Jailhouse phone call: Daybells thought there was a '3% chance there would be trouble'

Rick Wright, an FBI special investigator, testifies during Chad Daybell's murder trial in Boise on Tuesday. Daybell is charged with the murders of his wife, Tammy Daybell, and his new wife's children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

Rick Wright, an FBI special investigator, testifies during Chad Daybell's murder trial in Boise on Tuesday. Daybell is charged with the murders of his wife, Tammy Daybell, and his new wife's children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. (Judge Steven W. Boyce via YouTube)

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BOISE — A jail phone call that Lori Vallow Daybell made to Chad Daybell "stuck out" to a Rexburg police detective.

After Lori Daybell was arrested on Feb. 20, 2020, detective Ray Hermosillo testified Wednesday that she talked to Chad Daybell 10 to 12 times each day, and police listened to the calls to get info about the missing children.

"They're doing all they can to destroy one of the key families, but they're not going to," Chad Daybell told Lori Daybell in audio played for the jury. Chad Daybell said he texted someone he called "Ray," who according to Hermosillo was a known alias of Lori Daybell's brother Alex Cox.

The conversation happened the day before the bodies of Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, were found on Chad Daybell's property, and months after Cox died of what police determined were natural causes.

Hermosillo, who was involved with the search for JJ and Tylee, told the court he was listening to phone calls between Lori and Chad Daybell after Lori Daybell's arrest and confinement in Madison County Jail.

"Through our investigation, interviews with multiple witnesses that were close to him (Chad Daybell), through the teachings in his books," Hermosillo said, "he would often talk about how he had the ability to see and speak with people on the other side of the veil," referring to heaven.

KSL.com is streaming the trial each day.

Hermosillo said in the couple's phone conversations, they continued to reference a "project," with Lori Daybell asking if "the blueprints are still intact? The timing?"

In the recorded audio of a call, Chad Daybell tells her Cox "misses you, but he's not far from contact. We can text him whenever."

"Can he just make us any guarantees?" Lori Daybell asks. "I mean, we did make our down payments. ... I would like a guarantee, just an end date of our project."

Lori Daybell says she could "text" anyone but tells Chad Daybell to remind Cox "that at the beginning of this project he said there's only a 3% chance there would be trouble." She also questions the "complications" that had occurred in the "project" and says there were "other things on the project, when I'm going back over it, that I could have easily done or been inspired to do, to avoid a lot of the issues that would have come up with that, that we were not made aware of."

Chad Daybell reassures her, saying that "overall this was part of the blueprint" and that "(Cox) is in that contractor position for a reason."

"My sweet, lovely Lola — things are going to work out not just because he says so, but because I know. It's a marvelous plan," Chad Daybell says.

Chad Daybell says his wife was in 'limbo'

Nicholas Edwards, the lead investigator with the Idaho Attorney General's Office, also testified Wednesday. He walked the jury through text messages sent between Chad and then-Lori Vallow during their affair in 2019. His investigation focused on the dates when Lori Vallow's former husband Charles Vallow was shot and killed by her brother, and when Chad Daybell's first wife, Tammy Daybell, died.

"Tonight I figured out who I feel like. I'm a grown-up version of Harry Potter who has to live with the Dudleys in his little space under the stairs," Chad Daybell texted to Lori Vallow on July 26, 2019, two weeks after Charles Vallow's death. "Every few weeks I get to escape and have amazing adventures with my Goddess lover, but then I have to return to my place under the stairs, feeling trapped. But I sense permanent freedom is coming!"

Edwards said the phrase "permanent freedom" stood out to him during his investigation.

In August 2019, Edwards said Chad Daybell traveled to stay with Lori Vallow, who purchased wedding rings soon after. In early October 2019, Edwards told the court that Chad Daybell urged Tammy to visit her family in Springville, Utah, texting Lori Vallow that he was "trying to hasten (Tammy's) departure."

After Tammy Daybell returned from her trip, Chad Daybell texted Lori Vallow: "Hello sweet angel. Big news about Tammy. ... The short version is that she has been switched. Tammy is in limbo, and a level three demonic named Viola is in her body."

In another text, Chad Daybell said he has connected with Tammy in limbo and she "wants Viola removed as soon as possible."

Days later, the attempted shooting of Tammy Daybell occurred.

Edwards showed timelines of numerous texts between Chad Daybell, Lori Vallow and Alex Cox before and after the attempted shooting incident and on the night of Tammy's death.

Chad Daybell is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of JJ and Tylee, along with the death Tammy Daybell. He is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of each of the victims, grand theft and two counts of insurance fraud.

Judge Steven Boyce said prosecutors only have one more witness to call in their case Thursday morning, which will be a shorter trial day. After that witness, he said the schedule for the rest of the trial will be outlined for the 17 jurors hearing the case — 12 of whom will be tasked with determining whether Chad Daybell is guilty.

KSL.com is streaming the trial each day. Testimony is expected to resume Thursday at 8:30 a.m. MDT.

Tuesday's testimony:

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