ST. ANTHONY — Lori Vallow Daybell appeared to wipe away tears Tuesday afternoon during her initial court appearance on two felony charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
Daybell and her attorney, Mark Means, participated in the hearing via Zoom from the Madison County Courthouse due to COVID-19 concerns.
Judge Faren Eddins presided and Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood joined from his office. Daybell’s son and daughter-in-law, Colby and Kelsee Ryan, appeared on-screen during the proceedings and Eddins noted that Kay and Larry Woodcock, Joshua “JJ” Vallow’s grandparents, were listening in to the hearing. Colby appeared stoic throughout much of his mother’s court appearance.
Daybell appeared in a long-sleeved blue shirt. She and Means were wearing protective masks, which hid their expressions. She was able to see Colby on a large screen and he appeared stoic throughout much of his mother’s court appearance.
She softly responded “yes” after Eddins read the criminal charges to her and asked if she understood them. She wiped her eyes and reached for a tissue when Eddins mentioned Daybell’s daughter, Tylee Ryan, whose remains, along with JJ’s, were found buried in Chad Daybell’s backyard in the Salem area of Fremont County on June 9.
Daybell is accused of conspiring with Chad Daybell to “willfully and knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence” regarding the remains of Tylee and JJ. Police say the two lied to them about where the children were and refused to cooperate with law enforcement in their investigation.
The hearing lasted about 15 minutes, and Eddins kept Daybell’s bond at $1 million. If she is able to post bail, she must reside in Bonneville, Jefferson, Madison or Fremont counties. She will also be required to wear an ankle monitor.
Daybell is also facing two charges of desertion of children in Madison County, where she has been housed since March. Her husband is in the Fremont County Jail on two charges of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Bail is set for $1 million in his case.
Before the hearing ended, Eddins asked Means if he had ever represented any other people associated with this case. He responded that he had not, and Wood interrupted.
“Your honor, I need to interject. At a bail reduction here in Madison County, Mr. Means did represent to the court that he was also representing Mr. Daybell. There was no criminal matter against him at that time, but I think that is appropriate to know,” Wood said.
Means did tweet on April 28 that his office was representing Chad Daybell and anyone wanting to reach him needed to contact Means.
Please not that this office (notice being provided by other means as well) represents Mr. Chad Daybell. If any agency, investigative authority etc., wishes to contact my client please contact my office directly.
— Mark Means Law (@MeansLaw) April 28, 2020
Eddins asked Wood and Means to each submit an explanation regarding the issue so the case can move forward.
Daybell’s next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 10 and 11.