted at 5:48 PM, April 20, 2023 and last updated 6:54 AM, April 21, 2023

By: Kelsie Rose

BOISE, Idaho (KIVI) – On Thursday, detectives, investigators, and those closest to the defendant took the stand in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial.

The eastern Idaho mother is accused of killing her two children and conspiring to kill her husband’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell.

First to take the stand Thursday was Sargeant Nathan Moffatt of the Chandler Police Department in Arizona. Moffatt was the case agent who initially responded to the 911 call regarding the shooting death of Charles Vallow.

Immediately, the Defense objected to this witness, arguing that Lori is not on trial for anything that happened in Arizona. The judge reiterated that the ruling on this was made in February and the objection is overruled.

READ MORE: Chad Daybell: Murder defendant…and prolific author?

Moffatt’s testimony included a story that was relayed to him from Alex Cox regarding what had happened. Alex told the officer that Lori and Charles had been fighting and that he had intervened, though noting that Charles had not become physical with Lori. Cox had said that Tylee Ryan had entered the room with a bat to, allegedly, protect her mother, but Charles took the bat and used it to strike Cox on the back of his head.

Moffatt testified that the injuries to Alex were not consistent with what he would have expected with a violent strike on the head from a bat.

Cox had continued to say that he went and got his gun from the bedroom, returned to the living room with the gun, and told Charles to drop the bat. When Charles refused, he stated that Charles came toward him and Cox shot him in the torso. Moffatt says the gunshot wounds were not consistent with the story Cox had given.

Cox had also told the Sargeant that he had washed his hands before calling 911 and that he had attempted CPR on Charles. Cox also stated he did not know where Tylee and JJ were at the time of the shooting. Cox had also made it clear that he was at the house that morning because he and Lori had an outing planned, and that he was not there to protect his sister.

Moffatt’s final piece of testimony was that upon investigation, he had learned that Lori submitted a claim for Charles’ $1 million life insurance policy, but the claim was denied because Charles had changed the beneficiary to his sister, Kay Woodcock.

The defense objected to Moffatt’s entire testimony and had no questions for cross-examination.

The next witness called by the State is Sydney Schenk.

RELATED: ID v. Lori Vallow Daybel: Daily Trial Updates

Sydney Schenk was called to the stand next and testified that she had lived in Rexburg in 2019 and was a student at BYU in Idaho. On Sept 18, 2019, Schenk was hired to be a nanny for JJ, and Lori told her that JJ’s father, Charles, had died from a heart attack and that JJ was having a difficult time understanding what had happened to his dad.

Schenk took care of JJ only once, on Sept. 19, and said she never saw JJ again.

Schenk said when she followed up with Lori for additional days to care for JJ, she was told that JJ was going to live with his grandparents for a month. Schenk followed up again after the month was up, but Lori never responded to her.

Schenk testified that she had never seen a teenage girl, but that Lori had told her she had a daughter attending college in Rexburg.

During cross-examination, the defense clarified that there had been no set schedule of care for JJ, Schenk agreed, though said she had expected to care for JJ for the next few months.

The next witness called was Josh Wilson, who was the Principal at Kennedy Elementary in Rexburg, the school JJ attended. Wilson confirms that JJ was enrolled at Kennedy on Sept. 3, 2019. He also testifies that on Sept. 24, 2019, Lori sent an e-mail to announce JJ’s removal from school to go to Louisiana to live with his grandparents. Wilson called Lori to tell her they would transfer JJ’s records to his school in Louisiana. Lori then told Wilson they were not moving him to Louisiana, but that they were planning for JJ to be homeschooled.

Wilson said the last day that JJ was at Kennedy Elementary was Sept. 20, 2019.

During cross-examination by the defense, Wilson stated he was not aware that JJ was only being enrolled at the school for three weeks and if he was surprised JJ had been taken out of school. He responded yes.

Next called to the stand was Win Hill, BYU Idaho Dean of Students. Hill testifies that Tylee Ryan had never applied to go to BYU Idaho, nor was she ever a student there.

After a morning break, David Warwick was called to the stand. Warwick is married to Melanie Gibb, and was dating her when the pair were two of the last people known to have seen JJ Vallow alive.

Once back in the courtroom, the prosecution calls for David Warwick. Warwick revealed that he is living in Utah while Gibb is living in Arizona, and admitted to watching his wife’s testimony and reading articles about the case. The judge did not find Warwick in contempt.

