The Idaho coroner who performed autopsies on the brutally murdered bodies of Lori Vallow’s children has revealed she is still suffering from nightmares around the case.
Brenda Dye, 46, was only a few months into her first term as Fremont County coroner when the “cult mom” case made national headlines.
A tangled web of mysterious deaths surrounding Vallow and her new alleged cult leader husband Chad Daybell began to unravel in November 2019 when an official search began for her missing children Tylee Ryan, 16, and JJ Vallow, 7.
The following summer, their bodies were found buried in shallow graves in Mr Daybell’s backyard in Rexburg, Idaho. Tylee’s body had been burned and dismembered. JJ was bound in duct tape and wrapped in plastic. He was still wearing the red pyjamas he was last seen in.
“It’s just hard to imagine someone doing that to someone they care for and love. I have kids and I just can’t imagine what the family has had to go through,” Ms Dye told the East Idaho News.
The coroner shared her struggles just before Mr Daybell was expected to appear in court on Wednesday for a hearing ahead of his April trial on murder charges.
“I still have nightmares,” Ms Dye explained.
“Every time we have a new trial…I have to relive everything again and all those emotions come back. A lot of cases are harder than others, but this has been really hard for me.”
Earlier this year, Vallow was convicted of their murders and conspiring to kill her husband’s former wife, Tammy Daybell.
Tammy’s cause of death was initially believed to be natural, but her body was later exhumed as part of the investigation and it was determined that she died of asphyxiation. She had bruises on her arms and chest suggesting she may have been restrained.
Vallow received three consecutive life sentences for the murders. Mr Daybell will stand trial for the same charges in April.
Ms Dye told East Idaho News that throughout the ordeal, many people have asked her about the case and how she’s dealt with it all.
The former EMT said the ability to emotionally detach is key, but even after years of training, she struggled and had to seek professional help to deal with her emotions.
“It takes a person who can deal with death. When people are near death, they need a compassionate person there to help them through it,” Ms Dye added.
Ms Dye is only the second woman to serve as Fremont County coroner and is one of the few female coroners in Idaho, East Idaho News reported.
As she approaches her second term in the role, she said her main goal is to support victims’ families through the grieving process.