Chad Daybell sentenced to death in slayings of first wife and second wife’s 2 kids

Idaho doomsday author Chad Daybell, who was found guilty of murder in the deaths of his first wife and his second wife’s two youngest children, was sentenced Saturday to the death penalty.

The sentence came two days after jurors found Daybell guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the slayings of his first wife, Tammy Daybell, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16.

Daybell was also found guilty of two counts of insurance fraud. He was sentenced to 15 years for each count to run concurrently.

Daybell, dressed in a blue shirt and a blue tie, declined to make a statement.

The Tammy Douglas Daybell Foundation thanked “everyone who put in countless hours of work to get where we are today; law enforcement, the prosecution, the media, and all of you who watched and listened to the trial and prayed for us.”

“We are grateful for the relationships we have created through this horrible time and the support and love we were able to give each other,” the foundation said in a statement released Saturday. “We can all start to heal from the terrible losses we have suffered. We will miss Tammy every single day of our lives but we have some comfort knowing we will see her again.”

During the more than monthlong trial in Boise, Idaho, prosecutors painted Daybell as someone infatuated with apocalyptic thoughts and who called people “zombies” and “dark spirits.”

The children’s remains were found in June 2020 on Daybell’s property in Fremont County, Idaho. Police said they believed Daybell hid the remains between September 2019 and June 2020.

Tammy Daybell died in 2019, weeks before Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow married. Her death was first considered to be from natural causes, but her remains were later exhumed. An autopsy determined she was killed by asphyxiation in a homicide.

In 2021, Daybell and Vallow were indicted on murder charges and grand theft by deception in the deaths of Vallow’s two youngest children.

They were also charged with insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with Tammy Daybell’s death.

Vallow was convicted last year and received multiple life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole.

After Thursday’s guilty verdict, state District Judge Steven W. Boyce instructed the jury about the capital sentencing phase.

Several family members read victim impact statements on Friday before the sentence was handed down. Ron Douglas, Tammy Daybell’s father, said the case had left him “angry.”

“It destroys me to know Tammy was treated the way she was,” he said.

Matthew Douglas, Tammy Daybell’s brother, recalled how she was the “heart and glue” of the siblings. Benjamin Douglas opened up about how his sister’s death has affected him.

“My children only know their Aunt Tammy through pictures, stories and a grave marker that they frequently request to visit,” he said. “They only know their dad as someone dealing with great amounts of grief and anxiety.”

Joshua’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock, also addressed the court.

“There’s a hole in my heart and the hearts of every member of my family that can never be filled and will remain for the rest of our life,” she said.

The case began in 2019 after worried family members told Rexburg police that they had not seen or talked to Joshua and Tylee. Police began looking for the children that November.

Authorities had accused Daybell and Vallow of lying to police and failing to cooperate in the investigation into the disappearance of the children.

They had initially told officers that Joshua, who was adopted and had special needs, was in Arizona with a family friend, but police determined it was a lie.

The couple abruptly left Rexburg and went to Hawaii. In February 2020, Vallow was taken into custody by police in Hawaii after she failed to produce the children to authorities in Idaho.

Court documents revealed that Joshua had been buried in a pet cemetery and Tylee had been dismembered and burned in a fire pit.

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