Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell case: A timeline of events
Today, people know Lori Vallow Daybell as a “doomsday mom.” She’s been called a “monster” and a ‘cult mom.” She’s accused of murdering her children – Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, who vanished in September 2019.
2006: Happily Married
Before all the notoriety, Lori married businessman Charles Vallow. Friends say it appeared to be a happy marriage. Together, the couple was raising Tylee Ryan, Lori’s daughter from a previous marriage.
2014: JJ Joins the Family
Lori and Charles Vallow adopted JJ Vallow. He was the grandson of Charles’ sister. JJ had autism and April Raymond, who was Lori’s friend, says Lori was “patient,” an ideal mother for him.
Vaisia Itaaehau met the Vallow family when they lived in Arizona. She says Tylee embraced her role as a big sister, that Tylee even jokingly referred to JJ as her own child.
2017: Family dynamics change
Sometime around 2017, relatives say Lori’s relationship with her children changed. Her friends say she had been reading the books of doomsday author Chad Daybell. Daybell, who wrote several fiction books about preparing for the end of the world, lived outside Rexburg, Idaho.
2018: Lori Vallow meets Chad Daybell
Sometime in 2018, Lori Vallow met Chad Daybell. Lori’s friends say there was a connection between the two and they began doing religious podcasts together. Daybell was also married. Together with his wife Tammy Daybell, he was raising five children.
Lori’s friend Melanie Gibb would later say she heard Chad and Lori talking about “zombies”— people whose souls were replaced by “dark spirits.” Lori’s former friend, April Raymond, told “48 Hours” that Lori started referring to her husband, Charles Vallow, as a “demon.”
2019: Seeking help
In 2019, Charles Vallow became very worried about Lori, and he went to the police with his concerns. He told them Lori believed she was a “god” preparing for the end of days. He also said Lori had threatened to murder him.
February 2019: Charles Vallow’s fears
Charles Vallow filed for a divorce from Lori. In court documents, Charles expressed that he feared for his and the children’s safety.
July 2019: A death investigation
Charles Vallow went to the house where Lori Vallow was living with the children in Chandler, Arizona. Charles was supposed to drop their son JJ off at school. But when he went inside the home, Charles was shot dead by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox.
Cox told police that Lori and Charles got into a fight. Alex claimed he was protecting his sister and shot Charles in self-defense. Lori and Tylee — who both say they heard the shooting — told similar stories of self-defense.
Lori Vallow moved closer to Chad Daybell. She relocated her kids to Rexburg, Idaho. Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, moved into the same apartment complex.
September 8, 2019: Tylee Ryan vanishes
Lori, Tylee, JJ, and Alex Cox went to Yellowstone National Park. Police say this is where the last known photo of Tylee was taken before she vanished.
Melanie Gibb has said that Lori had referred to Tylee as a “zombie.”
September 9, 2019:
The morning after Tylee Ryan disappeared, investigators say that Alex Cox’s cellphone GPS placed him in Chad Daybell’s backyard, on the property for about 2 hours. About 14 minutes after Cox’s GPS showed him leaving the property, Chad Daybell texted his wife, Tammy Daybell. The text read: “… I spotted a big racoon [sic] along the fence. I hurried and got my gun, and he was still walking along. I got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery…”
September 22, 2019: JJ Vallow disappears
Police say JJ Vallow was last seen on September 22, 2019.
Melanie Gibb says that she and her boyfriend, David Warwick, were staying with Lori in Rexburg that weekend. On the night of September 22, 2019, Warwick says he saw Alex Cox carry JJ into Lori’s apartment. But the next morning, according to Warwick, when he asked to see JJ, Lori reportedly told them that JJ was “being a zombie” and that Cox had to take him away.
September 23, 2019
The day after JJ was last seen, investigators say Alex Cox’s cellphone showed that Cox returned to Chad Daybell’s backyard. This time, Cox was there for only 17 minutes.
October 19, 2019: Another death
With Lori Vallow’s children’s whereabouts unknown, tragedy struck Chad Daybell’s family. Daybell’s wife, Tammy Daybell, died. The couple’s son, Garth Daybell, said Tammy died in bed and that he and Chad called 911.
The Daybell children told “48 Hours” they declined an autopsy. They say the coroner told them Tammy’s death appeared to be natural causes. They believed that because they say their mom was in ill health prior to her death.
November 5, 2019: Chad and Lori wed
Roughly two weeks later, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell got married on a beach in Hawaii.
Later that month, JJ’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock, asked police to check on JJ’s welfare. Woodcock said she was concerned and hadn’t heard from JJ in months.
