Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty to several counts of murder and his wife, ‘cult mom’ Lori Vallow, has been committed to psychiatric treatment after she was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for the deaths of her two children and her husband’s ex-wife.
The legal developments took place a year to the day on Wednesday when authorities in Idaho discovered the buried remains of Vallow’s two children on her husband’s property.
Last week it was revealed that a competency evaluation was made under seal to determine Lori’s fitness to proceed with the trial after it was called into question by her lawyers.
An Idaho judge on Tuesday ordered her to be remanded into the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare ‘for care and treatment at an appropriate facility for a period not exceeding 90 days.’
After 90 days, if Vallow is determined to have recovered, court proceedings would resume as per normal.
But if she is still deemed to be incompetent to stand trial, the case would be delayed for six additional months during which time she would continue to receive treatment.
It is unclear which state facility will treat Vallow.
Chad Daybell (seen right in an Idaho courtroom on Wednesday) has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in connection to the deaths of his ex-wife, Tammy Daybell, and the two children of his current wife, Lori Vallow
Lori Vallow has been committed for psychiatric treatment after she was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for the murders of her two children
An Idaho judge on Tuesday ordered Vallow to be remanded into the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare ‘for care and treatment at an appropriate facility for a period not exceeding 90 days.’
The couple is suspected in the deaths of Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Pictured: Tammy and Chad
Lori’s kids Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 16, were last seen alive in September 2019, and their remains were discovered on Chad Daybell’s Idaho property on June 9, 2020
Investigators are seen searching the area of Chad’s yard where they found JJ and Tylee’s bodies on June 9, 2020
Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, were indicted by a Fremont County grand jury last month on several charges including first-degree murder.
The couple is suspected in the deaths of Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, and Vallow’s two children – Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, 7.
The judge ordered the state to compile a ‘progress report’ on Vallow’s mental condition that will ‘include an opinion as to whether [she] is fit to proceed’ with her trial.
‘The court finds that the Defendant does lack (the) capacity to make informed decisions about treatment,’ District Judge Steven Boyce writes in the order.
‘The court finds that the defendant is not dangerously mentally ill.’
Lori is pictured with her fourth husband Charles Vallow. Charles was shot dead by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, in July 2019
Vallow’s children JJ, seven, and Tylee, 16, were last seen alive in September 2019, soon after Lori moved from Arizona to Idaho to live with Chad. Their remains were found in June last year
On Friday, the lead prosecutor in the case withdrew his objection to the findings of a mental health expert who said that Vallow was not competent to stand trial.
Rob Wood, a lawyer with the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office, filed a motion with the court on Friday stating that he no longer objects to the expert’s diagnosis and proposed treatment plan, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Last month, 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 friends and family have alleged that Lori is a member of a dangerous Doomsday cult with extreme religious beliefs – including that she is a prophet sent to Earth to eradicate ‘zombies’ before leading the ‘chosen 144,000’ into the New Millennium.
In the weeks before her children Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 16, were killed in September 2019, Lori allegedly told friends that she believed both had turned into zombies.
Chad Daybell, left, laughed as he appeared in court last month ahead of his wife Lori Vallow after they were both charged with the murder of her two children
Chad was also charged with the murder of his first wife, Tammy Daybell, pictured. She purportedly died in her sleep aged 49 on October 19, 2019; Chad refused an autopsy at the time, despite the fact that his wife was in excellent health
Chad Daybell is charged with three counts each of first-degree murder and conspiring to commit murder and grand theft by deception, as well as two additional counts of insurance fraud in connection with the life insurance policies on his late wife.
Lori Vallow is charged with three counts of conspiring to commit murder and grand theft by deception, as well as two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of her children.
Lori Vallow is also charged with two counts of grand theft because prosecutors say she collected her childrens’ Social Security survivor benefits after they died.
Prosecutors have about two months to decide if they will seek the death penalty in the case.
The Daybells have already been in jail for several months, charged earlier with conspiring to destroy evidence. They have pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges and have not yet had a chance to enter a plea in the new murder case.
The complex case began in 2018, according to the indictment on murder charges, when Chad and Lori Daybell – both still married to other people – began espousing their apocalyptic system of religious belief.
