“Particularly egregious.” Those two words describe the condition of at least one of the remains found on the property of Chad Daybell. Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said the phrase while asking Judge Faren Eddins to give Daybell a $1 million bail on his two felony counts of willfully destroying, altering or concealing evidence. Judge Eddins granted the request.
The hearing is the first for Daybell after the FBI, Rexburg Police Department and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office searched his property in Salem Tuesday. They found the remains and took Daybell into custody for questioning before noon. Now he sits in the Fremont County Jail on that $1 million bond.
He appeared in a video feed for his hearing Wednesday morning with his lawyer, John Prior of Meridian, by his side. The judge and the prosecutor were also on the video feed, which the judge broadcast on YouTube.
Judge Eddins asked Daybell 15 questions over the course of about 25 minutes. The questions were mostly to have Daybell acknowledge whether he understood the charges and what was happening. His answers were typically one word.
Wood revealed the remains are those of two children, though he said official confirmation is still pending. He called the remains “aggravating factors” in asking the judge for a $1 million bail even though the charges only carry a 5-year maximum sentence each.
“It's not simply a document, drugs, a gun - these are human remains,” he said.
Prior didn’t agree with Wood. He asked for bail of $50,000 for each charge for a total of $100,000. He argued that Daybell is not a flight risk, detailing how he willingly went with police and has family and property in the area that would keep him here for his hearings. He also mentioned the intense attention the case is receiving.
"I understand there's been a significant amount of publicity with this, but publicity is not a reason to raise the bail to an extraordinary amount,” Prior said. “And I would suggest that Mr. Wood's suggestion that a $1 million bail is OK, it's not OK, judge. A $1 million bail is not ok for a 5-year felony sentence."
The judge set a preliminary hearing for July 1-2 and suggested that Prior could request a bond reduction hearing before that date.
Daybell’s hearing is scheduled a week before his wife’s preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for July 9-10. Lori Vallow Daybell is charged with deserting her two children, Tylee Ryan, 17, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 8. They were last seen alive in September.