BOISE, Idaho (ABC4) — “Money, sex, and power,” is what Lori Vallow Daybell allegedly wanted, according to prosecuting attorneys. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, prosecuting attorneys examined Lori’s use of money, including bank statements, the children’s Social Security benefits, and more.
Two witnesses took the stand on April 18: Mark Saari, a special agent with the Social Security Administration and Rexburg Police Detective Chuck Kunsaitis. On April 19, FBI forensic accountant, Michael Douglass, testified.
Saari said his office was contacted in January 2020 by the FBI in Arizona about two missing kids. He said the Social Security Administration was asked to investigate whether the benefits of the children, JJ and Tylee, were being misused by their mother Lori.
According to Saari, in 2019, after Tylee’s father passed away, Tylee started receiving $1,859 a month in SS benefits, and she received those funds in a JP Morgan Chase Account.
On August 12, 2019, Lori changed her $2 million life insurance policy so her son Ryan was the only beneficiary. And on August 14, Lori submitted a rental application for a townhouse in Rexburg. According to the RPD, Lori listed her income on the application as approximately $5,000, which is the combined SS benefits for Tylee, JJ, and Lori. On the application, Lori listed that the reason for moving into the complex was for Tylee to attend BYU-Idaho. According to the RPD, Tylee was never enrolled at BYU-Idaho.
According to the RPD, on Aug. 19, 2019, a joint bank account for Tylee and Lori was opened, and on Aug. 20, the direct deposits for Tylee’s Social Security payments were moved to that account. The family moved from Arizona to Idaho on August 31.
Kunsaitis said Tylee’s account was very active from January 2019 to September 2019, including several purchases on her account made on Sept. 1 during the family’s move to Idaho from Arizona. Kunsaitis said after their move, almost everything switched to online purchases, except one purchase at Costa Vida in Idaho Falls and one at Costa Vida in Rexburg around Sept. 8. The Rexburg Police Department determined the last proof of life for Tylee was Sept. 8 or 9, 2019.
Tylee also made monthly payments on her Jeep starting in June 2019, but the September 2019 payment from Tylee’s account came back as insufficient funds. Kunsaitis said the department seized the Jeep on Nov. 4, 2019, and it was never reported missing.
On Sept. 10, and Sept. 16, 2019, Lori reportedly deposited money into Tylee’s account, but it was immediately Venmoed to Colby Ryan, Lori’s son. Kunsaitis said there were 29 deposits into Tylee’s account from Lori’s account, where the money was immediately turned around and sent to Ryan. On Sept. 20, Lori moved the final $10.04 from Tylee’s bank account into her own.
On Oct. 10, 2019, Ryan received a payment from Tylee’s Venmo with the message, “We love you.” The RPD reported that the transaction was made using Tylee’s phone. And according to Kunsaitis, the IP address for the transaction was registered to an address in Kansas City, Missouri, where Lori and her niece Melani Boudreaux were.
Saari said that Lori also received $1,951 per month for JJ, and another $1,951 for herself as “mother, child, and care,” after Lori’s husband Charles was killed. The benefits for JJ started on Sept. 18, 2019. “Based on our investigation, JJ was killed five days later,” Kunsaitis said.
Lori was required by the SSA to report any change of address, custody changes, changes of marital status, or death. Saari said that Lori did not notify them that she moved to Hawaii, married Chad, or that JJ was missing. The payments for JJ were stopped in January 2020, as JJ was gone.
Charles and Lori had a Barclay’s Bank Hawaiian Airlines credit card, which was applied for in 2015. According to Kunsaitis, on July 12, 2019, the day after Charles was killed, approximately $3,000 was sent to Valley of the Sun Mortuary. The same mortuary Chad called to ask about cremation pricing for “his uncle.”
Another purchase on the Hawaiian Airlines credit card was made on July 20, 2019, to pay for an Allegiant Airlines flight from Provo to Arizona for Chad Daybell, Kunsaitis stated.
Lori shared a Barclays account with her brother, Alex Cox, which was used to purchase flights for Tylee and her friend to Hawaii in March 2019. Kunsaitis said around the same time, it was used to purchase a roundtrip flight for Chad Daybell from Idaho Falls to Mesa. Both Lori and Chad were married at the time.
Cox was receiving three paychecks a month from his job in Arizona until August 2019, when Cox quit his job and moved to Idaho with Lori, JJ, and Tylee, the RPD reported. In early August 2019, Cox got a loan from “Lending Club” for “medical expenses” and deposited $21,000 into his account. Kunsaitis said Cox began purchasing ammunition and guns around the same time. According to the RPD, Cox purchased 46 guns between August 10 and October 24.
Chad Daybell’s finances were reviewed by FBI forensic accountant, Michael Douglass. According to Douglass, what he discovered on Chad’s accounts was “more of what I didn’t find” because he said many purchases for Chad were made with Lori’s accounts. Douglass said Chad bought a phone at the Rexburg Walmart on Sept. 18, 2019, the day Lori received SS funds. Douglass also mentioned several flights Lori and Cox bought for Chad.
Douglass stated that Chad’s wife Tammy Daybell’s life insurance increase was requested on Sept. 8, 2019, and she died a few weeks later on Oct. 18. Chad reportedly filed life insurance claims within days of Tammy’s death.
While Chad’s property was being searched between 9:50 a.m. and 10 a.m. on June 9, 2020, Chad transferred $24,000 from his Mountain America bank account to three of his kids in $8,000 deposits. Approximately $4,400 was left in the account.
To read more about Lori Vallow Daybell’s murder trial, you can visit ABC4’s webpage dedicated to it.