Chad and Lori Daybell

A Mormon author and clairvoyant associated with a series of mysterious deaths and apocalyptic beliefs.

Chad Daybell’s story is intertwined with that of Lori Vallow, forming a complex narrative of religious extremism, apocalyptic prophecies, and a series of deaths that have captivated public attention. The couple, deeply embedded in what has been described as a doomsday cult, are charged with the murders of Lori’s two youngest children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, whose remains were found on Chad Daybell’s property in Rexburg, Idaho, in June 2020. This discovery was the culmination of a months-long search that began when the children were last seen alive in September 2019, shortly after moving from Arizona to Idaho, purportedly to be closer to Daybell.


Chad Guy Daybell, born on August 11, 1968, in Provo, Utah, was a seemingly ordinary man with a unique fascination with the end times. He attended Brigham Young University (BYU), where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, then worked as a copy editor for a local newspaper before eventually finding his passion in writing and self-publishing religious-themed books.

Daybell’s literary endeavors focused on apocalyptic scenarios and dystopian futures, often drawing inspiration from his own family. He claimed to have had two near-death experiences, which he believed allowed him to receive supernatural visions. These visions, according to Daybell, were not fictionalized but rather real events that would unfold in the future.

Chad Daybell’s religious beliefs became increasingly radicalized during the 2010s. He founded Spring Creek Book Company, through which he self-published his books and promoted the teachings of other authors who shared his apocalyptic worldview, attracting a niche audience of individuals concerned about the Second Coming of Christ.

Lori Vallow Daybell: A Troubled Past

Lori Norene Cox, later known as Lori Vallow Daybell, was born on June 26, 1973, in Loma Linda, California and later went through a series of tumultuous relationships and failed marriages. Lori’s first marriage, to her high school boyfriend Nelson Yanes, ended in divorce shortly after tying the knot. She then married William Lagioia in 1995, but that union also ended in divorce in 1998.

In 2001, Lori married Joseph Anthony Ryan Jr., who legally adopted her son from a previous relationship, Colby Ryan. The couple had a daughter, Tylee Ryan, in 2002, but their marriage was plagued by problems and ultimately ended in divorce in 2005. Tragically, Joseph Ryan passed away in 2018 from a heart attack.

Lori’s fourth marriage was to Charles Vallow, a lifelong Catholic who converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) for her. The couple adopted Charles’ grandnephew, Joshua Jaxon “J.J.” Vallow, in 2013. However, their marriage also faced significant challenges, and Charles filed for divorce in February 2019, citing threats to his life and the theft of their joint assets.

The Meeting of Chad and Lori

In 2018, Lori Vallow attended a conference called “Preparing a People,” where she first encountered Chad Daybell. Chad’s books had piqued Lori’s interest, and they struck up a conversation that would ultimately lead to a relationship. The two began communicating privately after the conference, and their connection quickly deepened. Lori’s husband, Charles Vallow, became increasingly worried about her behavior and the influence Chad seemed to have on her. In July 2019, Charles was shot and killed by Lori’s brother, Alexander Cox, who claimed self-defense.

The Disappearances of Tylee and J.J.

The disappearances of Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow are at the heart of the Chad Daybell saga. Tylee, born on September 24, 2002, and J.J., born on May 25, 2012, were last seen alive in September 2019. Tylee was last spotted at Yellowstone National Park on September 8, 2019, while J.J. was last seen on September 23, 2019, at his mother’s apartment in Rexburg, Idaho.

Concerns about the children’s welfare grew when Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell claimed that J.J. was staying with a family friend, Melanie Gibb, in Arizona. However, when questioned by the police, Gibb denied having J.J. in her custody. As the investigation unfolded, authorities discovered that Tylee was also missing. The authorities discovered that the couple had told friends and family members that the children had become “zombies,” a term they used to describe individuals possessed by evil spirits.

Suspicious Deaths and a Trail of Controversy

Amidst the disappearances of Tylee and J.J. were a series of suspicious deaths connected to Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow. In July 2019, Lori’s estranged fourth husband, Charles Vallow, was shot and killed by her brother, Alexander Cox, who claimed self-defense. Cox himself died in December 2019 due to a blood clot.

Another mysterious death occurred in October 2019 when Tammy Daybell, Chad’s wife, was attacked in her driveway. Initially recorded as “natural causes,” her death was later revealed to be a result of asphyxiation. Following Chad and Lori’s marriage, Tammy’s body was exhumed, and the autopsy confirmed foul play.

Arrests and conviction

The mounting evidence against Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow eventually led to their arrests and subsequent criminal charges. Lori was initially arrested in Kauai, Hawaii, on February 20, 2020, on charges of desertion and non-support of her children. She was extradited to Idaho and transported there on March 5, 2020.

In June 2020, law enforcement officials found the remains of Tylee and J.J. buried on Chad Daybell’s property in Fremont County, Idaho. The discovery confirmed the worst fears about the fate of the two children and led to the arrest of Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell on charges related to their deaths.

The couple faced multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence, and, later, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and grand theft in connection with the deaths of Tylee, J.J., and Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The trial of Lori Vallow Daybell began in May 2023 and concluded with her conviction on all criminal charges related to the killings of her children. On July 31, 2023, she was sentenced to consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Lori also faces additional charges in Arizona related to the death of Charles Vallow and the shooting of Brandon Boudreaux.

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