Affidavit: Lori Vallow Daybell conspired to commit 4th husband’s murder

Posted at 9:29 AM, July 2, 2021 and last updated 7:15 PM, May 18, 2023

By Katie McLaughlin

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Court TV) — Lori Vallow Daybell is facing charges that she conspired with her brother to murder her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. That is in addition to the charges the so-called Doomsday Cult Mom already faces, which include the murders of her children — Tylee and JJ — as well as conspiracy to commit the murder of Tammy Daybell, her fifth husband’s wife.


The 13-page probable cause affidavit released by the Chandler, Arizona, police department contained some jaw-dropping revelations.

According to the report, on July 11, 2019, Lori’s brother, Alex Cox told police he shot his brother-in-law in self-defense. A homicide investigation ensued. Police quickly discovered that Charles and Lori were having marital troubles and living apart.

Extreme religious beliefs

Not long before, Lori had announced she had been selected to prepare 144,000 people for the end of the world. Charles, in response, expressed concerns about Lori’s mental stability. He filed a petition seeking a mental health evaluation. His petition described how Lori had told him that she had become possessed by a dark spirit named Ned Schneider.

According to police reports, court orders, police body cam footage, cell phone records and witness testimony, Lori started referring to Charles in conversations as “Ned.”

The affidavit had brought to light the rather extreme religious convictions held by Lori and Alex. The brother and sister relocated to Rexburg, Idaho, after Charles’ death. During a November 2019 welfare check in Rexburg on 17-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old JJ, Lori told authorities the kids were in Arizona. That was a lie.

Lori Vallow Daybell (left) is shown in a March 6, 2020, file photo. Her husband, Chad Daybell, right,
listens during his preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Monday, August 3, 2020. The couple are charged with concealing evidence by destroying or hiding the bodies of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan at his eastern Idaho home. (John Roark/Post Register via AP, Pool)

Investigators soon learned that Lori had married Rexburg resident Chad Daybell on November 5, 2019. Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell, had died in her sleep just 19 days prior — on October 19, 2019.

Alex Cox, meanwhile, died in December 2019, at the age of 51. His death was ruled to have been brought on by natural causes.

When the priority of the investigation pivoted to finding Tylee and JJ, the FBI and the police departments of Chandler, Gilbert, Rexburg and Freemont County combined forces to locate the children.

The teams’ coordinated efforts netted search warrants, phone records, social media accounts, bank records, medical records, e-mails and electronic devices. The recovered data led investigators to conclude that all the crimes that had been committed were no coincidence.

Police had reason to believe Charles was killed so Lori could be free to marry Chad Daybell, and the newlyweds could “fulfill their religious prophecy.”

Lori, police discovered, had come to believe that she was a so-called exalted Goddess and that she and Chad had been chosen to lead 144,000 people in preparation for Doomsday.

Lori and Chad believed they could do things such as teleport and incite natural disaster, among other incredible powers. The couple believed they could decipher whether a person had a “dark” scale or a “light” scale. That scale was an indicator of whether people had been inflicted by demons. They sometimes referred to dark spirits as zombies.

By Lori and Chad’s logic, Charles, Tylee and JJ were zombies.

J.J. and Tylee (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via AP, File)

The investigation winds down

The investigation revealed that on the night of Charles’ murder, there was more than a 45-minute delay between gunfire and the 911 call. Furthermore, the bullet’s angle indicated that Charles had already been lying on the floor when the second bullet struck him.

Text messages uncovered in the investigation indicated that Charles’ death had been plotted out.

July 1 hearing vacated

A status hearing that was supposed to be held for Lori on July 1 was vacated. Unrelated to the murder case filing, that hearing was filed in Freemont County, Idaho, and specifically pertained to the charges of conspiracy to commit destruction of evidence. No reason was given as to why the hearing was vacated. It has not yet been rescheduled.

What’s next?

Lori, meanwhile, has been confined to an Idaho mental facility since she was committed in June after a psychological assessment deemed her unfit to stand trial. Once she’s deemed competent, however, she will face trial.

Chad Daybell also faces first-degree murder charges for the deaths of Tammy, Tylee and JJ.

Court TV’s Chanley Painter and Jessica Thill contributed to this report.