Lori Vallow trial – live: Tylee’s DNA found on pickaxe at Daybell home as photos show body hacked and burned

The trial of “doomsday cult mom” Lori Vallow is underway in Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, where the mother-of-three is accused of killing her two youngest children and her new husband Chad Daybell’s first wife.

The 49-year-old is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, and grand theft over the deaths of her daughter Tylee Ryan, 16, son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Mr Daybell’s first wife Tammy, 49.

Tylee and JJ were last seen alive in September 2019. In June 2020, their remains were found buried on the Daybell property. Tammy died one month after their disappearance in October 2019.

There is huge interest in the case’s string of mysterious deaths and murders, and the related bizarre cult beliefs of those involved. Ms Vallow allegedly also conspired to murder her fourth husband Charles Vallow and is charged separately in a case in Arizona.

On Wednesday, jurors heard details of JJ and Tylee’s autopsies and their causes of death — he had been suffocated with a plastic bag, and she had been murdered by “unspecified means”.

GHB, known as a date rape drug, was also found in JJ’s system.

Key points

20:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Defence attorney John Thomas begins cross-examination with questions about Ms Dace’s experience and training.

Moving on to the hair found on the duct tape, Thomas asks how it was delivered to her.

She replies that it came inside an autopsy bag. Asked if the fair could have been floating around the body and become attached to the tape, she admits it is a possibility.

20:36 , Oliver O'Connell

Trace evidence from the duct tape used to bind JJ was sent to another lab for testing. There were hairs collected from the samples.

No further questions from the prosecution.

20:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Photographs of the tools are shown to the court with Ms Dace explaining what each is and whether she was able to get a viable DNA sample.

DNA found on a shovel matched Tylee.

When investigating material found at the end of a pick axe was also tested and returned a partial DNA profile. The DNA was female and Tylee was a potential contributor.

Two parts of the handle of the pick axe tested positive for blood. The DNA matched Tylee.

20:11 , Oliver O'Connell

When it came to testing the tools from the Daybell property, Ms Dace testifies: “[I] found several presumptive positive blood stains on the tools and on several of the tools I found what could be charred flesh.”

They were photographed and samples were taken for DNA testing.

New witness: Katie Dace, Idaho State Police

20:08 , Oliver O'Connell

Court resumes with a scheduling note from Judge Steven Boyce that proceedings need to finish 10 minutes early today (at 3.20pm MT) and will end early tomorrow at 1.30pm MT.

The next witness on the stand is Katie Dace, a forensic biologist with the Idaho State Police. She received swabs from JJ’s autopsy as well as swabs from the townhome in Rexburg. She was sent the chain and pendant and 18 tools from the Daybell property to analyse.

Ms Dace also did testing on the duct tape from JJ’s body in case whoever put the tape on him tore off the tape with their mouth and left DNA traces.

Decomposition fluid was all over the surface of the tape and plastic. They did not test it since they were trying to find DNA from a perpetrator.

The chain and pendant tested negative for blood.

There was a swab from a knife at the Rexburg townhome which was also negative, and blood on the wall of the townhome was a weak positive.

Court hears how killer tried to chop up Tylee’s body

19:49 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s daughter’s killer tried to chop up her body with a hatchet or cleaver before burying her burned bones and organs on Chad Daybell’s property, according to disturbing courtroom testimony.

FBI Agent Douglas Halepaska, a forensic examiner in the firearms and tool marks division, testified at the doomsday cult mom’s murder trial on Thursday morning about the injuries found on 16-year-old Tylee Ryan’s skeletal remains.

He described how Tylee’s hip bones and sacrum (the bone at the base of the spine) had injuries and fractures caused by a “chopping-type action”.

Rachel Sharp reports.

Lori Vallow trial hears killer tried to chop up Tylee’s body with ‘hatchet, cleaver’

Lori Vallow has become ‘different person’, says family

19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s cousin has said that she has become a “totally different person” to the woman she grew up with.

Christie Lott told East Idaho News that she has lots of happy memories growing up with Ms Vallow but now sees her in a totally different light as she attends her triple-murder trial.

“We are getting our own answers and we are getting to see that Lori is a totally different person,” she said.

“It’s hard because we love her but I feel like I’m saying goodbye to her. I don’t have to think about her anymore. It’s like a funeral for Lori.”

