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Lori Vallow Daybell trial: Agent says couple discussed children's deaths

"There were several communications regarding Tylee and JJ that were relevant to their deaths," a former FBI agent said Friday.

BOISE, Idaho — Friday ended week five in the murder trial of Lori Vallow, or Lori Vallow Daybell, where a former special agent with the FBI testified he reviewed thousands of pages of cell phone data that indicated Lori Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell discussed the deaths of her children.

Lori Vallow is charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft in connection to the deaths of two of her children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, and the death of her current husband's late wife, Tammy Daybell, who would have turned 53 years old on Thursday.

Lori Vallow will no longer face the death penalty, but could be sentenced to up to life in prison.

There are no cameras allowed in the courtroom, but KTVB investigative and courts reporter Alexandra Duggan was there:

Live updates

The texts

11:55 a.m.: Cole Vallow texts Lori Vallow again, begging for information about their dead father, four days after his death on July 15, 2019.

“What happened, when did it happen, how did it happen? Where is he now? Is there any funeral plans?” Cole Vallow writes. “He was our dad and we love him very much. We deserve answers." Cole Vallow asks how Tylee and Colby Ryan are doing and if JJ Vallow is safe. 

"What does he know?" he writes. "This isn't a nonchalant topic you can throw a text at and be done with it.”

Hart said he did not observe any empathy or remorse coming from Lori Vallow to her husband's children.

Court adjourns early for the day.

11:40 a.m.: Chad Daybell texts Lori Vallow on July 13, 2019 -- two days after Charles Vallow is shot:

"Concerning the two weeks, BYU Idaho’s graduation is July 23. Adam is getting his bachelor’s and Leah and Joe are getting their associates. They are all walking in the same commencement ceremony. I feel she will be gone by then, but I will still have that hoopla to deal with, because a lot of my and Adam’s family are coming and will stay for July 24th. So I believe that's why the Lord hinted i might not get to be with you until that is over. Please ask about that."

The next day, Chad Daybell texts Lori Vallow:

"Good morning my beautiful Lili! (Thanks for joining me in the shower this morning). Wow! Getting ready to leave for my meetings… I love you so much, the whole universe knows it..."

Lori Vallow replies, "Morning sunshine! Sure. Call me when you get a chance.”

Chad Daybell later responds, "I love you so much! You are my greatest desire and my best friend. Now on with the story."

This story, Hart said, is how Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow met in their past lives according to text messages he's read between the two. 

"That relationship was now meant to continue in this lifetime," he texted Lori Vallow, who he referred to as "Elena" in her past life. Chad Daybell referred to himself as "James." He says in the messages their connection was so intense that it created physical desires.

"It was as if their spirits were making love," Chad Daybell wrote.

11:30 a.m.: A group text between Lori Vallow and Charles Vallow's sons is shown to the jury from July 12, 2019. The defense has objected multiple times to the texts being testified to, but the judge has overruled them.

Lori Vallow writes, "Hi boys. I have very sad news. Your dad passed away yesterday. I am working on arrangements and I’ll keep you informed what’s going on. I’m still not sure how to handle things. Just want you to know that I love you and so did your dad!!"

One of Charles Vallow's sons texts back and asked what happened. She doesn't respond. They follow up with this text:

“Lori what the f--- happened. You can't just tell us our dad died and disappear. You're not too busy to let us know he died and disappear."

11:25 a.m.: Lori Vallow texts her brother Alex Cox on July 9, 2019, I”m going to need you to stay closer to me the next couple of days…They are planning some kind of intervention," She says, "thank you for standing by me" and she "will be like Nephi."

Hart said in the Book of Mormon, Nephi was commanded by God to kill his brother Laman, so this stood out to him.

11:15 a.m.: On March 26, 2019, Alex Cox texted Lori Vallow: "Correct. Charles' body is alive." He then follows up with, "What did you learn?"
Lori Vallow responds, "A lot. Still working on it. Will call u later."

Hart said he frequently saw Lori Vallow text people "working on it" and Alex Cox would take direction and advice from his sister fairly often.

On July 9, 2019 -- two days before Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Alex Cox -- Lori Vallow texts her niece Melani Pawlowski, who was previously Melani Boudreaux, around 9 p.m. that "they have an absolute plan" and she will call later.

