Who’s who in the Doomsday Cult Mom Murder Trial

Posted at 8:18 PM, May 3, 2023 and last updated 9:07 PM, May 5, 2023


BOISE, Idaho (Court TV) – As Lori Vallow Daybell stands trial for the murder of her two youngest children and conspiring to kill her husband’s first wife, the witnesses who take the stand have offered a clearer look at the people who made up the family’s inner circle.

Here is a look at who’s who in the trial:

Lori Vallow Daybell, Defendant

Lori Vallow Daybell was born to Janis and Barry Cox on June 26, 1973. She was the middle of five children, including her older brother, Alex Cox.

Lori was married five times, with her first marriage to her high school sweetheart when she was just 19, the Associated Press reported. Lori married Nelson Yanes in 1992, and divorced shortly thereafter.

courtroom sketch shows Lori Vallow Daybell sitting between her attorneys.

This April 14 courtroom sketch shows Lori Vallow Daybell sitting between her attorneys. (Lisa Cheney)

Lori’s second marriage was to William Lagioia on Oct. 22, 1995. She would give birth to a son, Colby, before divorcing Lagioia on Feb. 25, 1998, according to the AP.

In 2001, Lori married Joseph Ryan in Hawaii, though they lived together in Texas at the time. On Sept. 24, 2002, Lori gave birth to Tylee Ryan. Lori and Joseph divorced on May 18, 2005.

WATCH: Lori Vallow Daybell: From Beauty Contestant to Accused Murderer

Lori married her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, on Feb. 24, 2006 in Las Vegas. In 2013, the couple adopted JJ from Charles’ sister and her husband, Kay and Larry Woodcock, who were JJ’s grandparents. In an interview with Court TV, Kay Woodcock said that Lori’s marriage history was the source of jokes between the two women.

In 2016, Lori and Charles moved to Arizona, where they settled down with Tylee and JJ.

Charles filed for divorce from Lori on Feb. 8, 2019, months before he was shot and killed by Lori’s older brother, Alex Cox, on July 11, 2019. When he filed for divorce, Charles indicated he was concerned about Lori’s mental health, according to East Idaho News managing editor Nate Sunderland.

Lori married Chad Daybell shortly after Charles’ death, on Nov. 5, 2019. The two are accused of running a ‘Doomsday Cult,’ stealing Social Security benefits from Lori’s children, killing JJ and Tylee, as well as Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.

Lori was a beautician by trade, according to the AP, but prosecutors say she stopped working and began stealing Social Security benefits to fund her lifestyle.

Chad Daybell, Defendant

Chad Daybell was a member of the LDS church and a self-published author of doomsday-focused fiction. Chad is charged alongside Lori, but had his case severed from his wife’s.

Chad married his first wife, Tammy, on March 9, 1990. The two would have five children together, the AP reported.

Chad Daybell sits during a court hearing

FILE – Chad Daybell sits during a court hearing on Aug. 4, 2020, in St. Anthony, Idaho. An Idaho judge has banned cameras from the courtroom in the high-profile triple murder case against a mom and her new husband, saying he fears the images could prevent a fair trial. Lori Vallow Daybell and her new husband Chad Daybell are accused of conspiring together to kill her two children and his late wife. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)

While in college, Chad worked part-time at The Evergreen Cemetery and later was hired as a cemetery sexton.

In 2004, Chad and Tammy founded the Spring Creek Book Company, with Tammy serving as Chief Financial Officer. The book company served as publisher for Chad’s writing.

READ MORE: Chad Daybell: Murder defendant…or prolific author?

Prosecutors say Chad met Lori at a 2018 conference in Utah, where the two felt an “instant connection,” the AP reported. Friends of the couple who witnessed their meeting said the two claimed they had been married in past lives.

Chad preached about a light and dark scale for followers and claimed that zombies were able to possess a person’s body. Chad claimed that the only way to get rid of a zombie was to destroy a person’s body, the AP reported.

Tammy Daybell, Victim

Tammy grew up in Pasadena, California, before moving to Springville, Utah at 13. She attended Brigham Young University, where she met Chad Daybell.

On Oct. 9, 2019, prosecutors say a man dressed in black clothing with a ski mask pointed a gun at Tammy and shot at her multiple times while she was standing in front of her house. In a police report filed at the time, investigators said that Chad organized the shooting. Tammy was not injured.

