PHOENIX (AP) — A woman with bizarre doomsday beliefs that Idaho prosecutors say she and her husband used to justify the killings of her son and daughter was indicted in metro Phoenix on a charge of conspiring to murder her ex-husband.
In an indictment unveiled Tuesday, Lori Vallow Daybell was charged in the 2019 death of Charles Vallow, who was killed in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler months before his son, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and stepdaughter, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, went missing.
Police records show he was fatally shot by Daybell’s brother, Alexander Lamar Cox, when Charles Vallow was picking up his son from his estranged wife. The indictment says Daybell conspired with her brother in Vallow’s death.
Cox told police he killed Vallow in self-defense and wasn’t arrested. He died five months later from what medical examiners said was a pulmonary blood clot.
Lori Daybell is already at the center of a complicated criminal case in Idaho, where prosecutors allege she conspired with her new husband, Chad Daybell, to kill the two children and his late wife, Tammy Daybell. The couple hold apocalyptic religious beliefs that prosecutors claim they used to justify the killings.
Lori Daybell’s attorney in Idaho, Mark Means, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message and email from The Associated Press seeking comment.
That case against Lori Daybell is on hold while she undergoes treatment at a mental health facility. A judge had her committed this month after determining she wasn’t competent to assist in her defense. Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In the investigation of Charles Vallow’s death, Tylee told police that she confronted Vallow with a baseball bat after she was awakened by yelling outside her bedroom door. The teen girl said she was trying to defend her mother, but Vallow took away the bat, according to police records.
Police say Cox was at the home and intervened, leading to a confrontation where Vallow hit the back of Cox’s head with the bat. Cox told police that he then went to his bedroom, got his gun and demanded that Vallow leave.
Cox told police that he fired in self-defense after Vallow refused to drop the bat and came after him. In a police video, Cox told investigators that Lori Daybell and the two children had left the house shortly before the shooting occurred.
Four months before his death, Charles Vallow filed for divorce from his wife, alleging that she had become infatuated with near-death experiences and claimed to have lived numerous lives on other planets before her current life.
He also alleged his estranged wife threatened to financially ruin and kill him, according to court records, which noted that Charles Vallow sought an order of protection and a voluntary evaluation of his wife at a mental health facility.
After Vallow’s death, Lori Daybell and the children moved to Idaho, where Chad Daybell lived. He ran a small publishing company with his wife, Tammy Daybell, and released several of his own books — doomsday-focused fiction loosely based on the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Tammy Daybell died in October 2019, and her obituary said she died in her sleep of natural causes. But authorities grew suspicious when Chad Daybell married Lori Daybell just two weeks later. Authorities later exhumed Tammy Daybell’s body.
Police began searching for Tylee and JJ in November after relatives raised concerns. Police say the Daybells lied to investigators about the children's whereabouts before quietly leaving Idaho. Months later, they were found in Hawaii without the children, whose bodies were eventually found buried on Chad Daybell’s Idaho property.
Associated Press writer Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to say that the charges Lori Daybell faces in Idaho in the deaths of her children are conspiracy to murder charges, not murder charges.