SALT LAKE CITY — A former mission companion of Chad Daybell said he can’t believe what has happened to a man he’s kept in touch with and looked up to over the last 30 years.
“He was one of the best of us. We were a pretty solid group, but he was amazing,” said Trent Price, who served with Daybell. “We called him the gentle giant. He was tall and very soft-spoken but he seemed to have this real deep spirituality and people would gravitate to him.”
Daybell is now in the middle of one of the most bizarre and tragic cases involving two missing kids and a mother who has refused to talk.
Daybell married Lori Vallow just 14 days after his late wife, Tammie Daybell, suddenly passed away in her sleep. Vallow was arrested in Hawaii on Thursday and booked into jail on felony charges of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children.
The two children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, were last seen in September and were reported missing in December.
Daybell grew up in Utah County and Tammy Daybell’s parents live in Utah County. Tammy Daybell was found dead in her Fremont County, Idaho, home on Oct. 19.
Initially, her death was thought to be natural. But police have since deemed her death suspicious and exhumed her remains in Springville for an autopsy on Dec. 11.
Like everyone, Price hopes the children are alive and well, but he’s not liking the direction this is all heading.
“[Chad’s] not under arrest but there are suspicions and uncertain things that have happened, can’t deny that,” Price said. “I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but it’s not looking good right now.”
KSL TV also spoke to Chad Daybell’s parents. They said they did not want to comment about the case but said they are watching it very closely and have talked to their son since Lori Vallow’s arrest.
They would only say their son is going to be OK.