Courtroom sketch of David Warwick testifying

David Warwick testifies in the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell. (Sketch by Lisa Cheney)

Warwick testified that he met Lori in August 2019, after Charles was killed.

LISTEN: Testimony from ID v. Lori Vallow Daybell

Prosecutors then turn the conversation to the time when Warwick had visited Rexford with Gibb before they were married. He was there the weekend of Sept. 20-23, 2019, to visit his’s son in Pocatello, attend a Book of Mormon conference, and record a podcast with Lori.

Warwick testified he had originally planned to stay at a hotel, but Lori offered him a room in her apartment, so he stayed there with Gibb, instead. He says that when he arrived at the apartment, Cox, Gibb, Lori and JJ were there.

Warwick said he attempted to play with JJ, but that JJ acted like he wasn’t even there. He never saw Tylee, and Lori had told him Tylee was attending college and wanted to be independent.

Warwick testified that he had seen Chad Daybell several times that weekend. Chad was discussing religious beliefs with him, telling him about the group of 144,000 people that he has to lead, and how Satan can push people out of their bodies and spirits could be stuck. Warwick said that although he is LDS, he told Chad he did not believe him. He told Chad that if the Lord was gathering 144,000, he believed it would happen through the church.

That same weekend, Cox took Warwick to visit a plot of land that Chad was encouraging Warwick to buy. So much so, that Chad had brought a realtor to meet with them, but Warwick declined to do business on a Sunday, and nothing ever came from it.

According to Warwick, Lori and Chad were very affectionate with each other during the visit, even though Chad was still married to Tammy Daybell at the time. When Warwick questioned him about his marriage, Chad explained that he had a dream three years earlier that Tammy was going to pass away by the time Chad was 50 years old, and that he and Lori would be married and guide the group of 144,000.

Although Chad kept trying to include Warwick in his religious plans, Warwick maintained that his beliefs did not match those of Chad and Lori.

WATCH: Police Interview Tylee Ryan After Stepfather’s Death

Warwick also testified that he had a nightmare while staying in JJ’s room. He was troubled enough that Gibb went to find Lori to ask if Chad could come and give Warwick a blessing. Gibb was not able to find Lori.

He says he did not see JJ the morning they were leaving, and that Lori had said JJ had an episode and was out of control and damaging things, so Cox had taken him somewhere else. Warwick didn’t see any damage.

The prosecution had no more questions.

During cross-examination, the defense asked about Warwick’s online history. Warwick confirmed that he has had visions of Russia and China attacking the United States and having a one-world government. He admitted that he has a lot of visions.

Warwick testified that visions are when you are being shown things in the future, but you do not see yourself. He also said that the nightmare he had while in the apartment was very adversarial.

Warwick confirmed that he does not follow Chad’s belief that Chad is to lead 144,000 people. He also states he did not want a blessing from Chad the morning after his nightmare, and he believed Gibb was only asking to try to make him feel better.

Warwick did testify that he thought that Chad’s statement about expecting Tammy Daybell to die was odd.

Detective Bruce Mattingly with the Freemont County Idaho Sheriff’s office was called to the stand after the court’s lunch break on Thursday afternoon.

Mattingly was involved with the initial search of the Daybell property on January 3, 2020, and had recovered several electronic items from the location that he transported to a lab.

Next, the prosecution called FBI analyst, Benjamin Dean. He is an Intelligence Analyst with the nickname of IA Dean who works out of the Salt Lake City office.

Dean was originally assigned to look for tips about JJ and Tylee from Yellowstone on Sept. 8, 2019.

The items retrieved from the January search were handed over to the Dean to analyze.

Of note, one of the items was what appeared to be Tammy Daybell’s cell phone. After reviewing the text messages, Dean refers to one, in particular, between Chad and Tammy, from Sept. 9. It was out of the normal cadence of their texts, and Chad had told Tammy of his whereabouts and activities in a much more detailed fashion than what was usual. It stood out to Dean because the date of the text was the day after the last day Tylee Ryan had last been seen.

The text message from Chad came at 11:53 am and he wrote that he was burning debris by the fire pit before storms roll in. He also wrote he had spotted a raccoon on the fences, got his gun killed him in one shot, and then buried him in the area they called the Pet Cemetary.

Dean also testified that the last outgoing transmission from the phone was on October 18, 2019.