November 26, 2019: Missing kids
Rexburg police went to Lori’s house looking for JJ. Police say Lori lied to them, claiming that JJ was safe and staying in Arizona with her friend, Melanie Gibb. At first, Gibb wasn’t forthcoming about JJ’s whereabouts but later called police and told them JJ hadn’t been with her.
While Rexburg police attempted to locate JJ, investigators soon realized that his sister, Tylee Ryan was also missing, and launched a nationwide search for the children.
While investigators searched for the missing children, Lori and Chad Daybell traveled back to Hawaii.
In December 2019, Fremont County Sheriff’s Investigators grew suspicious about Tammy Daybell’s death. They exhumed her body to conduct an autopsy.
That same month, Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, died in Arizona. It was determined he died of natural causes.
January 25, 2020
Authorities served Lori Vallow Daybell an order requiring her to produce her children.
February 20, 2020: An arrest
After failing to comply, Lori was arrested in Hawaii. Two weeks later, she was extradited to Idaho.
June 9, 2020: Searching Chad Daybell’s backyard
Even after Lori’s arrest, the couple refused to say where the children were. On June 9, 2020, the FBI, Rexburg Police and Fremont County Sheriff’s Office descended upon Chad Daybell’s home and property.
Authorities dug in areas of the backyard where Alex Cox’s cellphone had pinged in September 2019. Tragically, they uncovered human remains buried in shallow graves.
JJ Vallow had been buried under a tree and about 50 yards away; investigators found Tylee’s grave in the Daybell’s pet cemetery. Prosecutors believe she was buried in the same location Chad Daybell referenced when he texted Tammy Daybell nine months earlier, saying he was burying a raccoon.
Investigators dug up part of the pet cemetery and found no raccoon. But Daybell’s family told” 48 Hours” there was a second pet cemetery on the property that was not searched.
Chad Daybell was arrested.
Authorities later confirmed that they identified the remains as JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. A memorial was built along the Daybell’s fence to honor the victims.
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell were charged with first-degree murder for the deaths of JJ and Tylee. Daybell was also charged with murdering his first wife, Tammy Daybell.
June 2021: Chad in court
Chad Daybell pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
June 2021: Lori’s case on hold
Lori Vallow Daybell was also charged with conspiring to murder Charles Vallow. That same month, a judge ruled Lori incompetent to stand trial while she receives mental health treatment. She had not yet entered a plea; her case was on hold.
August 2021: Awaiting trial
Prosecutors announced they will seek the death penalty against Chad Daybell. Daybell is jailed, awaiting trial.
September 2021: Speaking out
Chad and Tammy’s children — speaking publicly for the first time together — told “48 Hours” they believe their father is innocent. Daybell’s daughter, Emma Murray, says she believes Chad was framed by Alex Cox and Lori Vallow Daybell.
April 11, 2022: Lori Vallow Daybell fit to stand trial
Judge Steven Boyce ruled Lori Vallow Daybell is now mentally competent to stand trial in the Idaho murder case. He did not provide other details about her treatment or mental condition. She is scheduled to be formally arraigned in court next week and both Lori and Chad Daybell are set to stand trial together early next year.
April 19, 2022: Judge enters plea on Lori Vallow Daybell’s behalf
Lori Vallow Daybell refused to enter a plea to murder and other charges, prompting Judge Steven Boyce to enter a not guilty plea on her behalf. Lori Vallow Daybell and her husband, Chad Daybell, were both at the courthouse in the eastern Idaho town of St. Anthony for court proceedings; Lori Daybell for an arraignment that was delayed for months while she underwent treatment at a mental health facility, and Chad Daybell for a hearing over the trial venue.
May 4, 2022: Lori Vallow Daybell could face death penalty
Lori Vallow Daybell will qualify for capital punishment if she is convicted at her trial later this year because the slayings were exceptionally depraved and carried out for financial gain, according to court documents filed by prosecuting attorneys from Fremont and Madison counties on May 2.
August 16, 2022: Lori Vallow Daybell’s attorney’s seek change in charges
Attorneys for Lori Vallow Daybell asked a judge to send the case back to a grand jury because they say that the conspiracy charges are oddly constructed and could confuse a jury. Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell have pleaded not guilty to murder, conspiracy and grand theft charges in connection with the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.
September 23, 2022: Judge bans cameras from courtroom
Seventh District Judge Steven Boyce has banned cameras from the courtroom in the criminal case of Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell, saying he fears the images could prevent a fair trial. The Idaho judge said news organizations will no longer be able to shoot still photography or videos inside the courtroom
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.