‘Cult mum’ Lori Vallow Daybell has been guilty of the first-degree murder of her youngest children whom she believed were ‘zombies’.
Vallow, described by prosecutors as a thimblerigging doomsayer, is charged along with partner Chad Daybell over the seemingly divinely inspired deaths of Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, seven, in September 2019.
Jurors in County Courthouse, Boise, Idaho, returned guilty verdicts to the mother-of-three on Friday morning after seven hours of deliberation.
Vallow was emotionless as the verdict – which included first-degree murder of her two children, conspiring to commit the murders of Tylee, JJ and Tammy Daybell and grand theft – was read out.
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has now lodged a request to extradite Vallow to Arizona as she faces charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of her previous husband Charles Vallow.
She will be sentenced at a later date in Fremont County. Chad is awaiting trial on the same murder charges.
Yesterday’s verdict capped off a years-long topsy-turvey investigation that has appalled the US with its grisly and other-worldly revelations.
Jurors heard how, among other surreal things, Vallow believed her loved ones were ‘zombies’ and that her daughter’s body was ‘burned beyond recognition’.
Vallow’s defence team said her religious beliefs became warped when she first met Chad, a doomsday fiction writer who had fallen for ‘weird’ cult teachings, at a conference in Utah in 2018.
He and Vallow claimed zombies, evil spirits and other demonic forces were all around them. People, prosecutors said, were either ‘dark’ or ‘light’ to them.
If this darkness festered for too long, the person became a ‘zombie’ and the only way to pull them out of this was to kill them.
Four out of the five people Vallow believed to be the walking dead were later killed or shot at, Vallow’s former friend Melanie Gibb testified.
To Vallow, she was a goddess sent to bring on the Biblical apocalypse and Tylee and Joshua’s bodies had to be destroyed for them to ascend to Heaven.
Charles, Vallow’s fourth husband who was shot on July 11 2019, was also a ‘zombie’, according to Vallow.
Vallow is said to have conspired to murder him with the help of her now-deceased brother Alex Cox – who mysteriously died three months after the children’s disappearance.
Vallow and Chad, both followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise called Mormons, soon spiralled into shady cultist beliefs.
She moved to Rexburg, a city in Madison County which has long been known for its large Mormon population, with her children to be closer to Chad.
But Gibb told investigators that the couple said they were part of the ‘Church of the Firstborn’, inflaming longstanding Mormon beliefs in the apocalypse.
Chad’s first wife, Tammy, died on October 19 2019 – one month after Vallow’s children were seen alive and two before he married Vallow. Chad claimed Tammy died of natural causes, though an autopsy revealed she died of asphyxiation.
Tylee and JJ vanished in September 2019, with their bodies not found until June 2020 when their remains were dug up on Chad’s property in Salem, Fremont County.
JJ, who was adopted and had special needs, was buried in a pet cemetery on the land. Tylee’s body was dismembered and burned in a fire pit, Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said.
‘Tylee’s body was burned beyond recognition. Her body was dismembered in such a grotesque and extreme manner,’ he said, adding that medical experts were unable to determine the cause of death.
‘JJ Vallow’s voice was silenced forever by a strip of duct tape over his mouth,’ Wood said.
‘A white plastic bag was placed over his head, and secured with duct tape around and around from his forehead to his chin.’
Vallow’s only surviving child, Colby Ryan, accused his mother of killing his siblings during a recorded prison phone call, the jurors heard.
Larry Woodcock, JJ’s grandfather, said: ‘This isn’t the end. Ninety days from today, we will be in Fremont County.
‘And I will say, ‘Why, Lori? Why?’
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