JJ Vallow died of ‘asphyxia by plastic bag,’ found with duct-taped mouth

The details of the deaths of JJ Vallow and his sister Tylee Ryan are upsetting and disturbing.
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 9:56 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 26, 2023 at 5:25 PM MST
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FREMONT COUNTY, ID (3TV/CBS 5) -- As the Lori Vallow trial enters its 16th day, new details have been revealed on the cause of death of seven-year-old JJ Vallow.

According to East Idaho News, expert witness Dr. Garth Warren, a forensic pathologist for Ada County, was called to the stand Wednesday morning. Warren, who has been licensed to practice in Idaho for six years, said that JJ died from “asphyxia by plastic bag over the head and duct tape over the mouth.” Warren noted that he had a scratch-like cut to his neck, had bruising on his arms, and was bound by duct tape. During testimony on Wednesday, the pathologist also described that JJ’s body was in a state of decomposition.

Toxicology report details outlined in the courtroom show that JJ had low levels of alcohol, caffeine, and theobromine (found in cacao beans) in his system. But Warren brought attention to a drug called gamma-hydroxybutyrate or GHB. That drug, according to the DEA, is approved to treat “daytime sleepiness and muscle weakness with narcolepsy.”

Warren noted that he couldn’t tell if GHB levels were naturally occurring in his body or if he had consumed or was given GHB, which is also known by the brand name Xyrem. No blood or urine samples were taken due to how composed the body was. Warren told the jury that it appeared that JJ likely fought back. The autopsy took four hours to complete.

Also on Wednesday, Warren testified that Tylee’s cause of death was a homicide, but could not “pinpoint exactly” the means of how she died due to her body being burned.