'Cult mom' Lori Vallow's son JJ, 7, was suffocated to death with a plastic bag wrapped around his head and sealed with duct tape
Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers' discretion advised
BOISE, IDAHO: The murder trial of 'Cult mom' Lori Vallow, a mother accused of killing her two children, has revealed the gruesome details of how her seven-year-old son, JJ, was suffocated. The coroner Dr Garth Warren revealed that JJ's killer wrapped a plastic bag around his head and sealed it with duct tape which resulted in his death due to "asphyxia."
The ongoing trial has revealed that Lori Vallow was involved in a doomsday cult and had a relationship with her husband Chad Daybell. Both are accused of killing Joshua 'JJ' and her daughter Tylee Ryan, who were 7 and 16 years old respectively, in Rexburg, Idaho in September 2019.
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The scratch marks on JJ's neck were due to his struggle to break free
The scratch marks on JJ's neck, the coroner revealed, were due to his struggle to break free. The children's bodies were found nearly a year after they were killed, lying in shallow graves in Daybell's yard who along with Vallow is also accused of killing his wife Tammy Daybel. An autopsy on Tylee's remains was impossible because of how badly they had burnt, but the corner had rued it too as a homicide.
He said her toxicology came back positive for ibuprofen, iron, and carboxyhemoglobin. If carboxyhemoglobin is breathed in when a person is alive, the readings will be high but Tylee’s were extremely low. “There is no evidence to support that Tylee was alive when she was burned,” he said.
However, the coroner was able to perform the autopsy on JJ which was found sealed in the black garbage bag. With duct tape wrapped tightly around the mouth and neck, JJ's head was found covered in a white plastic bag. His arms, hands, and ankles were also bound with the tape.
JJ's remains were better preserved than Tylee's
The Daily Mail reported photos of JJ's burial, where a detective first found the boy's skull poking through the ground during the dig, was previously given to the jury. JJ's remains it said were better preserved than those of his sister whose body parts were melted after she was burned and buried in the yard's pet graveyard. The coroner described how duct tape was also used to bind his arms, hands, and ankles.
Warren continued, "There were other areas that were concerning or suspicious, including bruising on the ankles that may have been related to the duct tape."
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"JJ was wearing a red pajama top, red pajama bottoms, and black socks. Another thing that was quite obvious is the body was in a sense of decomposition. There was dirt and mold on the tops and bottoms," Warren said. Low concentrations of ethanol, the date-rape drug GHB, caffeine, and theobromine—found in chocolate and tea—were discovered in the toxicology report.
"There's really no way for me to tell for sure whether this is just a naturally occurring product in the body that was there or if JJ was given GHB. I can't say one way or another based on the levels,'" Warren told jurors.