A husband and wife from Idaho
have been charged with murder
in the deaths of the wife's two children
, who were discovered buried on the husband's property eight months after they went missing in 2019.
Prosecutors in Madison and Fremont counties announced Tuesday that a grand jury
indicted Chad Daybell
and Lori Vallow-Daybell on first-degree murder charges in the deaths of JJ Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17.
Chad Daybell was also charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of his previous wife, Tammy Daybell, in October 2019. Tammy Daybell died in her sleep
just two weeks before her husband moved to Hawaii
with Vallow-Daybell and remarried, and her body
was exhumed in December for further testing.
The evidence and information that led to the indictments have not been disclosed by authorities.
In connection with the children's deaths, the couple is also charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception.
Vallow-Daybell was also charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing Social Security
benefits after her children went missing, while Daybell was charged with two counts of life insurance
fraud for policies he took out on Tammy Daybell and cashed out after her death, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said they have not decided whether to seek the death penalty
in the case and that they have until after the defendants enter a plea to do so.
is far from over,” Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake said at a press conference Tuesday that was closed to the media
The children's disappearance in September 2019 drew widespread attention, as the couple was initially seen pursuing what appeared to be a blissful new life as newlyweds in Hawaii while authorities struggled to locate the two children. Authorities repeatedly described the couple as uncooperative during their search, accusing Vallow-Daybell of providing false information on her children's whereabouts.
The couple's religious beliefs drew attention as well, with both described as being obsessed with the afterlife by family members.
said Daybell claimed to be able to receive visions from "beyond the veil" and was a doomsday writer
who had written several books about the Christian belief of Christ's return to Earth.
Melanie Gibb, a friend of Vallow-Daybell's, testified that Vallow-Daybell told her on multiple occasions in 2019 that her children had turned into zombies and that she and Chad Daybell believed that the only way to get rid of a dark spirit was to kill them.
Charles Vallow, Vallow-Daybell's previous husband, said in divorce
papers that she needed psychiatric help, that she was obsessed with near-death experiences, and that she believed she had lived numerous lives on other planets before her current life. He sought an order of protection as well as a mental health
evaluation for her before his shooting
death in the summer of 2019 by Vallow's brot.
Cox was never arrested or charged in connection with the shooting, which he claimed was in self-defense. In another twist, police
have said Cox was involved in a plot to hide the remains of his sister's children. Cox died in December 2019 of natural causes.