However, she said the family is thankful for all the support they from the public.

“I’m very grateful for all the people going through the process that have to see these things and are willing to talk about it in the trial,” she said.

“I hope justice is served to the best of its ability. I don’t think Lori should be out on the street with normal people.

“It’s going to be up to God what happens to her and I think that will be more satisfying to us than anything that can happen here at the courthouse.”

18:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Boyce calls lunch.

The trial will resume at 1pm MT.

18:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Tests confirm with 99.9999% certainty that Dennis Trahan is the father of JJ Vallow based on a sample from his molar, which still had “plump vessels inside”.

No further questions and no cross-examination.

18:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Tests confirm with 99.9999% certainty that Lori Vallow is the mother of Tylee Ryan based on a sample from her molar.

18:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Nowlin explains the process of collecting DNA and how controls are built into the system.

She says she was given samples from both Tylee and JJ — molars and a section of rib.

*Dennis Trahan is JJ’s biological father.

New witness: Rylene Nowlin, Idaho State Police

18:35 , Oliver O'Connell

The next witness is Rylene Nowlin, lab manager of the Idaho State Police’s forensics department.

Prosecution attorney Rob Wood is questioning her.

She says she has testified approximately 85 times in the past regarding DNA analysis over the course of 20 years and has tested thousands of DNA samples.

18:32 , Oliver O'Connell

In cross-examination, John Thomas asks if Mr Sincerbeaux looked for evidence of other ignitable liquids and how full the pint-sized can was — he answers that he doesn’t recall but they are usually about three-quarters full and the composition was approximately 50 per cent flesh and 50 per cent other debris.

New witness: David Sincerbeaux, Idaho State Police

18:22 , Oliver O'Connell

The next witness for the prosecution is David Sinberbeaux of the Idaho State Police, now retired.

He worked as an analytical chemist analysing fire debris and drugs.

Mr Sincerbeaux explains how to look for evidence of gasoline and says he was given a pint-sized paint can containing decomposing flesh and other debris from Tylee’s grave site.

The contents tested positive for gasoline.

18:07 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Halepaska reiterates that the marks were created with a consistent tool but he does not know what.

18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Cross-examination of Agent Halepaska resumes.

He tells defence attorney John Thomas that examinations like this are infrequent but he has done five or six of them in his career.

Asked about what kind of reference tools he used in the case of the marks found on Tylee’s bones, Agent Halepaska says he looked at a machete, a hatchet, machetes, and other bladed tools which are consistent with the marks.

The court hears that none of the tools found on Chad Daybell’s property were used in the testing as only the bones were submitted to him as evidence.

He adds it would have been helpful to have the tools to analyse.

JJ had date rape drug in his system as shocking cause of death revealed

17:34 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s seven-year-old son JJ Vallow had the date rape drug GHB in his system when he was smothered to death with plastic bags around his head, according to harrowing testimony from a pathologist.

Shocking details about JJ and his sister Tylee Ryan’s causes of death were revealed for the first time on Wednesday in Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, where their mother is on trial for their murders.

Forensic pathologist Garth Warren, who conducted the autopsies on the two children, revealed that JJ died by asphyxiation with multiple layers of plastic bags wrapped around the little boy’s head and duct tape over his mouth.

JJ, who had autism, also had scratch marks on his neck suggesting he was awake and fought for his life to get the bag off his head.

“That’s a red flag,” Dr Warren testified about the scratches.

Read more:

Lori Vallow trial told JJ had date rape drug GHB in system as cause of death revealed

17:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Cross-examination of Agent Halepaska begins with John Thomas asking questions for Lori Vallow’s defence team. He begins by asking him about his education and experience.

Judge Boyce calls a twenty-minute break.

17:14 , Oliver O'Connell

More hip bone injuries are shown to the court.

One particularly large defect is pictured from a chopping-type action with the force coming from left to right and “kind of coming upward”. There’s fracturing around the main defect that went all the way through.

A composite photo of all of the injuries to the hip bones is displayed connecting them to the sacrum and the spine.

Agent Halepaska says he determined that a consistent tool was used to make the five chopping actions and the one stabbing action. Likely a knife, hatchet, cleaver, something with serrated teeth marks, a machete or other tools

17:01 , Oliver O'Connell

More photos are shown, including an intact portion of Tylee’s spine attached to the sacrum (the bone at the base of the spine). There is evidence of more chopping-type action that pierced the hard layer of bone.

