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Chad Daybell appears in court for second day of preliminary hearing

Lori Vallow Daybell's close friend Melanie Gibb is considered a key to this case. Court records show she was one of the last people to see Joshua "JJ" Vallow alive.

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho — Lori Vallow Daybell's close friend Melanie Gibb took the stand again in the second and last day of Chad Daybell's preliminary hearing on Tuesday, along with several new investigators.

Daybell was arrested back in June after his wife's children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan, were found buried in his backyard in Idaho.  

Their mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, has been behind bars since March after she was arrested for their disappearance.  

You can watch the full hearing here.

A lot of this case started to unravel in Arizona, where Lori and the children were living before court records show her moving them to Idaho in September 2019.

At this time, both Chad and Lori are facing felony charges for conspiracy and concealing evidence. The preliminary hearing is a next step before a possible trial.  On Tuesday, a judge found that there was probable cause and enough evidence for this case to potentially go to trial.

Some of the state's evidence centered around Gibb's testimony.

At one point during the hearing, the state introduced a body-camera video from Rexburg Police, from Nov. 26, 2019, when they first try and do a welfare check on JJ.  You can hear Lori telling police that JJ is with Gibb in Arizona, which Gibb later testifies isn't true.

In November, when Lori told police that JJ was with Melanie Gibb, Gibb says she got a call from Chad later in the day.

"He said 'Hi Melanie. This is Chad. The Rexburg Police are going to call you. Don’t pick up."

Gibb told the court at this point in time, she thought JJ was with Kay Woodcock because Lori told her that's where he was. Gibb said that Lori told her she dropped JJ off at the airport to stay with Kay and that she told Kay she had breast cancer and needed help with JJ.

Gibb said that Lori also called her after Chad did, and asked Melanie to tell police that JJ was with her.  

Gibb said Lori asked her to take a picture of other children to try and make it seem like she was with JJ. Gibb said she didn't return the calls from Rexburg Police that day, but she did talk to Gilbert Police in Arizona, who was also investigating the children's disappearance.

When asked what she told Gilbert Police, Gibb said she originally told them that JJ had been with her previously but he was back with Lori as a way to steer the investigation back to Rexburg.  She later admitted this wasn't true.

"Lori was misleading and Lori was manipulating me or trying to convince that he and she were in danger and because of our friendship - I thought I had really no idea if this could be true or not," Gibb testifies. "And I was very perplexed. Very troubled. I didn’t know what to do. I was trying to reconcile all these feelings I had."

Gibb says she would later go on to confront Chad and Lori in a phone conversation on Dec. 8, 2019, she would record and turn over to police.

PREVIOUSLY: 'Don't pick up': Day 1 recap of Chad Daybell's hearing

In the call, which was played in court Monday, Gibb asked multiple times about JJ's whereabouts.

"Is JJ safe?" Melanie asked.

"He is safe and happy," Lori replied.

Lori and Chad go on to tell Melanie over the phone that they can't reveal where JJ is for his own safety.

"I’m just trying to keep him protected," Lori says.

"And keep you protected," adds Chad.

Gibb continues to ask Lori about JJ, her religious beliefs and relationship with Chad.

Chad and Lori married after both of their previous spouses died. Those deaths still under investigation.

"You’ve got to have faith," Chad says over the phone to Melanie. "This is not some master plan. There’s no way Lori and I could ever come up with this."

Melanie was also one of the last people to see JJ Vallow alive when she and her boyfriend, David Warwick, visited Lori in Idaho in September.

She and Warwick both testified to seeing JJ the night of the 22nd before he disappeared, but only talked with Lori about JJ the following morning.

"She said that he was being a zombie, climbed up on the cabinets, smashed her picture of Christ down," says David Warwick, Gibb's boyfriend. "I asked to see him, but she said he was out of control so she had Alex come and get him."

Alex Cox was Lori’s brother, who suddenly died in December, from what the medical examiner says was natural causes, although Gilbert Police are still investigating.

Police say it was Cox's cell phone records that led them to Chad Daybell’s backyard, which are also being used as evidence in this case.

Records show that Chad and Lori follow dark religious beliefs that could be at the center of this case.  Court documents accused Chad of being a doomsday cult leader and that he and Lori were preparing for the ends of times.  

Documents said they also believe that people could be "light" or "dark" and that some people turn to zombies.  In one record from earlier this year, Lori says that her children are "zombies" that "might need to die."

Gibb said she studied the same beliefs.

"I believe you have been very deceived by Satan," Gibb told Lori in their recorded phone conversation. "I believe that he has tricked you. I don’t believe what you’re doing is correct. I just don’t."

Another piece of evidence is a phone call investigators say Lori made to Chad from jail on June 9th, the day her children's bodies were found.  The judge notes the audio is poor quality, but you can hear the couple talking about the search.

Daybell is due back in court for arraignment later this month.