'Cult mom' Lori Vallow is now deemed fit to stand trial for the murders of her children, JJ, 7, and Tylee, 17, ten months after she was placed in mental hospital

Daily Mail, UK/April 11, 2022

By Andrea Blanco

An Idaho judge found 'cult mom' Lori Vallow fit to stand trial for the murders of two of her children after she was placed in a mental hospital last year.

Fremont County District Judge Steven Boyce ordered court proceedings against Vallow to continue, saying she had restored competency.  

The decision on Monday comes almost ten months after Vallow was committed to a psychiatric facility.  

Lori Vallow, 48, and her husband, Chad Daybell, 53, are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder, among other crimes.

The charges are in relation to the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua 'JJ' Vallow, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan - two of Lori Vallow's kids - and Chad Daybell's first wife, Tammy Daybell.  

The children's bodies were found in Chad Daybell's backyard in Idaho in 2020 after they were last seen in September 2019. Tammy Daybell was killed in October 2019, two weeks before Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell married, authorities said.

Vallow is also charged in Arizona with conspiring to kill her former estranged husband, Charles Vallow, with the help of her now-deceased brother, Alex Cox.

Their indictments allege that the couple became convinced that their victims were zombies who had been possessed by dark spirits and could only be released through death.

Vallow will transferred from the custody of Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. She will be arraigned on April 19 at the Fremont County Courthouse.

Daybell had been confined to a state hospital in the care of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare since June 8, 2021, after Judge Boyce found her incompetent to stand trial following a psychological assessment performed by a clinical psychologist.

Her stay at the psychiatric facility was extended several times before her competency was restored Monday.

Vallow is accused of killing two of her children, JJ and Tylee, with the help of her husband Chad Daybell.   

Tylee and JJ vanished in September 2019, leading to a nationwide hunt. Their bodies weren't found until the following June.

The whole saga began in 2019, when Charles Vallow was killed by Lori Vallow's brother, Alex Cox.

A police investigation in Arizona uncovered computer documents that indicated Charles Vallow discovered his wife was having an affair with Chad Daybell just weeks before his death.

Charles Vallow confronted Lori Vallow in a text message, and then reached out to Tammy Daybell to let her know that their spouses were cheating.

The investigators didn't determine if Tammy Daybell ever read the email from Vallow or deleted it without reading. Eleven days after Charles Vallow sent the email, he was shot to death by Cox, who argued self-defense.

At the time, Charles Vallow was seeking a divorce, saying Lori Vallow believed she had become a god-like figure who was responsible for ushering in the biblical end times. Cox died in December 2019 of an apparent blood clot in his lung. 

Shortly after Charles Vallow's death, Lori Vallow and the children moved to Idaho, where Chad Daybell lived.

He ran a small publishing company, putting out many fiction books he wrote about apocalyptic scenarios loosely based on the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He also recorded podcasts about preparing for biblical end times, and friends said he claimed to be able to receive visions from 'beyond the veil.'

He was married to Tammy Daybell, who died in October 2019. Authorities grew suspicious when Chad Daybell married Lori Vallow just two weeks, and Tammy Daybell's body was exhumed.

Although the autopsy results have never been publicly released, but Tammy Daybell's son, Garth Daybell said last year authorities told him they believe his mother died by asphyxiation.

Then in November 2019, police began searching for Tylee and JJ in after relatives raised concerns.

Police say the Daybells lied to investigators about the children's whereabouts before quietly leaving Idaho. They were found in Hawaii months later.

Tylee was last seen September 8, 2019, when she went to Yellowstone National Park with her mom, her brother and Cox, court documents say.

It's not clear what happened to her, but police say the next day, Cox's cellphone data shows he made a trip to Chad Daybell's property and was near where the children's bodies were found.

Also on September 9, 2021, investigators say Chad Daybell texted Tammy Daybell, reportedly telling her that he decided to burn some plants and also had shot a raccoon, which he buried in an area of the property where the family had previously buried dead pets, according to the court documents.

The detective said in the documents that he was suspicious because raccoons are normally nocturnal and the text said the animal had been shot during the day.

Lori Vallow's longtime best friend, Melanie Gibb said she was told Tylee was attending school at a nearby college, though investigators later found the teen had never been enrolled.

Gibb also said JJ's behavior appeared to be typical, despite his mother claiming he was acting strangely.

The last time Gibb saw JJ was September 22, 2019, at Lori Vallow's apartment. Cox left with his nephew for his apartment nearby, Gibb told police, and when they returned, JJ appeared to be asleep, with his head on Cox's shoulder. 

The next morning, Gibb said JJ was gone and Lori said Cox had taken him for a while.

An analysis of Cox's cellphone records that day show that his phone pinged at locations on Chad Daybell's property once again.

It was those cellphone records that led police to the bodies of the children, police has said.  

Daybell met Vallow in 2018 and the two quickly became close, according to investigators. Within a short time they were traveling to meet each other, and at one point Daybell wrote a steamy short story for Lori Vallow based on two characters who, like thm, met at a religious conference.

By May of 2019, Lori Vallow was looking at gemstones online similar to the ones that would later be in their wedding rings.