“I was unable to find any tool marks but it does appear some type of force was applied to it perpendicular driving it downward but it was still attached to the bone.”

Agent Halepaska is unsure of what tool was used to make these marks.

16:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Another tool mark looks to have had a serrated edge and the teeth marks from the tool are visible on the bone. This was a chopping motion and came from left to right, Mr Halepaska says.

On the reverse-angle photo, the damage came from the front side of the bone that carried bone fragments through the bone to the opposite side.

“I believe it was some type of bladed tool like a knife however I couldn’t preclude other tools that might have some type of pointed edge.”

16:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Halepaska was unable to identify any characteristics of the tool that caused the damage.

Another image of the hip bone is shown with more damage and fractures, again caused by a chopping action.

“It didn’t drive all the way through the hard layer of the bone but you can see basically part of the bone of the damaged area.”

Again he was unable to identify the characteristics of the tool.

He suspects the injuries came from a bladed tool such as a machete or hatchet.

16:41 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Halepaska explains that a deeper examination is undertaken involving a comparison microscope so he can look at two separate samples simultaneously.

A series of photos are shown to the court with markers pointing out damage to Tylee’s hip bone. Mr Halepaska describes this as signs of stabbing or chopping-type actions.

“You can actually see some of the bone here has begun to fracture and the force of the impact came down at a perpendicular angle. This fracturing that’s occurring has been driven to the bone. The bone has a hard layer and a hallowed layer inside. This penetrated the hard layer into the hallow layer and there was damage that occurred on the other side of the bone.”

The casts taken as part of the examination can be used to try and identify the weapon used.

16:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Halepaska was sent Tylee’s remains by the Ada County Coroner’s Office.

He explains that he opens up any packages of evidence sent to him and reviews the contents for tool marks, documenting his findings in handwritten notes and photographs.

To clarify what he is looking for, it is a mark left when “two objects come in contact with each other”.

“The harder of the two objects is called the tool, the softer of the objects is called the tool mark.”

He then takes casts of the items in evidence. In the case of Tylee’s remains, he took five casts using a silicon-based compound that is administered as a thick liquid and then dries as a rubberised material.

New witness: Douglas Halepaska

16:15 , Rachel Sharp

The next witness has been called to the stand.

Douglas Halepaska is an FBI forensic examiner in the firearms and tool marks division.

He explains his background and qualifications in tool marks and firearms.

NOTE: He seems to have instantly answered Lori Vallow’s attorney’s call for a tool mark expert...

Lori Vallow’s attorney grills expert on tools used on Tylee’s body

16:10 , Rachel Sharp

Lori Vallow’s attorney is grilling Dr Christensen on what her examination revealed about the tools used on Tylee’s body.

She says that is not her expertise but would be down to a tool expert to determine.

Mr Thomas questions how she can know the injuries were caused by sharp trauma without knowing what tool caused them.

Dr Christensen says she can tell because the wounds from sharp trauma and blunt trauma are different.

Testimony concludes and she steps down from the stand.

Cross-examination begins

16:05 , Rachel Sharp

After briefly pointing out an X-ray of Tylee’s sacrum bone ( the bone at the bottom of the spinal column) and four vertebrae, the state rests and Lori Vallow’s attorney John Thomas begins cross-examination.

Mr Thomas asks about Dr Christensen’s experience on dismemberment cases.

The forensic anthropologist says she has worked a handful of cases but also constantly reads reports and case studies on the topic.

During direct testimony, Dr Christensen had told jurors that her examination of Tylee’s remains were inconsistent with dismemberment .

Tylee’s pelvic bones not consistent with dismemberment

15:55 , Rachel Sharp

Jurors are shown images of Tylee’s pelvis bones – or “hip bone”.

On the left hip bone, Dr Christensen points out five areas of “sharp impact” while there are six areas of “sharp alterations” on the right hip bone.

The forensic anthropologist says that the locations of the injuries on the bones are inconsistent with dismemberment.

Day 17 begins: Dr Angi Christensen returns to stand

15:47 , Rachel Sharp

Dr Angi Christensen has returned to the stand to continue to give testimony for the state.

The forensic anthropologist carried out an in-depth examination of Tylee’s remains, analysing 100 bones belonging to the 16-year-old which were found on charred, burned and dispersed on Chad Daybell’s property.

