Man Sentenced to Death for Murder of Wife and Stepchildren in Idaho Tragedy

REXBURG, Idaho – A man from Idaho received the death penalty on Saturday for the killings of his first wife and his second wife’s two children, a case that has garnered national attention over the years.

Chad Daybell was found guilty by a jury of murdering his then-wife Tammy Daybell, along with 7-year-old Joshua Jaxon “J.J.” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, children of his second wife Lori Vallow Daybell. The couple maintained their innocence throughout the trial.

In a courtroom in Fremont County, Idaho, a jury recommended the death penalty for Daybell on Saturday, resulting in Judge Steven W. Boyce confirming the sentence. He was convicted on six counts including murder and conspiracy in connection to the three killings that occurred in 2019.

The case unfolded with the mysterious disappearance of the children and later intensified as investigators focused on Daybell, an author specialized in apocalyptic novels for Mormon audiences, and Vallow Daybell, a former beauty pageant contestant. Prosecutors accused the couple of harboring doomsday beliefs and rationalizing the murders through unconventional notions of purging “zombie” spirits.

The complex investigation spanned across various states and several years, originating from the missing children report. Following the sentencing, Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake described the investigative process as a challenging endeavor that involved multiple agencies and numerous individuals.

With Chad Daybell’s attorney yet to comment, the tragic story began in July 2019 with Vallow’s ex-husband’s death and later spiraled into the missing children report. Subsequent events lead to the discovery of the children’s remains on Daybell’s property and the eventual arrest of the couple in 2020.

As the family members of the victims expressed gratitude towards prosecutors and law enforcement officers after Daybell’s sentencing, the sense of closure brought relief to many. The family of Tammy Daybell, in a statement released through the Tammy Douglas Daybell Foundation, expressed their ongoing grief but also hope for eventual reunions.

Idaho’s history with the death penalty includes eight current death row inmates and twenty-nine executions since 1864. Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood reiterated the importance of justice being served and the lasting impact of the victims’ legacies on those who knew and loved them.