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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Autopsy completed in investigation of Tammy Daybell’s death

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 5, 2021

Children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, left, and Tylee Ryan.  (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)
Children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, left, and Tylee Ryan. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)
By Johnathan Hogan Idaho Falls Post Register

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday it had received an autopsy report for Tammy Daybell’s body, more than a year after her remains were exhumed.

Sheriff Len Humphries said via a news release his office would not yet share details from the report, which is evidence in the investigation into Daybell’s death.

Daybell died on Oct. 19, 2019, two weeks before her husband, Chad Daybell, married Lori Vallow. Her death was originally deemed to be of natural causes. Her remains were exhumed on Dec. 11, 2019, after an investigation was opened into the disappearance of J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan, Lori’s two children. The children’s bodies were found buried on Chad’s property after months of searching.

Tammy’s autopsy was performed by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner, after initially being sent to Boise. The autopsy was complicated because her remains had been laid to rest for two months before Humphries decided to have them exhumed.

Tammy’s father, Ron Douglas, said Tammy seemed healthy when he visited her two weeks before her death. Douglas said Chad had told him Tammy had gone to bed with a terrible cough and never woke up.

Ten days before Tammy’s death, she reported that she was approached in the driveway at her home by a man in a ski mask pointing what she said was a paintball gun at her. The man reportedly shot at her several times but she told a Fremont County sheriff’s deputy she didn’t think the gun was loaded. She said the man left when she called out for her husband.

The Idaho Attorney General’s Office took over the investigation into Tammy’s death in April, investigating Chad for murder, attempted murder, and criminal conspiracy.

The Fremont County Prosecutor’s Office also announced Thursday it would take over prosecutorial duties in the investigation into the death of Tammy Daybell.

“The newly elected prosecutor, Lindsey A. Blake, requested the case be transferred back to Fremont to be handled locally,” the news release said. “The Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office thanks the Idaho Attorney General’s Office for their hard work, time and effort on this case.”

Tammy’s family launched the Tammy Douglas Daybell Foundation on the anniversary of her death. The foundation promotes reading and writing among children, to honor her life and her work as a librarian at Central Elementary School in Sugar City.

Chad has not been charged for his wife’s death. Tammy’s death was one of several, however, that drew suspicion to the couple as questions were raised about the whereabouts of Lori’s children. Among those deaths was Lori’s ex-husband, Charles Vallow, who was killed by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, in reported self defense. Cox, 49, died Dec. 12, 2019, in Gilbert, Ariz. Cox’s death was later ruled to be from bilateral pulmonary thromboembolism or blood clots in his lungs.

Chad and Lori are both being held on charges of destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence and attempted destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence in relation to the discovery that Vallow’s children had been buried on Chad’s property. A motion hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 17.

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