Human remains have been found at an Idaho man’s home that was searched Tuesday during an investigation into the disappearance of his new wife’s two children — a case that has vexed investigators since last year and attracted worldwide attention.
Chad Daybell, who recently married the children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, was taken into custody, according to police in the small town of Rexburg. He has not been charged, and his attorney, Mark Means, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan haven’t been seen since September, and police say both Chad and Lori Daybell lied to investigators about the children’s whereabouts. Besides the missing children, the couple has been under scrutiny following the deaths of both of their former spouses and drew attention for their doomsday beliefs.
Rexburg police, along with investigators from the FBI and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, were searching Chad Daybell’s home in the eastern Idaho town of Salem for the second time. The search warrant is sealed, and Rexburg Assistant Police Chief Gary Hagan said in a statement that he couldn’t reveal details other than to say the search was linked to the disappearance of the children.
“Throughout the investigation detectives and investigators have recovered what’s believed to be human remains that have not been identified at this time,” Hagan said.
Police wouldn’t answer any additional questions right now, he said.
Lori Daybell is awaiting trial on charges of child abandonment and obstructing the investigation and has pleaded not guilty. The Idaho attorney general’s office announced this year that it was investigating Chad Daybell in the death of his wife at the time, Tammy Daybell.
The complicated case began last summer, when Lori Daybell’s ex-husband Charles Vallow was shot to death by her brother, Alex Cox, in Phoenix. At the time, Cox said the shooting was in self-defense. Charles and Lori Vallow had been estranged, and in divorce documents Charles Vallow claimed Lori believed she had become a god-like figure who was responsible for ushering in the biblical end times. Cox died in December of an apparent blood clot in his lung.
Shortly after Charles Vallow’s death, Lori and her children moved to Idaho. Tylee was last seen in September headed into Yellowstone National Park with her mom and other family for a day trip, and JJ was last seen by school officials several days later.
Police began investigating the children’s whereabouts after relatives raised concerns. Investigators have said both Chad and Lori Daybell claimed the children were staying with friends.
Tammy Daybell died in her sleep last October of what her obituary said were natural causes. Authorities grew suspicious when Chad Daybell married Lori just two weeks later, and they had Tammy Daybell’s body exhumed in December. The results of that autopsy have not been released.
Law enforcement officers first searched Chad Daybell’s home on Jan. 3 in connection with Tammy’s death, removing more than 40 items including several pieces of computer equipment.