The prosecution then called Detective Dave Stubbs of the Rexburg Police Department to the stand.

The state introduced a plethora of records and financial information into evidence.

Stubbs specializes in the collection of evidence from electronic devices and testified he originally got involved in the case when Arizona authorities were looking for help in finding a Jeep Wrangler with Texas license plates, suspected to be involved in the attempted shooting of Brandon Boudreaux.

The Rexburg police had been given information on Lori, Cox, JJ and Tylee, and on or around November 1 had set up surveillance in different locations around the apartment building where they lived in hopes of finding the Jeep.

Stubbs testifies that although they had not seen the Jeep, they had seen Lori and Chad get into a blue Subaru. The police followed them hoping it would lead them to the Jeep. Instead, the surveillance let them to local stores and the couple ran some errands.

The Jeep was found on Nov. 4. in the parking lot of the apartment complex. Police had the vehicle towed to a secure impound lot and learned the listed owners of the vehicle were Joe Ryan and Tylee Ryan.

Stubbs testified that no one ever called to ask about the Jeep – either about why it was towed away or where it was.

Stubbs also testified that on Nov. 26, it was requested that they return to that residence for a welfare check on JJ Vallow. The request had been made by Kay Woodcock.

Stubbs, with Lieutenant Ball, went to Lori’s apartment, and they were able to make contact with Lori. Stubbs was wearing a body camera during the visit, and the footage from their contact with Lori was admitted into evidence.

In it, Lori says JJ is in Arizona with her friend, Melanie Gibb, but her brother is there. She asks why they were there. They said they were concerned because officers that had come for a welfare check earlier in the day had gotten a “bad vibe” from the two men they had encountered and because they didn’t find JJ.

Lori goes on to say she has a brother trying to kill her (Adam) for her $2M life insurance policy, and that she was having a bad year and they’ve moved around a lot. Says Adam was working with Charles to kill her … just a nightmare. She also said that JJ had been at Kennedy Elementary for two months.

She told the officers that everyone is causing her trouble and felt like she was being tracked all the time. Kay Woodcock was hounding her trying to get JJ, and that her dead husband had left her nothing.

She tells them she’s going back to AZ to live with Gibb because school was too hard for JJ. Blames everything on Kay. Asks that the officers not tell anyone out of fear that her family is out to get her. Stubbs tells her that the main concern of the police is finding JJ.

The officers also asked about the two men that Detective Hermosillo and Hope had spoken with that morning. She told them it was her brother and his friend, Chad.

Ball asked if it was Chad Daybell, and asked if it was his wife that had just passed away, Lori did not respond.

Stubbs testified they found it suspicious that she referred to Chad as her brother’s friend, as the officers had already seen her with Chad running errands and were aware they were married.

Stubbs said he had concerns about the officers’ safety. Lori had mentioned that her brother was in the apartment, though they had not seen him. Stubbs said they saw someone moving on the stairs inside the apartment, and they were concerned that they may be ambushed, since it was possible that someone in the home may have been involved in the attempted shooting of Boudreaux in Arizona.

Lori gave them the contact information for Melanie Gibb so they could check on JJ. The officers then left.

Stubbs testified that he was not able to contact Gibb, so they returned to Lori’s apartment to ask her to contact Gibb while the police were with her and confirm she had JJ.

A second video of the body camera footage from the follow-up visit to Lori’s apartment was submitted as evidence and played for the courtroom.

In the video, the officers announce themselves and Lori opens the door. The officers stay outside and explain they are not able to reach Gibb. Lori tells them that they (Gibb and JJ) went to a movie and she will call them later. The officers leave.

Stubbs testified that this was the last time he saw Lori.

Stubbs also testified that they were able to reach Gibb later that evening, and were told that she did not have JJ, she was not in Arizona, and they had not been to the movies.

Stubbs said that the statements made by Lori were lies. The defense objected, arguing hearsay, but was overruled.

Stubbs testified that Lori’s statement that her brother (Adam) came to Rexburg to kill her was unsubstantiated and that many of the statements made by Lori were inaccurate.

Based on these contradictions, police obtained search warrants for the apartments in Rexburg to look for evidence of JJ.

Officers arrived and had to break down the door to get in. No one was in the apartment where they had visited Lori earlier. Body camera footage shows them walking through the apartment documenting everything that they see. The footage was entered into evidence.

This story was originally published on April 20, 2023, by KIVI in Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.