Chad Daybell, the Idaho man charged along with his wife in the disappearance of their two children, plans to plead not guilty to two felony counts of concealment and destruction of evidence after police found both kids dead at his home last week.
Court records filed Monday show Daybell’s defense attorney, John Prior, entered the plea and requested a jury trial, according to East Idaho News. Prior also submitted a request for discovery evidence, including any statements made by Daybell so far in the investigation.
For now he remains in the Fremont County Jail on a $1 million bond.
Police made the grisly discovery at Daybell's home last Tuesday and days later confirmed the bodies were those of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and his sister, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, who both disappeared in September.
Their mother, Lori Vallow, was arrested in Hawaii in February on felony abandonment charges and refused to cooperate with investigators. She was extradited back to Rexburg, Idaho, in March and remains jailed on a $1 million bond.
The boy’s eighth birthday passed May 25 with no signs of him or Tylee.
Next, several backhoes were seen entering Daybell’s property June 9.
Aerial photos at the rural home showed investigators conducting a grid search of the property.
Detectives were seen examining a circular fire pit.
Nearby, mounds of dirt were excavated with a little more than a dozen 5-gallon buckets. Blue tarps and tents peppered the landscape around a large barn-like structure.
Parked on the street were dozens of crime scene investigative vehicles.
Daybell is the author of several apocalyptic novels based loosely on principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Further, friends and family say Daybell and Vallow were involved in a cult that believed the end of the world was near and possibly thought that the children had become possessed by zombies.
In early March, Daybell told news media in Hawaii that “the kids are safe.”
Before now he had never been charged in the case, although police previously raided his house Jan. 3 and collected 43 items of evidence, East Idaho News reported.
Police have not yet announced charges directly related to the deaths of the children.
Documents in the case, including the warrants to search Daybell’s property, have been sealed.
Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood described the manner in which one of the bodies was hidden as “particularly egregious,” but he would not elaborate.
At Wednesday’s bail hearing, Wood called Daybell a flight risk.
The judge ordered Daybell to wear an ankle monitor and remain in the area if he meets the bond.
Daybell has five children with his previous wife, Tammy, who died mysteriously in her sleep Oct. 19. Two weeks after her death, Daybell eloped to Hawaii with his new bride, Lori, where they had a beach wedding.
Back in Idaho, authorities carrying out a search warrant for the children at the Vallow home arrived to find no one there.
Daybell and Vallow were 3,000 miles away at the time, enjoying a monthslong honeymoon at an exclusive resort before authorities finally tracked them down to Kauai.
There were no signs the children were ever with them.
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