Day 17: Lori Vallow enters courtroom

15:43 , Rachel Sharp

Lori Vallow has entered the courtroom for day 17 of her murder trial.

She is dressed in a “zebra-ish white and black patterned pants, a black top and a black jacket”, according to East Idaho News Nate Eaton.

Tammy Daybell’s sister Samantha Gwilliam and Chad Daybell’s attorney are also in court.

Lori Vallow’s cousin says seeing JJ and Tylee’s autopsy photos was ‘horrific'

15:40 , Rachel Sharp

Lori Vallow’s cousin has spoken out about how “horrific” it was to see JJ and Tylee’s autopsy photos.

Christie Lott told East Idaho News that she and her sister met with prosecutors this week to see the graphic images of her niece and nephew’s remains.

“I wanted to do it to see for sure that it was them and they’re gone. You would do that at a funeral,” she said.

“You want to say goodbye to a body and I don’t know if we will get that chance any time soon.”

However, she said she was glad that only the family and jurors were able to see the images – and not the public gallery.

“I’m really glad they didn’t show those pictures to the public. People shouldn’t have to see them,” she said.

Napping in court, three words and typing too loudly: Bizarre moments from Lori Vallow’s murder trial

15:21 , Rachel Sharp

New harrowing and bizarre details about the cult beliefs which allegedly drove – or excused – the 49-year-old to kill continue to come to light during her murder trial in Ada County Courthouse.

But, beyond the trial testimony, there’s also been some bizarre happenings taking place inside the courtroom.

Read more here:

Bizarre moments from Lori Vallow’s murder trial

Day 17: What’s going to happen in court today?

15:03 , Rachel Sharp

Lori Vallow’s trial will resume at 8.30am local time in Ada County Courthouse.

First up, Dr Angi Christensen will return to the stand to continue to give testimony for the state.

The forensic anthropologist carried out an in-depth examination of Tylee’s remains,

She looked at around 100 bones belonging to the 16-year-old.

Tammy Daybell’s sister Samantha Gwilliam and her husband have also arrived in Boise, according to East Idaho News’ Nate Eaton – suggesting that jurors could also hear from the murder victim’s sibling today.

Key revelations from Lori Vallow’s murder trial so far

14:32 , Rachel Sharp

“Cult mom” Lori Vallow is currently on trial in a case that has shocked the nation with its bizarre doomsday cult ties and the tragic deaths of almost everyone close to the mother-of-three and her new husband Chad Daybell.

The 49-year-old is charged with the murders of her children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 16, and conspiracy to murder Mr Daybell’s first wife Tammy Daybell.

JJ and Tylee vanished without a trace back in September 2019, with their mother refusing to reveal their whereabouts to authorities for many months.

One month after they were last seen alive, Tammy – an otherwise healthy 49-year-old – died suddenly and Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell soon jetted off to Hawaii to get married on the beach.

In June 2020, the remains of JJ and Tylee were found buried on the grounds of Mr Daybell’s property in Rexburg, Idaho, and the doomsday cult couple were eventually charged with murder.

Prosecutors allege that Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell conspired with Ms Vallow’s brother Alex Cox to murder Tammy, JJ and Tylee as part of their bizarre cult beliefs – but also for financial purposes so that they could collect Tammy’s life insurance money and the children’s social security and survivor benefits.

After lengthy delays – due to the pandemic and Ms Vallow’s admission into a mental health facility – her trial is finally under way in a courtroom in Boise, Idaho.

Here are the key revelations from the trial – so far:

Cult beliefs and charred remains: Key revelations from Lori Vallow’s murder trial

LISTEN: Lori Vallow’s distressing jailhouse phone call with sister

13:55 , Rachel Sharp

GHB found in JJ’s system

13:35 , Rachel Sharp

JJ Vallow had alcohol and the “date rape drug” GHB in his system when he was suffocated to death with a plastic bag over his head, jurors heard in court on Wednesday.

Forensic pathologist Garth Warren, who carried out the autopsies on JJ and Tylee, revealed the children’s cause of death for the first time.

He said liver samples showed that JJ had ethanol alcohol, caffeine, theobromine and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB).

GHB is a sedative that can be used to treat epilepsy but is commonly referred to as the “date rape drug”.

