‘Cult mom’ prosecutor seeks to add out of state attorney with 25 years experience in homicide, death penalty cases

Neither Lori Vallow nor Chad Daybell have been charged with murder in the deaths of Vallow’s children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

The attorney prosecuting the case against cult mom Lori Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell in Idaho has asked to add a veteran homicide and death penalty lawyer to assist in the complex case.

“Few offices our size across the county have the manpower to manage a case of this magnitude without sacrificing their day-to-day obligations,” Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood wrote in a letter to the Madison County Board of Commissioners explaining his reasoning. “The temporary addition of an experienced prosecutor to work on the Daybell case will enable us to meet the increased manpower demands during the duration of this high-profile matter and ensure justice for the victims and people of Madison County.”

Wood asked to add Rachel Smith, a former special prosecutor in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office who now consults across the state on similar matters, to the case, East Idaho News reports.

Neither Vallow nor Daybell have been charged with the deaths of two of Vallow’s children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, whose bodies were found buried in Daybell’s backyard last June, although the case is under active investigation. Vallow has pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the children’s disappearance in the fall of 2019, and Daybell has pleaded not guilty to charges of destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence.

In his letter to the commissioners, Wood said Smith was “a veteran homicide prosecutor” with a quarter century experience. Smith is also an adjunct professor at the Washington University School of Law in St Louis.

Wood also said Smith’s addition for the trial would “help prepare our team for future complex situations if and when they arise.”

A hearing on Wood’s request is scheduled for Monday. If District Judge Steven Boyce approves, Smith would be have to be accompanied to proceedings by local prosecutors because she is not a member of the Utah bar, unless the judge OKs her attending alone.

Read more about this case on CrimeOnline.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast: