A jury convicted a 49-year-old mother in Idaho on May 12th for killing her two children and her current husband’s late wife in a bizarre triple murder case that has perplexed many in the state since 2019.
Lori Vallow Daybell was found guilty of conspiring to murder her two children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. Lori Vallow Daybell was also convicted of grand theft, and she will face another trial in Arizona for her involvement in the murder of Charles Vallow, Lori’s fourth husband, a businessman, and a member of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) church.
— 10 News First (@10NewsFirst) May 13, 2023
She was also accused of murdering Tammy Daybell, the late wife of her current husband, Chad Daybell. Like Lori Vallow Daybell, Chad, a 54-year-old author and member of the LDS church, is also awaiting trial for the same murder charges. The conviction was handed down following a three-year-long investigation which included claims of doomsday prophecies, which earned Lori the nickname the “doomsday mom.”
Even though investigations into the crime began in 2019, this surreal murder case had its roots in 2017, when Lori’s relationship with her children changed. According to her friends, Lori had been reading fiction novels written by Chad Daybell about doomsday stories loosely based on the teachings of the LDS church.
Did fear of apocalypse drive 'doomsday mom' Lori Vallow to murder her children? https://t.co/6KKBcGVKoS
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 13, 2023
Since meeting Chad in 2018, Lori felt an “instant connection” with him, and the two even claimed they were married in their previous lives. The two also began doing religious podcasts together.
During this time, Chad was still married to Tammy Daybell, who had five children with him. Lori and Chad started performing rituals with friends, where they allegedly cast “evil spirits” out by praying and doing “energy work.” The two shared unusual beliefs, including claims that they could tell whether a person had become a “zombie,” fully controlled by an evil spirit. Reports also suggested that Lori called JJ and Tylee “zombies” before they disappeared.
In 2019, Charles Vallow, who was still Lori’s husband during those times, sought help from authorities. He said that Lori claimed she was a “goddess” sent to usher in the Biblical end times and even threatened she would murder him, calling Charles a “demon.” He filed for divorce against Lori the same year, citing concerns for his and his children’s safety.
However, Charles’ life would come to a bloody end in July 2019 when Alex Cox, Lori’s brother, shot him while visiting Lori and her children at their home in Chandler, Arizona. A month later, Tylee and JJ vanished, and while their whereabouts remained unknown, Tammy Daybell was found dead in October 2019.
A nationwide search for JJ and Tylee ensued after Kay Woodcock, JJ’s grandmother, asked help from authorities in searching for her grandchildren. Their remains were found in Chad’s backyard in June 2020, and the couple were arrested in the same year for allegedly killing the children.
Wood uses a map of the Daybell backyard with cell-phone data that locates Alex Wood at Tylee's & JJ's burial sites.
“...mere feet from were JJ was buried.”
"Lori encouraged it, she aided it. She handed her boy off to Alex Cox." pic.twitter.com/Axu5ByuJGQ
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) May 11, 2023
An autopsy on Tammy revealed that she died due to asphyxiation, a far cry from the initial findings of death due to natural causes. Samantha Gwilliam, Tammy’s sister, disputed this initial result, and she told the jury that her sibling was training for a race two weeks before she died.
While the prosecution described Lori Vallow Daybell as a manipulator who used her brother and husband to get what she wanted, the defense claimed that she was normally a protective mother who fell into her fifth husband's bizarre, apocalyptic beliefs. Nevertheless, the conviction relieved the victims’ families, particularly Larry and Kay Woodcock, who were JJ’s grandparents.