‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow in Arizona
A grand jury handed down the indictment Tuesday in Maricopa County, Arizona
It comes just over a month after Lori and her fifth husband Chad Daybell were charged with murder for the deaths of her children Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, and Tylee Ryan, as well as Daybell’s first wife
Vallow, 63, Lori’s fourth husband was shot dead by her brother, Alexander Cox, on July 11, 2019
Police initially ruled that Cox acted in self defense, but he died in late 2020, shortly after investigations into the death of Charles Vallow was reopened
The case was reopened when Lori’s children Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 16, were reported missing in Idaho in November 2019
The black widow Arizona woman dubbed ‘Cult mom’, has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her fourth husband. Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced that a grand jury indicted Lori Vallow on one count of conspiracy to commit murder in relation to her former husband, Charles Vallow.
The indictment of Lori Vallow was handed down on Tuesday – just over a month after she was charged with murder alongside her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, for the deaths of her two children as well as Daybell’s first wife Tammy Daybell. The pair were charged in May by prosecutors in Idaho.
Lori’s fourth husband Charles Vallow was shot dead by her brother, Alexander Cox, on July 11, 2019, during a custody dispute over their seven-year-old son Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow in Chandler, Arizona.
Police initially ruled that Cox acted in self defense but the case was reopened when JJ and his sister Tylee Ryan, 16, were reported missing in Idaho in November 2019.
Alex Cox died a month after the case was reopened.
Lori’s children, Joshua JJ Vallow, 7, and his older sister Tylee Ryan, 16, were found buried in the backyard of Chad Dabell’s home in Salem, Idaho, in June 2020.
Lori is facing two counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder in their deaths.
She also faces one count of conspiracy to commit murder over the death of Chad Daybell’s first wife Tammy Daybell in October 2019.
Lori was a committed to a mental health facility in Idaho for evaluation earlier June after she was ruled unfit to stand trial. Daybell appeared in court on June 9 and pled not guilty to conspiracy and murder charges in the deaths of JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan, and his 51-year-old wife Tammy Daybell. ‘
The Chandler Police Department submitted its investigation into Lori regarding Vallow’s death to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on April 1.
At the time police confirmed that they had submitted a conspiracy charge for the county attorney to decide whether to formalize it.
The indictment states that on the day of Vallow’s death, Lori ‘agreed with Alexander Cox that at least one of them or another would engage in conduct constituting the offense of First Degree Murder.’
On that day Vallow had gone to Lori’s home in Chandler to pick up the couple’s adopted son JJ and an argument ensued. At the time Cox told police he had intervened on behalf of his sister, who left the home with Tylee to bring JJ to school.
Cox said Vallow struck him in the head with a baseball bat and he responded by retrieving a gun and shooting his brother-in-law twice in the chest.
Vallow had filed for divorce from Lori five months earlier in February 2019.
In court documents Vallow predicted that either Lori or her brother would kill him and alleged that she was ‘infatuated’ with doomsday and near-death experiences after joining a religious cult called Preparing a People.
Speaking to FOX10 in January of last year, Vallow’s lawyer Steven Ellsworth claimed his client told him: ‘I’m afraid I’m gonna be killed, and I know who’s gonna do it.
‘I’m telling you, Steve, so that if something happens to me, I wanna make sure you let everyone know that something happens, I’m killed, that it’s my wife Lori and her brother, Alex Cox.’
Charles Vallow tells police in Jan 2019, his wife Lori Vallow wants him dead
Body camera footage from January 2019 also showed Charles telling police that Lori needed ‘serious help’ and asking for her to be committed for psychiatric treatment.
Vallow told officers Lori considered herself a translated being and a God who spoke with an ancient prophet and Jesus Christ daily. He said her strange religious views were several years in the making but became increasingly worse.
Vallow said what he found most concerning was when Lori told him a man named Nick Schneider had taken over his body and she would have to kill him.
Furthermore Vallow said Lori told him: “I can murder you now with my powers.”
Vallow told officers he called them as he feared for his, JJ and Tylee’s safety.
Vallow said earlier that day, while he was on a business trip in Houston, Lori had called and told him to take the kids.
When he arrived home, his truck was not at the airport, and Lori said she threw out all of his clothes.
She also allegedly emptied their joint bank account that day.
Vallow’s keys to his home had been inside the truck, and the police body camera footage shows he had to kick in the front door to gain access, assisted by the responding officers.
When police came to their home that night, they were armed with an order to pick Lori for a mental health exam, but officers said typically they don’t serve those orders during the night time and only came to conduct a welfare check on the children. Having determined no crime had been committed, officers left the home without Lori.
The next morning, Lori visited the police station to file a report against Vallow. She then went for the mental health exam and was medically cleared.
On July 11, 2019 Lori’s brother, Alexander Cox, shot and killed Vallow at a home in Chandler, Arizona.
In August, Lori took her family to live in Rexburg. By the end of September, JJ and Tylee had vanished.
Lori is now undergoing under that treatment after a judge in Fremont County, Idaho, deemed her unfit to stand trial.
A document filed with the court on May 27 said an order for a competency evaluation was made under seal to determine Lori’s fitness to proceed with the trial after it was called into question by counsel.
A psychologist performed an assessment and found that ‘at this time the defendant is not competent to proceed, and recommends restorative treatment’.
