ST. ANTHONY – The Fremont County Sheriff’s office is reporting that two weeks before her death, Tammy Daybell contacted officers, stating that someone threatened her with a paintball gun.
“We did send an officer out. She said that somebody was dressed in black and wearing a ski mask. She thought they had a paintball gun,” said Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries.
Humphries said that Mrs. Daybell told the responding officer that she was close enough to have hit the man but instead called her husband, Chad Daybell.
“She wasn’t shot, and there wasn’t any evidence to who it was. She figured it was a prankster. That’s what we wrote it up as,” he said. “She wasn’t injured. Beyond what she told us, we had nothing to go on.”
Humphries reported that following the incident, Tammy posted the story on Facebook.
Humphries said that investigators are considering all events that occurred shortly before Tammy’s Oct 19 death. Originally, it was believed she died of natural causes, but investigators now consider it suspicious.
“We are looking at everything that we can,” Humphries said.
About two weeks after Tammy’s death, Chad Daybell married Lori Vallow, and the two disappeared shortly after being questioned by police about the whereabouts of Vallow’s two children Joshua “J.J.” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17.
Vallow had been widowed in July after her brother Alex Cox shot and killed her former husband, Charles Vallow. Cox claimed self defense, and shortly after Charles Vallow’s death, Cox also died. His death is under investigation by the Chandler, Arizona police.
Both Vallow and Daybell are subjects of interest in the disappearance of Joshua and Tylee. Tylee’s father, Joseph Ryan, died in 2018 apparently of a heart attack, and he was later cremated. Between Vallow and Daybell, they have three deceased spouses all of which died within the past year and a half. Daybell may be Vallow’s fourth husband.
On Monday afternoon, the Rexburg Police issued a press release thanking the community for its help in attempting to locate Joshua and Tylee, who are still missing.
“The search for Joshua and Tylee is ongoing,” according to a press release from the Rexburg Police Department. “We appreciate everyone who has brought attention to this situation by sharing information with our offices and on social media. We are very grateful for the help of the FBI and their resources. Finally, we are grateful for all the media outlets who have shared press releases and stories relating to these missing children. We continue to welcome any information regarding these children’s whereabouts from informed citizens, investigative journalism, or any other source.”
Police reported that they initially received a missing child report on the two Vallow children Nov. 26. The two children went missing prior to Tammy Daybell’s death. Extended family members hadn’t heard from the youth in several weeks and asked police to do a welfare check on the children.
“We have taken every step available to us, including executing multiple search warrants, interviewing multiple sources, and running down every lead we have found,” according to the press release “We strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger.”
Rexburg Police also reported that following Tammy Daybell’s death, that Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell told witnesses the false story that Lori’s daughter had died a year before her father passed away.
“Around that same time, Chad told another witness that Lori had no minor children,” stated the press release.
The Rexburg Police reported that residents have asked why they haven’t filed any charges against Vallow and Daybell.
“Our primary concern at this point is simply locating Joshua and Tylee, and charging decisions will be made in due course based upon the evidence available,” according to the press release. “If we find that harm was done to these children within our jurisdiction, we will prosecute whoever caused that harm.”
The police reminded residents that Vallow and Daybell have refused to tell officers where the children are. Shortly after police interviewed the couple about the whereabouts of Joshua Vallow, the couple fled Rexburg. Before they left, the couple told police the boy was with Arizona relatives and such turned out to be false information.
“We know that the children are not with Lori and Chad Daybell. We also have information indicating that Lori knows either the location of the children or what has happened to them,” the police said. “It is astonishing that rather than work with law enforcement to help us locate her own children, Lori Vallow has chosen instead to leave the state with her new husband.”
Vallow’s former in-law, Brandon Boudreaux, who was married to her niece, told the Standard Journal that Lori and Chad had known each other for years and had bonded over their shared religion that focused on the end of the world.
Boudreux is increasingly concerned about the wellbeing of Vallow’s children.
“They were there as witnesses when her husband (Charles) was shot,” he said. “Another thing we have to look at is that everybody who was there that day is missing or gone.”
Police are asking Vallow and Daybell to come forward and let police know the whereabouts of their children.
“We publicly call on Lori Vallow/Daybell and Chad Daybell to do the right thing and come forward with the information they have about the location and welfare of Joshua and Tylee,” they said. “This entire investigation could have been avoided if Lori and Chad had simply been honest with law enforcement. We further continue to ask that anyone with any information regarding the location or welfare of Joshua and Tylee share that information with law enforcement.”
The Vallow-Daybell story has generated interest worldwide. Humphries reported receiving numerous calls from such news organizations as CNN and FOX News on Monday.
Facebook has set up a page dedicated to the case, and YouTube has videos detailing the story.
Fremont County is currently awaiting an autopsy report on Tammy Daybell, and it’s expected to be received in the next two weeks. Suspicions were raised about her death after the Vallow children were publicly reported missing, and after Chad Daybell quickly married Vallow just days after Tammy’s death.
Vallow and Daybell have hired Rexburg lawyer Sean Bartholick to represent them. Bartholick wasn’t available for comment.
As more information is gathered, the Standard Journal will update this story.
Anyone with information on the missing children’s whereabouts are asked to call 208-359-3000 or 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678).