Despite its presence in the seven-year-old’s body, Mr Warren said he could not say for sure if the boy had been drugged prior to his death.

He told the court that GHB can also appear naturally in the body and so “there was no way for me to tell for sure whether this is naturally occurring product or if JJ had been given GHB”.

Did Lori Vallow accidentally make a key confession?

13:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Rachel Sharp looks at what she told her sister in a jailhouse phone call.

Did Lori Vallow make a key confession about children’s deaths in a jail call?

Vallow trial hears devastating call with sister

12:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The trial of “doomsday cult mom” Lori Vallow has been played a devastating jailhouse call in which her sister accused her of throwing her murdered children “away like garbage.”

An Idaho court heard Summer Shiflet sobbing uncontrollably in audio of a video call she made with her sister as she sat behind bars on 24 June 2020.

In the call, Ms Shiflet told her sister that Tylee and JJ’s bodies had been found in Ms Vallow’s backyard, with Tylee’s being discovered in a pet cemetery.

Graeme Massie reports.

Vallow trial hears devastating call with sister after discovery of children’s bodies

What new information have we found out during the trial?

11:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Rachel Sharp explains the most crucial moments so far in her high-profile trial.

Cult beliefs and charred remains: Key revelations from Lori Vallow’s murder trial

Who is ‘doomsday cult mom’ Lori Vallow?

10:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Rachel Sharp profiles, Lori Vallow, the mother-of-three, former game show contestant, Mrs Texas Beauty Pageant contender and cult follower.

But is she also a killer?

Lori Vallow: Who is the ‘cult mom’ on trial for her children’s murders?

Who are the key players in the Lori Vallow trial?

09:30 , Oliver O'Connell

It’s a tangled web of people and incidents that spans more than three states. Here’s a who’s who of the main characters.

Who are the key players in Lori Vallow’s trial?

‘You ripped my heart out’

08:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The Lori Vallow trial heard a recording of an emotional prison call with surviving son Colby Ryan after the discovery of the bodies of his siblings.

Lori Vallow trial hears gut-wrenching prison call with surviving son Colby Ryan

Vallow’s chilling internet searches and trove of burner phones revealed

07:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Chilling internet searches have revealed that “doomsday cult mom” Lori Vallow shopped for life insurance policies for her children two months before they were murdered and buried on her new lover Chad Daybell’s property.

Rachel Sharp has the details.

Cult mom Lori Vallow’s chilling internet searches revealed

Everything we know about the Lori Vallow Daybell ‘doomsday cult’ murder trial

05:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Rachel Sharp delves into the deeply disturbing tale of suspected murders, unexplained deaths and apocalyptic cult beliefs about killing zombies which surrounds Lori Vallow and her doomsday author husband Chad Daybell.

What we know about the Lori Vallow Daybell ‘doomsday cult’ murder trial

Vallow’s cousin reveals haunting fear about Tylee and JJ's murders

03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s estranged cousin has revealed one of her most haunting fears about the murders for which the so-called “cult mom” is currently on trial.

Megan Eyden, whose father is Ms Vallow’s uncle, spoke out about the bombshell case in an interview with NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield aired Friday night.

Megan Sheets has the story.

Lori Vallow’s cousin reveals haunting fear about children’s murders

Vallow’s chilling response to question about missing daughter

01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A former friend of Lori Vallow has revealed the “cult mom’s” chilling response after being confronted about her missing teen daughter.

Andrea Blanco reports on what she said.

Lori Vallow’s chilling response to question about missing Tylee revealed

Timeline of ‘doomsday cult mom’s’ mystery case

Wednesday 26 April 2023 23:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Rachel Sharp compiled a timeline of this complex case.

Timeline of the Lori Vallow Daybell case

Court adjourns for the day

Wednesday 26 April 2023 22:34 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Boyce adjourns court for the day.

Dr Christiansen’s testimony will resume tomorrow morning when the trial resumes at 8.30am MT.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 22:33 , Oliver O'Connell

The locations of the sharp trauma injuries are centered around Tylee’s pelvis with one right above the public region.

This is especially inconsistent with dismemberment.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 22:26 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Christensen explains bone trauma, saying there is blunt trauma, sharp trauma, and high-velocity trauma.

She identified sharp trauma on three of Tylee’s bones, on the left and right hip bones, and the back of her pelvis. The tool that caused this trauma would have a “small service area” with a beveled edge or point.