MORE: A Look at the Death of Tammy Daybell

Ten days later, Tammy was found dead in her Rexburg, Idaho, home. She was buried without an autopsy, but her body was exhumed after investigators found out Chad had increased her life insurance policy prior to her death.

Prosecutors revealed in opening statements during Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial that Tammy Daybell died of asphyxiation. In an interview with CBS News’ 48 Hours, Daybell’s children revealed that investigators had told them the same thing.

Tylee Ryan, Victim

Tylee Ryan was born Sept. 24, 2002, to Lori and Joseph Ryan. Tylee grew up living with Colby, Lori’s son from a previous marriage, whom her father Joseph Ryan eventually adopted.

When her parents divorced, Tylee lived with Lori and her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. When her little brother JJ was adopted, she was very active in his care, her brother Colby testified during his mother’s trial.

MORE: Doomsday Cult Mom Trial: Remembering Tylee and JJ

Tylee was a teenager in 2015 when the first references to her being a zombie were made, Lori’s friend Melanie Gibb told police. This was approximately the same time that Lori began reading books by Chad Daybell, according to Gibb’s testimony.

In January 2019, Charles Vallow reported to police that Lori believed Tylee was a zombie. As her marriage with Charles Vallow crumbled, Lori moved Tylee and JJ from Arizona to Rexburg, Idaho.

On Sept. 19, 2019, Lori and her children took a day trip to Yellowstone National Park with her brother, Alex Cox. Photos from their trip were entered into evidence as some of the last showing Tylee and JJ alive. It was the last time anyone saw Tylee Ryan alive.

Tylee’s remains were found with those of her brother, JJ, buried on Chad Daybell’s property.

JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan

This photo provided by the FBI shows Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow. (FBI)

JJ Vallow, Victim

JJ Vallow was born on May 25, 2012, and was placed into the custody of his grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock. Court TV has been unable to determine who JJ’s biological parents are.

In an affidavit of probable cause following the deadly shooting of Charles Vallow, detectives said that JJ was about to start an individual education plan (IEP) to address his autism at a Rexburg elementary school. He was enrolled to begin in September 2019.

RELATED: Detective Details Autopsy of JJ Vallow

Sept. 22, 2019, is the last time Melanie Gibb and her boyfriend, David Warwick, saw JJ. During a conversation at the time, Lori allegedly told Gibb that JJ had been sitting still and increasing his vocabulary, which she took as signs that the child loved Satan and had been possessed.

Warwick testified about the last time he saw JJ was asleep in Alex Cox’s arms. According to Warwick, Lori called Alex to come get JJ after she caught him climbing the cabinets and knocking over her statue of Christ. There were no confirmed sightings of him alive after that point.

JJ’s remains were found wrapped in black plastic and buried in Chad Daybell’s backyard with those of his sister, Tylee.

Charles Vallow

Charles Vallow, Lori’s ex-husband, died after he was shot by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, on July 11, 2019.

Charles adopted JJ with Lori from his sister, Kay Woodcock, who was JJ’s biological grandmother. In 2014, Charles, Lori and their family moved to Hawaii, where they maintained a small business in Kauai. Two years later, they returned to Arizona with the kids.

Sketch shows family of Charles Vallow and Tammy Daybell in court

The families of Charles Vallow and Tammy Daybell attend the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell. (Sketch by Lisa Cheney)

On Jan. 30, 2019, Charles called the police on his way home to tell them that he was concerned about a radical shift in Lori’s behavior. According to the police report, he told officers that he was concerned she was having a mental breakdown, that Lori said she believed the second coming of Christ was near and that she was supposed to lead The 144,000 into the Millennium.

RELATED: Doomsday Cult Mom Trial: Who Was Charles Vallow?

When Charles arrived home that night, he found his truck was missing and his bank account had been drained, according to police reports. One week later, he filed for divorce from Lori.

On July 11, 2019, Chandler, Arizona, police were called to Lori’s home, which was rented and paid for by Charles Vallow. Police said they determined through interviews that Charles had arrived prior to 7:50 a.m. to take JJ to school. After placing his son in the car, Charles went back into the house where he began to argue with Lori.

Police said that during the argument, Tylee appeared with a baseball bat. Alex Cox then appeared and said Charles hit him over the head with a bat. Lori, worried about her children, sent Tylee to be with JJ.

Alex told police that after he was hit in the head, he retrieved a gun from his bedroom and shot Charles Vallow in self-defense.