The psychologist did not explain his decision, but its been speculated that the unfit determination stemmed from her alleged extreme religious beliefs.
Weeks after Vallow’s death, Lori and her children moved to Rexburg, Idaho, miles away from where Daybell lived with his wife Tammy and their five children.
Tylee vanished on September 8, 2019, just days before her 17th birthday. Investigators said her body was burned and dismembered before being buried sometime the following day.
JJ was last seen two weeks later on September 23. His body was wrapped in duct tape and plastic and buried the same day, investigators said.
Authorities believe Lori’s brother, Cox, brought the children’s bodies to Daybell’s home to dispose of them.
Tammy died at the home she shared with Chad Daybell on October 19, 2019. Daybell reportedly declined an autopsy and went on to marry Lori less than three weeks later.
Police began searching for JJ and Tylee in late November 2019 after performing a welfare check ordered by concerned relatives who said they hadn’t spoken to seven-year-old JJ, who was autistic, in months.
When officers first went to Lori’s home in Idaho on November 26, she told them that JJ was visiting relatives in Arizona. Officers returned the following day and found that Lori and Chad Daybell, the man she married weeks earlier, had fled from the home.
Authorities said the couple repeatedly lied about where JJ and Tylee were and refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Lori Vallow and Daybell were named persons of interest in the children’s disappearance after investigators said they believe the mother knew where her children were or what happened to them.
The case captured nationwide attention with the revelations that police were also investigating at least three mysterious deaths linked to Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell, as well as family members’ claims that the couple are members of a dangerous doomsday cult.
The first death is that of Lori’s estranged husband Charles Vallow, followed by Daybell’s first wife Tammy – whose body was exhumed on December 11, 2019.
On December 12, Lori’s brother, Cox, was found dead in Gilbert, Arizona.
An autopsy determined that the 51-year-old’s died of natural causes but noted that he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system at the time.
Police tracked Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell down in Princeville, Hawaii, in late January 2020 and served the mother with a court order requiring her to physically produce the children to authorities in Idaho within five days.
Lori failed to meet the deadline, prompting her arrest and extradition to Idaho, where she is currently being held at Madison County Jail in lieu of $1million bond.
Daybell was arrested three months later after the children’s bodies were found.
Over the course of the search for the kids several people who knew Lori and Daybell came forward with claims that the pair were members of a ‘cult’ called Preparing a People, which was dedicated to bracing for the end of the world.
The organization aimed to distance themselves from Daybell and Lori Vallow as the missing children’s case made headlines, allegedly fearing that misconceptions about Preparing a People could cause members to be excommunicated from the LDS Church.
At the core of the couple’s beliefs was the idea that they were prophets sent to earth by God to lead the ‘chosen 144,000’ into the New Millennium on July 22, 2020, according to court documents and accounts from friends and family.
Part of their preparations included eradicating the world of ‘zombies’ before Doomsday arrived, according to Lori’s former best friend Melanie Gibb, who was part of a small group with which Daybell shared his personal gospel.
‘It was their commission to get rid of all the zombies before tribulations came upon us,’ Gibb told the East Idaho News last year.
Chillingly, Lori had accused three of her loved ones of turning into zombies prior to their deaths: JJ and Tylee, as well as her fourth husband Vallow.
Vallow had filed for divorce from Lori five months before he died, and in court documents and conversations with law enforcement he revealed that Lori had threatened to kill him because she believed his body had been possessed by evil spirits.
After Vallow died, Lori moved her children to Idaho in August 2019. Gibb recounted a phone call around that time when Lori remarked that her daughter Tylee had also turned into a zombie.
Soon after Gibb visited Lori in Idaho, and the mother began ranting about how her son JJ was ‘acting like a zombie’ and crawling on the kitchen cabinets.
Gibb also described how Lori and Dabell met at an LDS Church conference in late 2018 and quickly developed an eerily close relationship – despite them both being married to other people at the time.
Gibb said Daybell had told Lori that they knew each other previous lives and were ‘sealed’ to each other.
Latter-day Saints believe that relationships continue after death if a husband and wife are sealed in the temple by an officiant. People cannot be sealed to a second spouse if they are already legally married to a living person.
The indictments handed down in late May and on Tuesday marked landmark developments in the case that has inspired many television specials, podcasts and Facebook communities of devoted sleuths.
However questions still remain over why the couple allegedly committed the murders- and why it took so long for prosecutors to bring the charges.
The May indictment suggests that both Lori Vallow and and Chad Daybell benefitted financially from the deaths of their loved ones.
Lori was accused of switching Social Security payments from Tylee’s account to her own account in mid-August.
She allegedly continued to collect Social Security assistance checks worth $1,000 on behalf of the children for five months after their deaths.
JJ and Tylee were receiving ‘survivor’ Social Security benefits, which entitle children of a deceased parent to up to half of the parent’s full retirement benefits. JJ was receiving benefits because of his adoptive father Charles Vallow’s death and Tylee was receiving them after the death of her father Joseph Ryan in April 2018. Ryan was Lori Vallow’s third husband.
Lori is charged with grand theft and insurance fraud for failing to alert the government of the kids’ deaths while she continued collecting their benefits.
According to his indictment, Chad Daybell increased the life insurance benefits to the maximum allowed under Tammy’s policy just a month before her death. He reportedly ended up receiving a $430,000 payout.