Daybell and Vallow communicated with each other using code names or pet names like Lili, Bubby, Raphael and sometimes eschewed standard text messaging, instead using 'burner' phones or messaging systems inside of a popular karaoke phone application, according to computer and phone files found by investigators.

As their relationship grew, so did their cult-like religious beliefs, according to investigators.

Several family members and friends interviewed by detectives described them as having a strange doomsday-focused belief system, and some of the friends acknowledged adopting the beliefs as well.

At times as many as 10 people were part of the loose religious group that met to pray, drive out evil spirits and seek revelations from 'beyond the spiritual veil.'

Though the beliefs Vallow's friends described to detectives were loosely based in theology from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they veered into the extreme.

An arraignment for Lori Vallow has been scheduled for April 19, after she was restored competency on Monday.  

Daybell sits in prison awaiting trial, currently scheduled for January 2023.

Prosecutors have sought the death penalty. They have cited the fact that all his alleged crimes were committed for remuneration – life insurance and social security payments – as aggravating circumstances. 

Timeline of Lori Vallow's and Chad Daybell's alleged crimes

July 11, 2019: Lori Vallow's husband, Charles Vallow, is killed by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona. Police initially rule that Alex acted in self defense but reopen the case months later after the children are reported missing.

August, 2019: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho, close to where her future husband Chad Daybell lives with his wife Tammy.

September 8, 2019: Tylee is seen alive for the last time during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Lori, JJ and Alex. In the following weeks Lori tells people that her daughter is studying at Brigham Young University's Idaho campus.

September 23, 2019: The last time JJ is seen at his school in Rexburg. Lori emails the school the following day claiming she is moving the family to California for a new job.

October 2, 2019: Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Lori's niece Melani Pawlowski, is targeted in a drive-by shooting in Arizona. Police identify the vehicle carrying the shooter as a Jeep registered to Charles Vallow, Lori's late husband.

October 19, 2019: Chad's wife Tammy, 49, dies at their Idaho home. An obituary states that she passed away peacefully in her sleep. Chad declines an autopsy and her death is listed as due to natural causes.

October 25, 2019: A friend of Tylee receives a vague 'miss you' text from her phone but says that it didn't sound like the teen.   

November 5, 2019: Lori and Chad tie the knot on a beach in Kauai. Receipts indicate that Lori purchased her own wedding ring from Amazon nearly three weeks prior to Tammy's death.

November 26, 2019: Out-of-state relatives ask Idaho police to perform a welfare check on JJ. Lori and Chad claim he is in Arizona with relatives and ask their friend, Melanie Gibb, to lie and say she took the boy there for Thanksgiving. Police soon learn that no one has seen JJ or Tylee, since September.

November 27, 2019: Police execute a search warrant related to the children at Lori's home and discover that she and Chad have fled Idaho.

December 11, 2019: Tammy's body is exhumed from a Utah cemetery and her death is reclassified as suspicious.

December 12, 2019: Lori's brother, Alex Cox, is found dead in a bathroom in his Arizona home. Months later an autopsy determines that he died of natural causes while he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system.

December 21, 2019: Rexburg police issue the first press release about JJ and Tylee, revealing they believe their disappearance could be linked to Tammy's death and asking the public for information.

December 24, 2019: Lori and Chad issue a statement through an attorney saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing 'allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor'.

December 30, 2019: Police accuse Lori and Chad of lying to investigators and say they believe the couple know where the kids are or what happened to them.

January 3, 2020: Police search Chad's home in Salem and remove 43 items, including tech devices and journals. They also comb over sections of the snow-covered yard with rakes and metal detectors.

January 26, 2020: Lori and Chad are seen for the first time in months as police serve them with two search warrants in Kauai. Lori is also served with a court order to produce the children to authorities in Idaho in five days. The couple are approached by the media while officers serve the documents and refuse to say anything about the children.

January 30, 2020: Lori misses the court deadline to produce the children to Idaho authorities.

February 20, 2020: Lori is arrested in Kauai and charged with two felony counts for desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, and one misdemeanor count each for resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt of court.

March 5, 2020: Lori is extradited to Idaho, where she is held on $1million bond at Madison County Jail.

March 17, 2020: Lori professes her innocence in a statement through her attorney as two other members of her defense team quit and the judge removes himself from the case.

March 24, 2020: Court documents filed in the divorce of Lori's niece Melani and her husband Brandon Boudreaux allege that Lori told people she believed her children were zombies before they disappeared.

April 9, 2020: Authorities reveal they are investigating Lori and Chad for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with Tammy's death.

June 9, 2020: Police search Chad's home in Salem for the second time and discover human remains in the backyard. Chad is taken into police custody and charged with destruction or concealment of evidence.

May 25, 2021: Lori and Chad are charged with first degree murder in the deaths of the children. Chad is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Tammy.

May 27, 2021: Lori is deemed incompetent to stand trial on the murder charges in Idaho.

August 5, 2021: Prosecution announces it will seek the death penalty for Chad.

April 11, 2022: Lori is restored competency. Criminal proceedings against her in Ohio are ordered to continue. 

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