Chad Daybell: Murder defendant…. and prolific author?

Posted at 10:09 AM, April 20, 2023


BOISE, Idaho (Court TV) — Before he was accused of three horrific murders, Chad Daybell authored dozens of books, most of which were about the LDS church and an impending doomsday.

Chad Daybell's books

These are just a few of the books written by Chad Daybell. (Court TV)

Daybell and his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, face several charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder, related to the deaths of Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell and two of Lori’s children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, whose bodies were discovered on Chad’s property in June 2020.

Their cases were severed after an Idaho judge reversed his prior ruling. Lori’s trial is underway in Boise. Chad will face trial at a later date.

READ MORE: ID v. Lori Vallow Daybell: Doomsday Cult Mom Trial

Chad’s books were published by Spring Creek Book Company, a publishing company Chad himself founded.

Court TV’s Vinnie Politan has been featuring dramatic readings from the works of Chad Daybell on his primetime show, “Closing Arguments.”


Prosecutors say Chad wrote the James and Elena story for Lori. It apparently mirrored true life events between the two. The story contains several instances of the word “loins.”



In another excerpt from the James and Elena story, our hero and heroine rendezvous in Elena’s spare bedroom. And, yes, the word “loins” is bandied about yet again.



In “The Great Gathering,” the main character is named, not Chad, but Tad. Tad explores the downward spiral of American society and the LDS Church. The good news is that “The Great Gathering” contains exactly zero references to loins.



Daybell’s “The Youth of Zion” presents a guide for today’s youth with advice on things like dating, sexual purity, and how to handle temptation. Incidentally, Chad is accused of killing his former wife, Tammy Daybell — the mother of his five children — in order to be with Lori.


Arguably the most mainstream of Daybell’s books is “One Foot in the Grave.” Daybell spent time working as a cemetery sexton in Utah, maintaining the grounds of a Rocky Mountain Graveyard as well as digging graves.

His collection of stories from that time includes his interactions with visitors to the cemetery — both real people and, apparently, ghosts. Visitors included a coffin-chasing cow, an old lady who stole flowers from grave sites, and a rock band, among others.

It’s possible that Chad used his grave-digging skills when allegedly disposing of the bodies of Tylee and JJ in 2020. In an interview with NewsNation, the current sexton of the cemetery where Chad once worked, Paul Defa, spoke about the fact that wood paneling and stones were found on top of JJ’s body.

Defa explained that he thinks Chad used wood and stones because as a body decomposes, it gets smaller, and the ground can sink in above it if not for some sort of vaulting mechanism. Defa, who used to work with Chad, actually buried Tammy Daybell and later exhumed her body.

When “One Foot in the Grave” was released in 2001, Daybell gave an interview to the Desert News in which he told the interviewer: “Sad times are always when you have to bury babies. That’s always a poignant moment.”