A family friend earlier testified that the couple believed a person’s soul could be sent to ‘limbo,’ allowing an evil spirit to take over their body on earth.
The friend, Melanie Gibbs, said Lori Daybell referred to those supposedly possessed bodies as ‘zombies,’ and that the couple claimed the only way to free the person’s soul from “limbo” was to kill their earthly body.
In 2019, Lori Daybell’s then-husband, Charles Vallow, was seeking a divorce, writing in court documents that she believed she had become a god-like figure who was responsible for ushering in the biblical end times.
But the divorce never happened because Lori Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Charles Vallow in suburban Phoenix.
Charles Vallow, 63, the estranged fourth husband of Idaho ‘cult mom’ Lori Vallow, removed her as the beneficiary from his $1million life insurance policy just a few months before he was shot and killed by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox
Cox claimed self-defense and charges were never filed. Cox himself died several months later of a blood clot in his lungs.
After the shooting, Lori Daybell and her two youngest children moved to Idaho, where Chad Daybell lived.
Chad Daybell ran a small publishing company with his wife, Tammy Daybell, and released several of his own books – doomsday-focused fiction loosely based on the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Tammy Daybell died in October 2019, and her obituary said she died in her sleep of natural causes.
But authorities grew suspicious when Chad Daybell married Lori Daybell just two weeks later, and they had Tammy Daybell’s body exhumed.
Police began searching for the children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, in November after extended family members raised concerns that the children were missing.
Police say the Daybells lied to investigators about their whereabouts before quietly leaving Idaho. They were found in Hawaii months later, without the children.
The children’s bodies were found last June, buried on Chad Daybell’s property in eastern Idaho.
Tylee Ryan’s aunt, Annie Cushing, said news of the murder charges was ‘surreal.’ The announcement was made on what would have been JJ Vallow’s ninth birthday.
‘I’ve pictured this day so many times in my head as I’ve been waiting for some indication that more serious charges were coming,’ Cushing told EastIdahoNews.com in an interview.
‘You feel this tugging at you because you don’t want to be crushed. But at the same time I was like, “Is this it?”‘
Charles Vallow accused his then-estranged wife Lori Vallow of hacking into his life insurance policy in February 2019 – right around the time he filed for divorce
Cult mom Lori Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell have been charged with murder, two years after the remains of her two children were found on their property
Lori’s kids Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 16, were last seen alive in September 2019, and their remains were discovered on her Idaho property last June
Investigators are seen searching the area of Chad’s yard where they found JJ and Tylee’s bodies on June 9, 2020
Tammy Daybell’s parents and siblings also released a statement in response to the murder charges, asking for privacy as they grieve.
‘We’d especially ask that this consideration be extended to our dearest Tammy’s children and grandchildren. We want their lives to retain as much peace, normalcy and remembrance of their mother/grandmother as possible,’ the family wrote.
‘No one knows how to handle this perfectly. We ask that we all be given the space to continue to honor and grieve our loved one the best we can.’
Timeline of JJ and Tylee’s disappearance
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: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho, where her future husband Chad Daybell lives with his wife Tammy.
September 8: The last time Tylee is seen during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Lori, JJ and Alex. In the following weeks she tells people who ask where Tylee is that she’s studying at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus.
September 23: The last time JJ is seen at his school in Rexburg. Lori emailed the school the following day and claims she is moving the family to California for a new job.
October 2: Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Lori’s niece Melanie 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: 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 natural causes.
October 25: 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: 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: 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 his older sister Tylee, since September.
November 27: Police execute a search warrant related to the children at Lori’s home and discover that she and Chad have fled Idaho.
December 11: Tammy’s body is exhumed from a Utah cemetery and her death is reclassified as suspicious.
December 12: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, is found unresponsive in a bathroom in Arizona and dies. Months later an autopsy determines that he died of natural causes while he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system.
December 21: 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: 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: 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: 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: Lori misses the court deadline to produce the children to Idaho authorities.
February 20: 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: Lori is extradited to Idaho, where she is held on $1million bond at Madison County Jail.
March 17: 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: 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: Authorities reveal they are investigating Lori and Chad for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with Tammy’s death.
May 25: Idaho police issue a statement expressing hope that the kids will be found safe on what would have been JJ’s eighth birthday.
June 9: 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.