Prosecutors in Daybell murders seek DNA testing on bodybag, pickax, fingernails

Posted at 12:04 AM, July 20, 2022 and last updated 6:19 PM, July 7, 2023

ST. ANTHONY, Idaho (Court TV) — Prosecutors in the Lori and Chad Daybell murders are seeking comprehensive DNA testing on several pieces of evidence collected by the Rexburg Police Department.


The so-called “Doomsday Couple” is facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder in the brutal deaths of Lori’s two children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, whose bodies were later found buried in Chad’s backyard.

The motion filed earlier this week requested further testing on:

  • Hairs on duct tape inside a body bag used to transport the remains of JJ
  • Ridge detail (fingerprints) on the adhesive side of tape associated with JJ’s body
  • Small dark spots on the handles of a shovel and pickax recovered from a garage/barn
  • Swabs of tape areas
  • Swabs from fingernails from JJ’s right hand obtained during his autopsy

Due to the nature of the testing, they can only be performed one time, typically due to the size or material of the item.

Originally, Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake and Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood asked Judge Steven Boyce for consumptive DNA testing performed in April 2021, according to court documents, but Chad and Lori’s attorneys objected. Lori’s case was then put on hold when she was placed in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to determine whether she was mentally competent to stand trial. She was found competent for trial in April 2022.

In the motion filed this week, prosecutors note they have not had consumptive testing done on any materials up to this point, but have asked  Boyce to now allow it.

Both Chad and Lori Daybell have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Court TV will provide live, legal coverage of their trial, currently scheduled for January 9, 2023.