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Aunt of missing, murdered teen reacts to Daybell indictment

SALT LAKE CITY — The aunt of one of two children found buried on property belonging to Chad Daybell said she tried not to cheer out loud when she saw he and Lori Vallow Daybell were indicted on murder charges. 

“It was better than I thought it would be,” Annie Cushing, the aunt of Tylee Ryan, 17, told KSL TV. “This the day we’ve been waiting for.”

“You just want to turn back the hands of time”

Police discovered the remains of Ryan and her brother, JJ Vallow, 7, while serving a search warrant on Chad Daybell’s property in June 2020. That search came nine months after the two children vanished. 

While Cushing lives in New York City, she stayed in tune with the developments in Idaho from the beginning. 

Then Tuesday, Ryan’s aunt received word about the charges against Chad and Lori Daybell — and more information about what investigators believe happened. 

“It’s dark stuff,” said Cushing, “because you just want to turn back the hands of time and say, ‘Tylee, run!'” 

Aunt responds to Daybell indictment

Previously, Lori and Chad Daybell faced charges of conspiring to conceal evidence in the children’s murder, but not murder charges. They pleaded guilty to the initial charges prior to this week’s new indictment. 

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell face two counts each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception in the deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. They also face two counts of first-degree murder related to those deaths. 

“This was really the most pivotal moment that I was really aching for,” Cushing said.

In addition, Chad Daybell also faces one count of first-degree murder connected to the death of his late wife, Tammy Daybell. 

More charges beyond murder

Court documents show investigators accused Lori Vallow Daybell of using credit cards belonging to Ryan to collect Social Security benefits from Ryan’s late father. At the time, Ryan was already dead. Lori Daybell faces one count of grand theft related to that accusation. 

“To try and climb inside their mind and figure out what they were thinking and what they thought they would get away with,” said Cushing.

Chad Daybell faces two counts of insurance fraud related to funds he received after the death of Tammy Daybell. 

The indictment alleges the Daybells exploited “religious beliefs for the purpose of encouraging and/or justifying the homicide of” Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow and Tammy Daybell. 

In addition to Ryan’s aunt speaking, the family of Tammy Daybell issued a statement reacting to the new charges. They thanked law enforcement. 

“We pray that truth will prevail and that all of us left behind will find a way to pick up the pieces and somehow come out of this crucible together,” the statement said. 

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