USA

FBI agent describes grisly excavation of ‘Doomsday’ cult mom’s children

An FBI agent described in an Idaho court Tuesday the grisly excavation of the charred and decomposing remains of “Doomsday” dad Chad Daybell’s stepchildren on a pet cemetery at the edge of his property.

“When I cut through the white plastic that’s when the possible human hair began coming out onto my hands and that’s when we determined it was human remains,” said FBI Special Agent Steve Daniels of finding the body of Joshua “JJ” Vallow on June 9, 2019, in front of a dog statue.

Daniels’ testimony was part of a preliminary hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse to determine whether Daybell’s case will remain in state court.

He and his wife Lori Vallow are charged in connection with the disappearance and deaths of 7-year-old JJ and his 17-year-old sister Tylee Ryan.

The couple was part of the doomsday cult Preparing a People, which believes in prepping for a second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of days.

Daniels and his team first located the pet cemetery on the Rexburg property, where they saw what appeared to be a “clandestine grave” in front of a dog statue and near a fire pit. Three white stones were lined up in a row directly under a patch of freshly laid sod, a cop previously testified.

Chad Daybell; Lori Vallow
Chad Daybell; Lori VallowAP (2)

The team began excavating and found an oval shape wrapped in a black plastic bag protruding from the dirt. Daniels began using his hands to shovel the dirt from around the object. “It just felt like a skull,” he said.

He then used a razor to cut through the black plastic bag and a white plastic bag, revealing a child’s corpse “intermingled with duct tape.”

A cop on the scene previously testified that JJ was dressed in red pajamas and black socks with a white and blue blanket laid over him. He had been wrapped in so much duct tape, he looked like a mummy.

The team identified several other areas that appeared to be graves and excavated two sets of animal remains, a cat and a dog, before finding Ryan’s dismembered corpse, Daniels told the court.

A backhoe uncovered two potential vertebrae and that’s when Daniels said he smelled “decomposing flesh.” The team started using hand tools and found a pelvic bone and “pieces that appeared to be burned, some of them were pink still” before shutting down the excavation until the next morning.

FBI agent Steve Daniels Chad Daybell
FBI agent Steve Daniels is seen testifying in the Chad Daybell hearing today.Zoom

On June 10, they continued digging around a “mass of human remains,” recounted Daniels of the gruesome crime scene.

“At the very bottom of this mass, we find this melted green bucket,” he said. “To the side of that bucket, we eventually find a skull and then to the side of that skull we find a mandible with some teeth.”

Ryan was Vallow’s biological daughter from a previous marriage. JJ, who was autistic, was their adopted son. They were both last seen in Sept. 2019.

The children’s grandparents reported them missing the following November, and Daybell and Vallow were later arrested and each held on a $1 million bond.

Daybell has written books about the supposed coming of the Apocalypse. He and his wife allegedly believed in evil spirits, or zombies, that could possess people.

The mom repeatedly told a friend last year that JJ and Tylee had become “zombies’’ — and that the only way to get rid of an evil spirit was to kill the possessed person.

Vallow’s hearing is expected to begin Monday.

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