BOISE, Idaho (ABC4) — Lori Vallow Daybell had a short day in court on Wednesday due to “unforeseen circumstances.” But it was still chock-full of witnesses, cross-examination, and the review of a phone call with Chad.

The day ended at 11:30 a.m., instead of the usual 3:30 p.m. that was scheduled. According to East Idaho News, this is due to a death in the family of the Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney, Lindsey Blake.

Day 8 began with a Rexburg Police Dept. detective who was called to the stand by the prosecuting attorneys. Detective Ray Hermosillo has assisted from the beginning of the investigation to help discover the remains of Tylee and JJ. You can read the full first examination of the detective in the Vallow case here.

Vallow’s defense attorney, Rob Thomas, began his cross-examination on Tuesday with Hermosillo. Wood asked if Hermosillo knew the weapons found at the house belonged to Lori, and he said he didn’t know, but that it was “extremely suspicious to have those guns along with everything else [we] located.” He stated on Tuesday that among the items found at Lori’s place were gun silencers and ammunition.

Wood asked Hermosillo about a friend of Vallow’s, Melanie Gibb, who Vallow claimed was watching JJ. Vallow told RPD detectives that JJ was with Gibb in Arizona, and was watching ‘Frozen 2,’ which is why Gibb didn’t answer her phone. Gibb was eventually reached by police, and she said she did not have JJ, and Vallow reportedly told her to lie about his whereabouts.

John Thomas started a re-cross-examination of Hermosillo and asked him if there was evidence of attempted homicide on Tammy Daybell. On Oct. 9, someone reportedly shot at Daybell near her home, a few days before she died “of natural causes,” later reported to be asphyxiation caused by another. Hermosillo said they believe the shooting on Oct. 9 was an attempted homicide.

Hermosillo was released from the stand, and the next witness, Lt. Jared Willmore of the Madison County Sherrif’s Office, was questioned by Spencer Rammell, a prosecuting attorney. Willmore, who works for the sheriff’s office, is the captain at Madison County Jail and oversees the Telmate phone system used by inmates to talk to family and friends.

Willmore explained that each inmate has a unique PIN number assigned to them, so when they use the Telmate system, it is recorded, with the exception of attorney communications. Willmore said he can access any video visits or phone calls of an inmate in custody, and cannot edit or make changes to them.

Rammell asked to admit three pieces of evidence: a USB drive containing a phone call between Chad and Lori on June 9, 2020, which you can listen to here, a thumb drive containing a digital video between Lori and her sister Summer Shiflet on June 24, 2020, and a thumb drive containing a video visit between Colby Ryan and Lori on Aug. 3, 2020. The last two pieces of evidence have not been played in court yet.

The call between Lori and Chad was played in court. It was made on the day police were searching Chad’s property. “Hi, babe,” Lori starts, before asking if Chad is okay. Chad replied, “They’re searching the property so Mark Means will be talking to you.” Lori asked, “Okay. What, are they in the house?” Chad said, “No, they’re out on the property.” Lori asked if they were seizing stuff, to which Chad replied, “No they’re searching.”

The call continued with Lori asking Chad what he wants her to do. He said, “Pray.” Lori replied, “What can I do for you?” Chad said she should call Mark maybe and talk with him. Chad said he already called Mark, and he knows what they are doing. Chad gets a call from someone else and they close their conversation with declarations of love. Lori asked if she should try to call him later, and he said, “I don’t know. I’ll answer if I can. I love you and I’ll talk soon.”

Willmore was dismissed from the stand, as the State had no further questions, and the defense had none either. Lt. Joe Powell with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office is then called to the stand. Powell has been a lieutenant for six years and was previously a detective. He was questioned by prosecuting attorney Tawnya Rawlings.

Powell said he learned of Tammy Daybell’s death on Oct. 19, 2019. Gilbert Police contacted Fremont County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 31, after Gilbert Police said they had an attempted murder in Arizona, which you can read about here. Gilbert Police asked Powell about Tammy Daybell’s death. They also spoke to him about the Jeep and the connection to attempted murder.

He also admitted to conducting surveillance on Chad and Lori at a few different locations. Some photos Powell took while surveying were admitted to evidence, including photos of Chad and Lori at Cafe Rio, and walking into Hobby Lobby on Nov. 1, 2019. Powell said that an investigation was started into Tammy Daybell’s death because she was young and in good health.

Powell said he helped conduct a search warrant on Alex Cox’s townhome and helped with the exhumation of Tammy’s body. They showed jurors photos of Tammy’s gravesite, and the casket being loaded into a vehicle. The prosecution then showed the jurors the autopsy photo of Tammy Daybell’s body. Rawlings finished his examination of Powell.

Thomas went to the stand to cross-examine Powell, on behalf of Lori. Thomas asked Powell about the surveillance of Chad and Lori. Powell said he watched them one time and followed them from Madison County at the apartment complex to Idaho Falls. Powell said there were three others surveilling Chad and Lori, and that they all drove in separate vehicles and took their own photos of Chad and Lori.

Sketch of Detective Ray Hermosillo being cross-examined by John Thomas, Courtesy of East Idaho News

After a morning recess, the prosecution requested to dismiss for the day due to unforeseen circumstances. The defense did not object, and the trial will continue tomorrow.