BOISE, Idaho — Content warning: This story contains graphic language that may be disturbing to some readers.
Day 17 in the Lori Vallow, or Lori Vallow Daybell trial, continued Thursday with testimony about the skeletal remains of Tylee Ryan, which showed chopping and stabbing wounds, experts say. A forensic expert also testified she found Tylee Ryan's DNA on a pickaxe located on Chad Daybell's property.
Tammy Daybell's sister, Samantha Gwilliam, was the last person to take the stand Thursday afternoon.
Lori Vallow is charged with murder along with her husband Chad Daybell in the killings of her two children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, and Chad Daybell's former wife, Tammy Daybell. They also both face conspiracy and grand theft charges.
On Wednesday, the jury learned that JJ Vallow died due to asphyxiation, and Tylee Ryan died from "homicide by unspecified means." The two were found buried in Chad Daybell's backyard on June 9, 2020.
Cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, but KTVB investigative and courts reporter Alexandra Duggan was there with updates:
3:17 p.m.: Gwilliam said Chad Daybell told her Tammy Daybell had been really sick and coughing all night, and later rolled out of bed, dead, on Oct. 19, 2019.
This didn't make sense to Gwilliam, because to her knowledge, Tammy Daybell was healthy.
One day, Tammy Daybell came to visit her sister -- she told her family her husband, Chad Daybell, had said she needed to get out of town. According to Gwilliam, Tammy Daybell never said anything about being suspicious of an affair.
In June of 2019, "something seemed off" when the couple came to visit in Utah, Gwilliam said.
Court adjourns for the day.
3:13 p.m.: Gwilliam said she liked Chad Daybell when he started dating her sister.
At first, Tammy Daybell didn't want to move to Idaho from Utah -- it was Chad Daybell's idea, Gwilliam said.
At the time they moved, she was a special education secretary for the local school. Gwilliam recalled her sister being super savvy with computers, and very smart.
Gwilliam also recalls Chad Daybell being employed as a grave-digger and sexton for the cemetery in Utah.
3:08 p.m.: Samantha Gwilliam, Tammy Daybell's sister, is called to the stand.
The prosecution immediately asks her if she was aware the Daybell couple had a pet cemetery in their yard -- Gwilliam said yes. Her sister loved animals, Gwilliam told the prosecution.
"Animals were drawn to her... She loved people, she loved taking care of them. She loved her grandkids," Gwilliam said. She identifies a photo of Tammy Daybell through tears. "That's my sister," she said.
Tammy Daybell was the second oldest of five kids, she and Gwilliam were the only sisters.
"We got along really well," Gwilliam laughed. "We talked every day."
2:58 p.m.: Det. Chuck Kunsaitis with the Rexburg Police Department is back on the stand after he testified on April 19.
Kunsaitis said a Salt Lake City news station posted a story about satellite imagery that caught his attention. The detective reached out to a satellite company to obtain satellite images of Chad Daybell's property from August to October of 2019.
The first picture the jury is shown is from August 27, 2019 that depicts an overhead image of Chad Daybell's home. The second photo was taken on Sept. 2, 2019. The third photo was taken Sept. 9, 2019 -- a day after Tylee Ryan was last seen, and when police believe Tylee Ryan was murdered and buried on the property.
At 12:32 p.m. in the afternoon, when the satellite image was taken -- and less than an hour after phone records show Alex Cox left the property -- a black discolored shape is seen near the fence by the "pet cemetery."
2:15 p.m.: A fingerprint found on the black plastic that covered JJ Vallow's body matched Alex Cox, Lori Vallow's brother, Martinez said.
She also matched a slight palm print to Cox.
2:00 p.m.: Martinez said she looked for usable prints on the plastic bag around JJ Vallow's head. There was none.
She did, however, find usable prints on the duct tape around JJ Vallow's feet and the black plastic that surrounded his body.
1:51 p.m.: Tara Martinez with the Idaho State Police Forensics Lab is on the stand. She is testifying to fingerprints that can be left behind by some perpetrators.
On a typical item, she would use a gas that would attach to the moisture of the print so lab technicians can document it, or use a dusting method if needed. Then, forensic experts can compare and evaluate the prints to identify who it belongs to.