Dr Christiansen says sharp traumas from dismemberments occur around joints, but these traumas are not from dismemberment.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 22:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Photographs, images, and scans taken from the examination of Tylee’s bones are submitted into evidence and displayed to the court.

Dr Christiansen says she found evidence of “carnivore activity” on the back of Tylee’s femur.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 22:12 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Christensen says her report shows at least one bone was bent at or around the time of death and there was extensive thermal damage.

New witness: Dr Angi Christensen, FBI forensic anthropologist

Wednesday 26 April 2023 22:06 , Oliver O'Connell

The next witness for the prosecution is Dr Angi Christensen, a forensic anthropologist for the FBI who works in Quantico, Virginia.

She can give an in-depth examination of a skeleton but cannot determine the cause and manner of death of an individual. She would begin with a visual examination of the bones before progressing to the use of a microscope or X-rays.

The Ada County Coroner requested help from Dr Christensen. SHe did the initial visual assessment, measured the bones, looked at some items with a microscope, and did a CT scan of the bones.

Dr Christensen examined around 100 bones belonging to Tylee Ryan, representing all the major parts of the skeleton. They were fragmented and burned. Three bones had sharp edges as if impacted with a tool, others were bent.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 21:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Warren is asked about the bruising on JJ’s arms and confirms that the bruises would have been inflicted either at or in the hours before death. A healing bruise from days before would be a different colour.

Thomas has no further questions for Dr Warren. He is dismissed but kept under subpoena in case he is needed again.

The court goes on its afternoon break.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 21:29 , Oliver O'Connell

There is a bizarre exchange in which Thomas says the theories he is putting forward are based on what he sees in movies...

Wednesday 26 April 2023 21:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Talking about JJ’s cause of death (asphyxia), Dr Warren is asked if he swabbed JJ’s sinuses, to which he says no; or his throat, to which he says “yes”.

Thomas asks if there were traces of microplastics and is told that they would not have found that.

He asks how he concluded that JJS wss strangled with a plastic bag.

Dr Warren explains that here was evidence of struggle and the bag was duct-taped, but adds that it is possible.

Asked if the bag could have been put on after death, he concedes that it is possible, however, he says if you have a person with a plastic bag taped over his head and the autopsy shows nothing else, you would assume it was asphyxia.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 21:17 , Oliver O'Connell

Thomas as Dr Warren about his training and expertise in the field of forensic pathology before asking more specific questions about evidence collection.

Dr Warren says he was trained on getting nail swabs, fingernail clippings, and getting clothes off bodies, but he was not trained in collecting trace evidence such as a strand of hair.

He explains that while it is law enforcement’s responsibility to collect evidence at the scene of a crime, it is his to collect evidence off of the body itself. He explains that other law enforcement officials and coroners are present at the autopsy, and it’s a team effort.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 21:05 , Oliver O'Connell

After the photos have been shown and described in court, Wood has no further questions for Dr Warren.

Defence attorney John Thomas will now cross-examine the pathologist.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 20:58 , Oliver O'Connell

As photos of Tylee’s remains are displayed, Lori appears to be avoiding looking at the screen.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 20:37 , Oliver O'Connell

Unlike the photos of JJ’s autopsy, some of Tylee’s photos will be shown on the big screen in court.

“But there are some photographs in here, not all of them, in order to minimize the inflammatory effect should not be shown on the large projector screen,” Boyce says.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 20:31 , Oliver O'Connell

The court is reminded that Tylee’s remains came for autopsy in three separate bags. In bag two was a single strand of hair along with the melted green bucket.

Multiple pieces of soft tissue, skeletal muscle, the liver, and other organs were sent off for potential DNA analysis along with the hair.

The state submits 30 photos of Tylee’s autopsy as evidence.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 20:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Wood begins by asking Dr Warren what the criteria are for a death to be ruled a homicide by unspecified means.

“There are specific guidelines and criteria used dealing with the cause of death. Number one: It has to be objectively suspicious circumstances - dismembered body, body is burned, body is buried out of site - and others. This case clearly fits number one. Number two: No findings at autopsy to explain the death.”

Dr Warren adds that he found no drugs or other substances in the toxicology report to explain Tylee’s death.

Therefore her case met all of the qualifications to say she died by homicide by unspecified means.

