Chad Daybell to Plead Not Guilty to Charges Following Discovery of Stepchildren's Remains

Chad Daybell will plead not guilty after the remains of his two stepchildren, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old JJ Vallow, were found on his Idaho property last week. According to the Idaho State Journal, John Prior, Daybell's attorney, filed a court document stating Daybell would be pleading not guilty to his charges, which include two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.

In the documents, it is also stated that Daybell, who is married to the children's mother, Lori Vallow, and is also being investigated for the potential murder of his ex-wife, will seek a pre-jury trial conference and a jury trial. The Idaho State Journal explains that "pre-trial conferences are a time at which a judge and opposing attorneys can confer as to what will happen at a trial in order to simplify the trial process."

Dated June 12, the documents were filed just three days after Rexburg police officers, Fremont County deputies, and FBI agents executed a search warrant of Daybell's property at around 7 a.m. on June 9. Just hours after executed the warrant, Daybell was taken into custody for what authorities initially said was questioning. It was later confirmed that a search of the property had led to the discovery of two sets of human remains. A day later, Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said the remains were that of children, and that the way one set of remains was concealed was "particularly egregious." Police did not confirm that the remains were those of Tylee and JJ until Saturday after the medical examiner's office had positively identified them.

The children had not been seen alive since September, with Tylee last being seen on Sept. 8 on a family trip to Yellowstone National Park and JJ at school in Idaho just a few days later. They were reported missing in late November, sparking the months-long investigation, which renewed interest in a number of mysterious deaths surrounding the family. Daybell and Vallow fled to Hawaii and married, with Vallow being arrested on Feb. 20 after she defied a court order to produce the children to authorities by Jan. 30. She is facing felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, contempt of court and willful disobedience of court process or order for failing to produce the children.


It is unclear if Vallow and Daybell will face any additional charges. If he is found guilty, Daybell could face a maximum of five years in the state penitentiary or up to $10,000 fine for each charge, according to KUTV. The sentences could run consecutively or concurrently. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 1 and 2.