At a preliminary hearing for Chad Daybell, Lori Vallow’s friend Melanie Gibb shared new details about the day Vallow and Daybell asked her to lie to police and say she had Vallow’s 7-year-old son JJ in Arizona.
Gibb, who was friendly with both Vallow and Daybell, took the stand in a Fremont County courthouse to answer questions about her connection to the missing persons case. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Gibb, who lives in Arizona, is believed to be among the last people to see JJ Vallow alive in late September, when she visited Vallow in Rexburg, Idaho.
JJ and his 16-year-old sister Tylee Ryan were found dead in Daybell’s backyard in June, and court records show that investigators believe the siblings died on separate dates in September.
In November, police went to Vallow’s home in Rexburg to do a welfare check on JJ; they were reportedly unaware at the time that Tylee had also been missing.
On that day, Vallow reportedly lied to police and told them JJ was with Melanie Gibb in Arizona.
But Gibb testified that she was not in Arizona that day, and did not have JJ with her. Gibb said she was visiting her boyfriend in Utah when Daybell first called her to let her know that police were looking for JJ. Gibb claimed that it was the first time she realized JJ had not gone to live with his grandmother Kay Woodcock, as Vallow has allegedly told her.
Gibb said on the stand that during her phone call with Daybell, she asked him if he was nervous. She said that Vallow called her an hour or two later to say that everything was fine, but according to Gibb’s testimony, it does not appear that Vallow explained where JJ was — just that she feared Woodcock was planning to kidnap him.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Rexburg police attempted to contact Gibb that day to corroborate Vallow’s claims about JJ’s whereabouts, but Gibb did not call them back until a week later. At the hearing, Gibb admitted that she did not contact Rexburg police right away but said she did speak to a police officer in Gilbert, Arizona.
Gibb said she told that police officer she had recently been with JJ Vallow but that he was on his way back to Rexburg or had already arrived. Asked by a prosecutor if her statement to the police officer was accurate, Gibb said it was not true; she had not been with JJ Vallow.
Asked why she lied to the police officer, Gibb claimed that Vallow was “manipulating me” to believe JJ Vallow was in danger.
“I was very perplexed, very troubled, and I did not know what to do.”
The court has taken a brief recess. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available. You can watch a live stream of the preliminary hearing here:
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