In June 2020, two bodies were excavated from the backyard of Rexburg, Idaho, by LDS doomsday author Chad Daybell. The two children of Chad’s wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, had been missing for ten months, beginning in September 2019. After a nationwide search covered extensively by the media, Tylee Ryan, 17, and JJ Vallow, of 7 years, were found.
A new Netflix documentary that turns your stomach, Sins of Our Mother, documents the life of Lori Vallow. Traces the religious extremist journey that ultimately resulted in the deaths of two of her youngest children, as well as her former husband Charles Vallow, her brother Alex Cox, and Chad Daybell’s ex-wife, Tammy Daybell. . As the Netflix document explains, Chad Daybell believed that the world was ending imminently and that he had the power to determine who had a “light” spirit and therefore would survive the apocalypse and who was the “dark” spirit. . According to Daybell, the only way to exercise a dark spirit, which he called a zombie, was to kill the earthly body.
After Lori Vallow met Chad Daybell in 2018, her marriage to Charles Vallow began to fall apart. Charles filed for divorce in February 2019, telling police that Lori had threatened to kill him and that he was concerned for the safety of his children. In Arizona during July 2019, Lori Vallow’s brother Alex Cox shot and killed Charles Vallow, claiming it was self-defense. According to the Netflix documentary, Lori later tried to take out Charles’s $1 million life insurance policy, though she discovered she was no longer the beneficiary, before moving with her brother Alex and their two sons Tylee and JJ to Rexburg, Idaho. where Chad Daybell lived. In October 2019, Chad’s wife, Tammy Daybell, also he died of what the authorities of the time determined to be natural causes. Chad Daybell also took out his life insurance policy. Two weeks later, in early November, Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow got married.
Meanwhile, JJ’s paternal grandmother called the Idaho police for welfare in late November, as she hadn’t seen her grandson since August on FaceTime, and Lori wouldn’t return her calls. police visited the apartment complex where Lori lived, and claimed her children were with a friend in Arizona. Her friend denied it. The next day, when the police returned to Lori’s apartment, he was unoccupied. A nationwide search for the missing children was launched. In December 2019, Lori’s brother Alex Cox died, also from what the authorities determined to be natural causes. In the Netflix documentary, his wife recalls that he told her before he died: “I think I’m being the scapegoat for her.”
In February 2020, authorities located Chad and Lori in Kauai, Hawaii and stopped Lori on felony charges of desertion and failure to support her dependent children after she failed to produce them. Members of Lori’s family, including her mother and her oldest son, Colby, who appear in the new documentary, pleaded with her to explain where the children were, but to no avail.
Ten months after the search began in June 2020, the remains of Kylee Ryan and JJ Vallow were found buried in shallow graves in Chad Daybell’s Idaho yard. Alex Cox’s phone records place him at the location of these graves at the time they disappeared.
Lori and Chad Daybell were loaded with first degree murder in connection with the deaths of Tylee and JJ. Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges and face the death penalty if convicted at their joint trial in January 2023. Charles Daybell is also loaded with an additional first-degree murder charge in the case of his late wife Tammy Daybell, whose body was exhumed after authorities began searching for Tylee and JJ in 2019. Lori is also loaded with conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona in connection with the death of her ex-husband, Charles Vallow. Those proceedings are on hold while Idaho’s joint case is ongoing. Authorities maintain that Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, died of natural causes.
In early September, a week before the Netflix documentary was to air, Lori’s oldest son, Colby, was stopped for sexually assaulting his ex-wife, who appears in Sins of Our Mother with him He faces two charges of sexual assault.
Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell are currently incarcerated in Idaho, with their trial set establish to begin on January 9, 2023. His beliefs do not appear to have wavered since his arrests. “I did everything I could to protect them, their whole lives, as you know,” Lori says of Tylee and JJ on the phone from jail with her oldest son, Colby, on the show. “I’m sorry that you don’t fully understand the situation… You will see it one day.”
Lauren Kranc is an assistant editor for content strategy at Esquire, where she manages the brand’s social media accounts and covers pop culture and television, with too limited experience on true crime shows.
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