“This is a homicide, I just can’t tell you exactly why,” he says.

Asked if there is anything in her medical records that could indicate a reason for her death, he responds: “No.”

Court resumes after lunch

Wednesday 26 April 2023 20:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Court is back in session after lunch with Judge Boyce back on the bench and the jury back in their seats.

Prosecutor Wood will continue to question forensic pathologist Dr Gareth Warren.

As a recap, Alex Caprariello of News Nation tweets:

We adjourned after Warren revealed his two conclusions related to their causes of death: JJ died by asphyxia from a bag placed over his head & duct tape over his mouth. Tylee died by “homicide by unspecified means.” Her body & bones were found dismembered & badly burned.

Did Lori Vallow accidentally make a key confession about Tylee and JJ’s deaths in jail call?

Wednesday 26 April 2023 19:41 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s high-profile trial took an unexpected turn this week when jurors heard a dramatic jailhouse phone call in which the “doomsday cult mom” appeared to make a key confession about her children’s murders.

The distressing call between the accused killer and her sister Summer Shiflet on 20 June 2020 was played in Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday, where Ms Vallow is on trial for the murders of her daughter Tylee Ryan, son JJ Vallow and new husband Chad Daybell’s first wife Tammy.

In the call, an inconsolable Ms Shiflet is heard confronting her sister about JJ and Tylee’s deaths – just days after the children’s remains were discovered in a shallow grave on Mr Daybell’s property in Salem, Idaho.


Did Lori Vallow make a key confession about children’s deaths in a jail call?

Wednesday 26 April 2023 19:07 , Oliver O'Connell

Court adjourns for lunch and will resume at 1pm MT.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 19:05 , Oliver O'Connell

WARNING: Graphic description

Due to the state of the remains, the autopsy took a lot longer as there is an extended process identifying which bones and soft tissue are present. Everything is x-rayed for foreign objects (e.g. pieces of a weapon or projectiles).

Skeletal muscle samples allowed for a toxicology sample to be taken and analysed.

The toxicology results were positive for ibuprofen (a common decomposition product), carbon monoxide, (Carboxyhemoglobin saturation level) and iron. The carbon monoxide level was extremely low indicating that Tylee was already dead when burned.

“There is no evidence to support that Tylee was alive when she was burned,” says Dr Warren.

A number of Tylee’s organs were found including her heart, connected to her right and left lung, one kidney, and portions of her bowel, liver, and brain.

“These organs had severe decomposition, significant burning artifacts, they were charred and shrunken. Presumably the rest of hte organs burned away or were never found,” he says.

As for her skeleton, they found her pelvis with the first portion of the femur attached, portions of skull (superior portion of eye orbit), fragments of skull, jawbone with some teeth still intact, multiple vertebrae, both clavicles, tibia and fibula, radius and ulna, part of her sternum, and multiple rib fragments.

They were blackened and charred by the fire and damaged during dismemberment.

Tylee’s cause of death designated as “homicide by unspecified means”.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 18:57 , Oliver O'Connell

WARNING: Graphic description

Questioning moves on to the autopsy of Tylee.

“This autopsy was different. The vast majority of the time when I perform an autopsy I get an entire body and there’s a process we go through. Tylee’s case was different. Her remains were received in three separate sealed bags. Two of the bags were black body bags and the third was a large brown paper bag that was sealed. Within that contacted five other paper bags within it. So I essentially received Tylee’s remains in multiple different bags,” Warren says.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 18:55 , Oliver O'Connell

There is a “heavy” feeling in the courtroom Nate Eaton of East Idaho News reports.

Dr Warren is asked about whether the bruises on JJ’s body came pre- or post-death. He answers that they came before JJ died.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 18:42 , Oliver O'Connell

Gigi McKelvey of Law & Crime believes Lori is now looking at the defence team’s monitor.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 18:36 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Caprariello of News Nation tweets:

Looking over at Lori and she is now crying and wiping her eyes. She is not looking at the screen but is clearly emotionally drained from this presentation and the things she’s hearing.

Wednesday 26 April 2023 18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The descriptions of the pictures coming from the courtroom are extremely graphic.

Some jurors are grimacing and one is looking away towards the witness, prosecutors or ceiling. Lori is not looking at the screen in front of her.

There is a large amount of duct tape used to bind JJ’s face and body.