1:21 p.m.: Dace tested a pickaxe from Chad Daybell's property. Pieces she tested on the eye of the tool had an oily feeling to it, and it was black in color, she said.
Dace obtained a partial DNA profile from the pickaxe -- she still was able to do a comparative analysis, however.
She said she concluded Tylee Ryan was a close contributor to this DNA found on the pickaxe.
Dace also found blood on the handle of the pickaxe. This matched the DNA of Tylee Ryan, she said.
1:15 p.m.: DNA Dace collected from the back of a shovel on Chad Daybell's property matched that of Tylee Ryan.
1:00 p.m.: Katherine Dace, a forensic biologist with the Idaho State Police is now on the stand. Dace was given evidence from the killings of the children to analyze and test for DNA.
She said she received evidence from the burial site of the children as well as the duct tape that was binding JJ Vallow when he died. She collected as many samples as she could from that duct tape.
Dace tested a swab from a wall Lori Vallow's apartment -- it tested a very faint positive for blood, she said on the stand.
Dace also received tools recovered from Chad Daybell's property.
She said she found bloodstains on the tools as well as charred flesh. Dace photographed and collected the evidence and selected the samples to run for DNA testing.
11:30 a.m.: Rylene Nowlin is now on the stand. She is the manager of the Idaho State Police forensics laboratory, and a DNA expert. She matched the children's DNA with their biological parents.
She also said JJ Vallow had plump blood vessels in his molars, which is something she's never seen before.
11:15 a.m.: David Sincerbeaux, a retired Idaho State Police laboratory chemist, is on the stand now.
He received decomposing flesh and debris from Rexburg police to do a chemical analysis. He said the remains contained gasoline. Tylee Ryan's remains were found burned.
9:42 a.m.: Halepaska is testifying to the "chop" wounds he found on Tylee Ryan's remains. Some of the injuries did not penetrate the hard layer of the bone, he said.
The tool that was used to make these injuries were consistent with a bladed tool like a cleaver, hatchet or machete, Halepaska said. He can't specify exactly what tool.
Some of the damage inflicted onto Tylee Ryan's bones from the are of her pelvis carried over onto the other side of the bones. He thinks one action was made with a serrated type of blade.
A portion of Tylee Ryan's spine also has blatant chopping marks, Halepaska described to the jury.
On Wednesday, Christensen said these wounds likely occurred at or around the time of death.
9:35 a.m.: Halepaska said there is multiple types of force -- stabbing, chopping and other damages that could be considered undetermined.
One trauma on Tylee's bone was due from a stabbing action, Halepaska said. The others were due to chopping.
The jury is looking at the photos of the castings Halepaska made -- on one hip bone, he said, the force came down at a perpendicular angle. The bone fragmented due to the force of this action. Cracks from the wound in the bone are visible in the photos.
9:10 a.m.: The state calls Douglas Halepaska, he is a forensic examiner with the FBI in the firearms and tool marks division in Quantico, Virginia.
He received Tylee Ryan's remains from Ada County. He took impressions of certain evidence with silicone -- known as a cast -- to examine the tool marks made on the remains.
9:00 a.m.: John Thomas, Lori Vallow's defense attorney, is cross-examining Christensen. He asks her what a "typical dismemberment case" is.
She says she has read a number of research reports and dealt with a handful of dismembered bodies. Typically in dismemberment cases, the sharp trauma would be around the joints. In Christensen's opinion, Tylee Ryan's body was not a typical or consistent dismemberment case, she said. Christensen reviewed and examined the remains beginning in August, and completed it in September.
Thomas asks what types of instruments would've been used on Tylee Ryan -- Christensen said that is outside the scope of her work.
8:56 a.m.: Tammy Daybell's sister, Samantha Gwilliam, is in the courtroom.
8:50 a.m.: Angi Christensen, a forensic anthropologist with the FBI, is back on the stand. She previously said there was evidence of "sharp trauma" on Tylee Ryan's pelvic and pubic region, indicating a sharp instrument was used with a small surface area. Christensen said she examined other bones that could have had possible sharp trauma but it is unclear because the bones were so fragmented and burned.
On the right hip bone, Christensen said there were six lacerations. On the right hip bone, there was one.
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