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Chad Daybell, stepfather of Idaho kids found dead on his property, pleads not guilty

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(FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho) — Chad Daybell, the stepfather of two Idaho children who were missing for months before their remains were found on his property, pleaded not guilty in the case on Friday in a Fremont County district court.

Daybell, 51, was charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence before the bodies were found and is now charged with two more felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence after the remains were found on his property in June.

His trial has been set to begin Jan. 11.

Lori Vallow, the mother of Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, has also been charged in the case.

She is facing two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children and one misdemeanor count each of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt. She was arrested back in February and will be arraigned in district court in Fremont County on Aug. 27.

The case received widespread attention, in part for its mysteriousness and also because both Vallow and Daybell left Idaho, where they lived, for Hawaii not long after the children were reported missing by other family members.

The preliminary hearings for Daybell offered gruesome testimony as to how the bodies of the children were discovered.

Detective Ray Dennis Hermosillo said that about two hours after the search began on June 9, detectives marked off an area at Daybell’s home where there was a “recognizable deceased body smell.”

Hermosillo said that sod was removed from the area and a black plastic bag, as well as a melted green bucket, were found.

The bag contained a round object that was protruding through the dirt, which was later determined to be the skull of JJ, according to Hermosillo.

JJ, who was wearing red pajamas and had a blanket placed on top of him, was found with a “large amount” of duct tape covering his head, arms and feet, Hermosillo said.

The charred remains of Tylee were found in the melted green bucket, Hermosillo said.

Both remains were found about six to eight inches under the sod. The grandparents of JJ were seen in court weeping during the testimony.

No murder charges have been filed against anyone yet.

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