In a probable cause statement from the Chandler Police Department, investigators said no emergency aid was done for Charles, and he was left bleeding on the floor for approximately 43 minutes before calling 911.

On June 29, 2021, a grand jury indicted Lori on the charge of conspiracy to commit murder for the death of her husband.

Alex Cox, Suspect

Alex Cox, Lori’s oldest brother, was born on May 4, 1970. According to his widow, he was employed as a truck driver before his death.

Though Alex Cox admitted he had shot Charles Vallow, he maintained he had done so in self-defense. In recorded interviews with police, Alex told investigators that Charles had attacked him with a bat before he grabbed a gun and shot him. While evidence discovered at the scene would dispute his account, Alex died before charges could be filed.

Investigators have suggested Alex may have been the gunman who unsuccessfully fired shots at Tammy Daybell on Oct. 9, 2019.

RELATED: Evidence Recording: Chad Daybell ‘Blesses’ Alex Cox

Alex met Zulema Pastenes in 2018 and after approximately one year of dating, eloped in Las Vegas.

On Dec. 12, 2019, Zulema said she got a text from a friend saying they had given Alex a blessing and had noticed he wasn’t well. Zulema’s son, Joseph, found Alex vomiting in the master bathroom and called 911.

Alex was taken to the hospital, where he later died. In an autopsy, doctors said there were no obvious signs of trauma and listed the death as caused by bilateral pulmonary thromboembolism and hypertensive cardiovascular disease. The death was determined to be from natural causes.

Zulema Pastenes

Zulema Pastenes married Alex Cox approximately two weeks before his death. After a whirlwind courtship, the two eloped in Las Vegas on Nov. 29, 2019.

Zulema testified that she was part of Chad and Lori’s inner circle, and participated in “castings” on people who had supposedly been possessed by evil spirits and were zombies.

Pastenes testified that she no longer believes in the castings.

Colby Ryan

Born on April 8, 1996, Colby Ryan is Lori Vallow Daybell’s only surviving child. Fathered by William Lagioia, Colby took his stepfather’s last name.

Colby was emotional when he testified at his mother’s trial, describing his childhood as happy.

Colby no longer lived in the family home when his siblings disappeared, but said in testimony that he continued to exchange texts with Tylee.

This Sept. 4, 2022, booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office shows Colby Ryan, the son of Lori Vallow. Ryan is accused of sexually assaulting a woman. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

LISTEN: Colby Ryan and Lori Vallow Daybell’s Jail Phone Call

In a recorded phone call while his mother was in jail, Colby can be heard calling his mother a murderer and calling her out for lies she had told him.

On Sept. 3, 2022, Colby was charged with sexual assault for an alleged incident on Aug. 31, when a woman said he raped her. The charges were dropped on Sept. 14.

Kay and Larry Woodcock

Kay Woodcock was Charles Vallow’s sister, and grandmother to JJ Vallow.

Kay and her husband, Larry, called the police in Idaho to check on JJ in November 2019 when their regular phone calls and contact with the child ended.

WATCH: Doomsday Couple Case: JJ Vallow’s Grandparents Speak to Court TV

Kay was the first witness to be called in Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial, and she testified that Lori was initially a good mother. She said JJ was born with some disabilities and had been diagnosed with autism and that after her brother’s death, she was concerned that Lori no longer wanted her son.

“We were so worried about JJ, and did he see what happened to his dad,” Kay Woodcock testified.

Melanie Gibb and David Warwick

Melanie Gibb was one of Lori’s closest friends and a part of her and Chad’s inner circle. In Lori’s trial, Melanie testified she took part in castings and may have been one of the last people to see JJ alive.

Melanie testified that she had been visiting Lori with her boyfriend, David Warwick when Alex Cox took JJ from Lori’s home to his own because the child had been acting up.

Sketch of Melanie Gibb testifying in Lori Vallow Daybell's trial

This courtroom sketch shows Melanie Gibb testifying in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial Thursday, April 13, 2023. (Lisa C. Cheney)

Lori gave police Melanie’s name when she was asked where JJ was, and Melanie eventually told officers that she did not have the child, and that he had not been left in her care. In a recorded phone call, Melanie confronted Lori and asked where JJ was, but Lori would only say that he was “safe” and “happy.”

Melanie Pawlowski and Brandon Boudreaux

Melanie is Lori’s niece, the daughter of Lori’s sister Stacey Cox Cope. Melanie was married to Brandon Boudreaux. She was very close to her aunt.

