Lori Vallow Daybell case: Timeline of events ahead of trial

Jury selection begins in Doomsday Cult Mom Murder Trial

Hundreds of potential jurors will arrive at the Ada County Courthouse Monday, April 3, for jury selection in the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell.

Posted at 9:06 AM, March 28, 2023 and last updated 12:07 PM, April 3, 2023

By: Karen Lehr

BOISE, Idaho (KIVI) — One of Idaho’s most high-profile murder cases is going to trial in Ada County.

Lori Vallow Daybell has already been transferred to the Ada County Jail and made a court appearance. On Monday, the jury selection process gets underway.

Formal voir dire questioning will start Monday, April 3 and only portions of the process will be viewed by the public and the media via a remote viewing room inside the courthouse. It could take several days for the 12-person jury to be finalized. There will also be six alternate jurors chosen.

It’s a complicated case with a lot of characters and a timeline spanning several years.

Lori Vallow Daybell mugshot

Lori Vallow Daybell was booked into the Ada County Jail on March 22, 2023 (Ada County Jail)

The eastern Idaho mom is accused of killing her two children — JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan — and conspiring to kill her husband’s previous wife — Tammy Daybell — in 2019, along with her husband Chad Daybell and her brother Alex Cox who died in December 2019.

Lori and Chad Daybell were set to stand trial together until March, when Judge Steven Boyce ruled to sever the cases at Chad Daybell’s repeated request. His attorney argued they would not be prepared for an April 3 trial after receiving new DNA evidence from the state.

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

Court TV has been following the story since December 2019. That’s when Rexburg Police first declared 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old JJ Vallow missing. JJ’s grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, asked for a welfare check that November after neither child had been seen or heard from since September.

Tylee Ryan was last seen September 8, 2019, when officials say she went to Yellowstone with Lori, JJ, and Alex Cox. Authorities believe she was killed around September 9.

(Left to Right) JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan & Alex Cox (FBI)

Authorities believe JJ Vallow was killed around September 22. He stopped showing up to school on September 23. Officials say Lori Vallow Daybell told school leaders he would be homeschooled. The family only moved to Idaho a few weeks early from Arizona.

Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell, died in her home on October 19, 2019. Prosecutors allege Chad increased her life insurance policy to the maximum amount on September 8. Her death was initially ruled to be from natural causes, but police later exhumed her body for an autopsy after learning Chad and Lori got married two weeks after Tammy’s death, and her children were missing.

In late January 2020, when Lori and Chad were still in Hawaii, police ordered the Idaho mom to produce her children within five days. She did not comply.

Lori Vallow Daybell was arrested in Hawaii on February 20, 2020, originally for desertion and non-support of dependent children, obstruction, and contempt of court for not complying with the court’s order. She was extradited to Idaho and booked into the Madison County Jail.

It wasn’t until June 2020 the children’s deaths were confirmed. On June 9, a search warrant served at Chad Daybell’s Salem property turned up two bodies buried at the family’s pet cemetery which were quickly confirmed to be JJ and Tylee.

Chad was arrested and initially charged with concealing evidence.

By the following May, a grand jury officially indicted the couple on murder charges. A few weeks later, on June 8, 2021, Lori was declared incompetent to stand trial and was committed to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, essentially putting the case on pause for almost a year.

Chad Daybell's property

In this aerial photo, investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell’s residence in the 200 block of 1900 east, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Salem, Idaho.  (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP)

On April 11, 2022, Lori was found competent to proceed. She was formally arraigned on murder charges and entered a not-guilty plea the following week.

In early May, 2022, prosecutors announced they would be seeking the death penalty in the case. Later that month, Judge Steve Boyce ruled the trials would be held together in Ada County in January 2023. The trial was later pushed back to April, and the cases were severed just a month before the trial was set to begin.

The defendant faced the death penalty up until mid-March when Judge Boyce ruled to take capital punishment off the table in response to the state’s delay in sharing discovery with the defense.

A jury will now just decide if Lori Vallow Daybell is guilty or not guilty of the charges held against her. The judge will determine her sentence. If found guilty, Vallow Daybell could face life in prison.

The trial is expected to last several weeks at the Ada County Courthouse. No cameras are allowed inside. Limited seating will be available in the courtroom and an overflow room, along with viewing at the Madison County Courthouse, via reservations.

No new trial date has been set for Chad Daybell.

This story was originally published March 27 by KIVI in Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.