The same day mourners gathered to say their final goodbyes to Chad Daybell’s late wife in October 2019, someone used the Gmail account associated with the Doomsday author’s future spouse to browse for wedding dresses in Hawaii, an Idaho detective revealed in court Monday.
The Google search for “wedding dresses, wedding dresses in Kauai” was one of several suspicious searches that Rexburg Police Det. David Stubbs highlighted for Ada County jurors on Monday in Lori Vallow’s murder trial.
Stubbs explained that authorities obtained search warrants for multiple Google accounts associated with Vallow in the missing person’s investigation for her two children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan. On the “lollytime4ever” Gmail account, between March and December 2019, Stubbs said, a user looked up life insurance policies, wedding bands made of “malachite,” definitions for “possess,” and how to get “get the back seat out of my jeep wrangler.
The search for wedding dresses set off alarms for police. “What also caught my attention was this was being looked at on the same day as Tammy [Daybell]’s funeral,” Stubbs said, according to EastIdahoNews.
Prosecutors allege that Vallow and Daybell conspired to fatally strangle Tammy, Daybell’s first wife, for an insurance and social security payout. Tammy was found dead in her Idaho home on Oct. 19, 2019, and originally deemed to have died of natural causes.
Tammy’s death came about a month after the couple, fueled by their doomsday-focused religious beliefs, allegedly murdered the two children in September 2019 before burying them in Daybell’s Idaho backyard. Days after Tammy’s funeral, on Nov. 19, 2019, the couple fled to Hawaii and got married.
“The detective revealed that some of those email addresses were later discovered to be connected to ‘burner’ phones.”
“The missing children, the sudden death of Tammy, the quick marriage of Chad and the defendant left so many questions for those still grieving the loss of Tammy and those still wondering 24/7 about the whereabouts of the children,” Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake said in her opening statements.
Vallow has pleaded not guilty to several charges and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Her husband will be tried after her case and faces the death penalty.
Defense attorneys for Vallow, however, insist that while their client has eccentric religious beliefs, she is a “loving mother” who did not hurt her children.
Throughout Vallow’s trial, prosecutors have honed in on the couple’s beliefs—they belong to a renegade branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and how that faith allegedly played a role in the murders. This week, witnesses have also detailed how Vallow and Daybell’s electronic footprint provides an insight into their mindset around the time of the grisly crimes.
Stubbs, on his second day on the stand, explained to jurors how investigators looked into the online activity of Vallow and Daybell after the children were officially declared missing in December 2019. He said that “several” electronic search warrants were prepared in Vallow’s case—including one for Google for names and email addresses for people associated with the Idaho mom, the EastIdahoNews reported.
The detective revealed that some of those email addresses were later discovered to be connected to “burner” phones—which he noted are commonly “used by people distributing illegal drugs so they can’t have their number tracked.” He also added that Google keeps “a web” of data so everything is connected to one user.
Nicole Heideman, who works for the FBI, also went through the Google searches with the jury, before explaining how she was asked to conduct phone attribution in the investigation. Heideman noted that Daybell had nine phone numbers between October 2018 and January 2020—while Vallow had six numbers.
Detailing one of Vallow’s associated accounts, Stubbs noted that investigators were surprised that someone was looking for malachite wedding rings on Aug. 25, 2019—and that two were eventually ordered in different sizes.
“We were thinking it was odd for her to be looking at wedding rings at that time,” Stubbs said, noting that Vallow’s former husband had just died at that time and Tammy Daybell was still alive and married to the doomsday author.