In June 2019, Melanie confronted Brandon, accusing him of being “gay” and using drugs. Brandon suggested she seek a mental evaluation. The couple filed for divorce in July 2019.

According to police reports, Lori, Chad and Alex were having conversations with Melanie about Brandon, where they said he had a “dark” soul. Beginning Sept. 25, 2019, police allege the group began to plot Brandon’s murder.

Investigators believe the group modified the then-deceased Charles Vallow’s Jeep by tinting the windows and removing the backseat and then using it in an attempt on Brandon’s life.

Brandon testified in Lori’s trial that when he arrived home from the gym on Oct. 2, 2019, he saw the Jeep. Brandon said that Alex rolled down the back window of the vehicle, pointed a gun in Brandon’s direction, and fired. Brandon was not hurt.

Lori and Chad were charged with attempted first-degree murder for the incident. Alex would have been charged but died before the charges were filed. Melanie was not charged.

Melanie married Ian Pawlowski on Nov. 30, 2019.

April Raymond

April Raymond lived in Hawaii and taught scriptures at Sunday School with Lori.

On the witness stand in Lori’s trial, Raymond testified that she met Lori at a branch of the LDS church in Hawaii. April said that Lori talked to her about her divorce from Charles and claimed that Charles had been possessed by a spirit named “Ned Snyder.”

WATCH: Friend: Lori Vallow Daybell Made Troubling Statements

April testified that she believed that Lori was “subtly grooming” her during a 2019 trip where Lori was pushing her belief system. April also testified that Lori told her that she was “done” with JJ.

April testified that she was not interested in joining Lori’s group, and began to distance herself.

Sarena Sharpe

Sarena Sharpe was friends with Lori Vallow Daybell and was mentioned by both Melanie Gibb and Zulema Pastenes during testimony as being involved in the group’s castings.

In a recorded interview with police, Sarena told police that she met Lori, Chad and Melanie at a conference. She said that Lori talked to her about things that were not part of LDS teachings and that she believed them at the time.

Samantha Gwilliam

Samantha Gwilliam is Tammy Daybell’s only sister. Samantha testified in court that Tammy’s funeral happened so quickly that some family members couldn’t attend, and that she was devastated to learn that Chad had quickly remarried after Tammy’s death.

Courtroom sketch of Samantha Gwilliam

Samantha Gilliam testifies in court on April 28, 2023. (Sketch by Lisa Cheney)

READ MORE: Tammy Daybell’s sister testifies in Lori Vallow Daybell trial

Gwilliam testified, “Eventually the last conversation I had with Chad was in December,” of 2019, the AP reported. “It was just to ask him to stop lying about what was going on.”

Alice and Todd Gilbert

Alice and Todd Gilbert were Chad Daybell’s neighbors and lived down the street from him and Tammy. The couple testified that they noticed changes in Chad’s behavior in 2019, and said that Chad had told them individually that he had a vision that Tammy would die before she turned 50.

RELATED: Neighbors Describe Chad Daybell’s Behavior After Tammy’s Death

Alice and Todd testified that they met Lori approximately one week after Tammy’s death, and they were made uncomfortable by the level of affection she and Chad displayed.

Audrey Barattiero

Audrey Barattiero was a follower of Chad‘s who first met him at an event in St. George, where she learned he was an author and purchased some of his books.

Audrey testified in Lori’s trial that she became friends with Lori and stayed with her on multiple occasions. Audrey said that she became uncomfortable when she was asked to take part in castings, and when she went to leave Lori’s home, Lori threatened her. Audrey testified that she went to pack her bags to leave, and she asked Lori if anything weird was going on. Lori said ‘No, what do you mean,’ and when Audrey turned to go up the stairs she said that Lori began to laugh and said, “You’re so naive.”

Sketch of Audrey Barattiero testifying against Lori Vallow Daybell.

Audrey Barattiero testified in the trial of Lori Vallow Daybelll on May 3, 2023. (Sketch by Lisa Cheney)

MORE: Former Friend: Lori Vallow Daybell Threatened to Kill Me

Audrey said that Lori then threatened to kill her. “She said that she would cut me up and something about that she wasn’t in the mental place to do that. … Something about trash bags and then she would bury me.”

Court TV senior field producer Emanuella Grinberg and Court TV staff contributed to this report.