Pawlowski replies, "I could take all the babies with and drive? And take our stuff."

Lori Vallow texts back, "You can't go at all, we both need to stay here to defend ourselves... It's all coming to a head! This week will change everything."

11:00 a.m.: Texts between Audrey Barattiero, who testified Wednesday, and Lori Vallow are shown. Hart said Barattiero knew about the affair between Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell.

“I just think its fun to talk to someone who knows what's going on," Lori Vallow texed Barattiero.

“(Chad Daybell) wanted Audrey to act as a buffer between him and Lori until Tammy Daybell died," Hart said.

10:50 a.m.: Hart said he followed multiple leads coming from data and Lori Vallow's phone, like examining the relationship between Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell.

After the affair began, there were communications regarding the deaths of JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan, Tammy Daybell and Charles Vallow, Hart said. He stated these people were referred to as "obstacles" in the communications, getting in the way of the relationship between Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell.

"There were several communications regarding Tylee and JJ that were relevant to their deaths. They discussed their deaths," Hart said.

10:45 a.m.: Hart said there were 4,500 text messages between October of 2018 and November of 2019 on the lori4style iCloud account -- and he read every single one.

On March 20, 2019, Vallow sent a message to her brother Alex Cox -- "I'm finding out some great stuff about you... I'm gonna do some sealings...It explains a lot."

It took Hart well over 200 hours to dig through every record on Vallow's iCloud accounts, he said.

FBI involvement 

10:00 a.m.: Hart said people can delete data from a phone, but it can still be present on your iCloud. The FBI uses a program called Cellebrite, which can take the contents of an iCloud and put it into "compartments" to allow law enforcement to go in and view what is stored on the iCloud.

The program allows a "filter" which could capture a certain time within the data -- Hart focused his efforts on data from Oct. 26, 2018, when Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell met, and searched through late November of 2019. Vallow stopped using her phones around this time, Hart said.

9:45 a.m.: Hart said when looking for a grave, you look for differences in the soil. Typically, the vegetation on the grave is different than the vegetation around the grave, he said. Hart was able to observe differences in vegetation and changes in soil that surrounded the burial site of JJ Vallow -- "You could feel with your hands the outline of where the grave had been dug was present there," he said.

9:30 a.m.: Hart's goal was to do a complete analysis on Lori Vallow's iCloud accounts, named "lori4style" and "lollytime." The iCloud account "lollytime" was created in April of 2019. The account "lori4style" was created in 2000, Hart said.

9:15 a.m.: "If a child is killed, they are typically killed within 24 hours of being abducted," Hart said.

The FBI has a team called "CARD" -- the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Unit -- that takes action to bring expertise to find a missing child. They are primarily consultants who help law enforcement. The FBI's involvement in the case began on Nov. 27, 2019, as soon as police realized the children were missing. They worked in conjunction with the Behavioral Analysis Unit and the CARD team.

9:00 a.m.: Hart is now the chief deputy for the Canyon County Sheriff, but just eight months ago, he was an FBI special agent for 27 years. He worked in Hawaii for almost six years and then spent seven years on the Nez Perce reservation working violent crimes and homicides. In 2001, he transferred to the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force, led and funded by the FBI, and later became a supervisor for agents in Boise and Pocatello.

8:50 a.m.: The defense is allowed to conduct voir dire upon Hart to determine if he violated the exclusionary rule set by the court that restricts witnesses from listening or reading prior testimony.

The prosecution says Hart was helping go through documents and interviews with the witnesses in this case as well as preparing them for trial, which is customary with law enforcement. 

The court does not find any violation of the exclusionary rule, so Hart's testimony is allowed in.

8:35 a.m.: The court is debating whether or not to allow report summaries from former FBI Special Agent Douglas Hart, who has reviewed every report done by any member of the FBI in this case. These reports would reflect the texts of Lori Vallow with her alleged co-conspirators, the prosecution says.

The prosecution had to amend the exhibit late last night to fit the restricts of the court.

The defense objects to hearsay on certain pages of the exhibits -- they say Hart can't testify to it because it's secondhand information to what others have told Vallow. 

Judge Steven Boyce says, based on his interpretation of the Idaho Rules of Evidence, that the summaries are allowed and can be testified to.

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