The stepfather of two Idaho children who have been missing since September was arrested after two sets of human remains were found during a search of his property, authorities said.
Chad Daybell was taken into custody Tuesday and later charged with two felony counts of destruction and concealment of evidence. He was ordered held on $1 million bail by a judge Wednesday.
Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood, speaking at Wednesday’s court hearing, said the remains belonged to two children and that one of them had been concealed in a “particularly egregious” way.
The remains found on Daybell’s property in Fremont County have yet to be identified and an autopsy is planned, Gary Hagen, assistant chief of the Rexburg Police Department, said at a press conference Tuesday evening that did not allow questions from the media.
Tylee Ryan, 17, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, haven’t been seen since September, though they were not reported missing until November. The children’s mother, Lori Vallow, has been behind bars on charges related to their disappearance since February.
On Oct. 19, Chad Daybell’s wife, Tammy, died in her sleep at the couple’s Idaho home. Her body was exhumed in December for testing, though any results have not been publicly released.
A few weeks later, Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow moved to Hawaii the day after authorities in Idaho visited their home to check on the children. Daybell and Vallow then got married in Hawaii.
Authorities have repeatedly described Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow as uncooperative during their search for the two children, though Daybell told a reporter back in March that the kids “are safe,” without elaborating on their whereabouts.
Both Daybell and Vallow have been described by family as very religious and obsessed with the afterlife.
Daybell has written several books on the end of the world and the Christian belief in Christ’s return to Earth. Vallow’s family has described her as being fascinated with the afterlife to the point where she may have become a danger to herself.
Vallow’s previous husband, Charles Vallow, said in divorce papers that she needed psychiatric help. He said she was obsessed with near-death experiences and believed she had lived numerous lives on other planets before her current life. He sought an order of protection as well as a mental health evaluation of his wife before his death last summer, The Associated Press reported.
Charles Vallow was fatally shot by Lori Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, during what Cox said was an act of self-defense. Cox then died in December of natural causes, an autopsy determined in May.