Lori Vallow Daybell —'Doomsday' Cult Mom — Found Unfit To Stand Trial

Photo: Rexburg Police Department
Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell

In the latest update on the case of "Doomsday" cult mom Lori Vallow Daybell, a psychological assessment has found her unfit to stand trial for the murders of her children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua "JJ" Vallow, and husband Chad Daybell's ex-wife, Tammy Daybell.

On Tuesday, May 25 — which would have been JJ's 9th birthday — a grand jury indicted Lori and Chad on first-degree murder charges for the deaths of Tylee and Ryan, as well as three counts of conspiracy to commit murder. Chad was also charged with first-degree murder in Tammy's death.

The two are also facing theft and insurance fraud charges, and Vallow Daybell may be charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in Arizona in relation to the death of her former husband, Charles Vallow.

But... the trial was put on hold just days later, when the results of Vallow's psychological evaluation were returned.

Why was Lori Vallow Daybell found unfit to stand trial for murder?

According to the East Idaho News, which obtained the documents with the results of the assessment, District Judge Steven Boyce issued a stay on the case based on the findings of the licensed clinical psychologist who performed a psychological evaluation at the request of the Daybells' defense attorney, Mark Means.

The document states, "The completed assessment determined that at this time, the Defendant is not competent to proceed, and recommends restorative treatment."

Prosecutors initially contested the findings, but today that was withdrawn, with the prosecution saying the state "would not object to a medical physician’s evaluation."

Prosecutor Rob Wood stated, "Based upon said review, the state withdraws its contest to the ... evaluation/report and does not object to the court's determination of competency on the basis of the evaluation/report ... The state further does not object to a medical physician's evaluation and diagnosis of the defendant with a corresponding treatment plan for the purpose of restoring the defendant's competence."

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Who is Lori Vallow Daybell and what did she do?

Vallow wasn't always known as "Mommy Doomsday."

A lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Lori was married four times before Chad.

She first married her high school sweetheart William in 1992. She married William in 1995 and had her oldest child, Colby in 1996. She married Joseph Ryan in 2001 and had Tylee shortly after.

She later accused Joseph of abusing her children. In an interview with Dateline, Colby alleged that Joseph Ryan had sexually assaulted him.

In 2006, Lori married Charles Vallow. Together, they adopted J.J., Charles' nephew.

By all accounts, the family was happy until Lori became interested in a new religious group, as well as an author named Chad Daybell. Yes, that Chad Daybell.

Daybell wrote dystopian apocalyptic books that he said were based in truth.

"The short answer is that I don't fictionalize any of the events portrayed. I'm really not that creative," he wrote in his autobiography. "My torn veil allows information to be downloaded into my brain from the other side. The scenes I am shown are real events that will happen."

Lori became interested in Chad's writing and teachings and it turned into an obsession.

According to divorce paperwork filed by Lori's ex-husband Charles Vallow, Lori believed she was a god, and that Christ's second coming would occur in July 2020.

She was "receiving spiritual revelations and visions to help her gather and prepare those chosen to live in the New Jerusalem after the Great War as prophesied in the Book of Revelations."

Essentially, Chad and Lori believed 144,000 people would survive the apocalypse. She would tell her friends that they were among the chosen.

With her godly powers, she was, as she told Charles in a phone call, a "translated being who cannot taste death sent by God to lead the 144,000 into the Millennium."

Charles called the police on Lori after she threatened him with murder.

On police body camera, Charles can be heard saying, "She said, 'You're not Charles. I don't know who you are or what you did with Charles but I could murder you now with my powers. She won't go to the doctor because she's a translated being and they would find out she's translated. She cannot be killed. She cannot die."

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How many people around Lori Vallow Daybell have died?

Death and tragedy seems to follow Lori and her family, much of it involving her brother, Alex Cox.

In 2007, following the allegations of abuse against Joseph Ryan, Cox attacked Ryan with a taser. He served three months in jail for the assault.

According to ABC 7, Lori's friend April Raymond said that Cox, "kind of took it upon himself to protect Tylee and Colby, and that he had attempted to take Joe's life."

In 2018, Ryan died of a heart attack.

On July 11, 2019, Charles Vallow went to Lori's home to pick up J.J. to take him to school. During the hand-off, an altercation broke out between Charles and Cox, and Cox shot and killed him.

In the minutes following the shooting, Lori had left with J.J. and Tylee to take the children to Burger King for breakfast and to take J.J. to school. Police found this strange. Lori told police it was an effort to keep J.J. on his daily routine as he had autism.

Det. Nathan Moffat told ABC 7, "The odd part about it would be the complete lack of emotion. It was pretty nonchalant. Lori had a big smile on her face."

No one was arrested as Cox alleged self-defense.

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On October 19, 2019, Tammy Daybell died in her sleep. The cause of death was listed as "natural causes." She was 49 years old.

On December 12, 2019, Alex Cox collapsed in his home. The cause of death was determined to be "natural causes." He was 51 years old.

What happened to Tylee and J.J.?

In September of 2019, the family, Cox included, moved to Idaho to be closer to Chad Daybell. Lori and Cox took Tylee and J.J. to Yellowstone National Park on September 8, 2019. This was the last time anyone saw Tylee alive.

J.J. was last seen on September 22. His grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, Charles Vallow's parents, made attempts to reach him and were ignored by Lori.

On November 5, 2019, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell were married on the island of Kauai. The two wore rings purchased using Charles Vallow's Amazon account — two weeks before Tammy Daybell was found dead.

Rexburg, Idaho police performed a welfare check at the behest of Kay Woodcock, and were told by Cox that J.J. was with... Kay Woodcock.

Lori then told police that J.J. was with her friend Melanie Gibb in Arizona. Lori contacted Gibb to corroborate the story, which Gibb refused.

Lori and Chad then went back to Hawaii.

On December 20, 2019, the FBI announced Tylee and J.J. as missing endangered children. A month later, Lori was ordered to "physically produce" the children. She and Chad were still in Hawaii and did not respond to the demand.

On February 20, 2020, Lori was arrested and charged with two felony counts of child desertion.

Finally, on June 9, 2020, using a forensic search of Alex Cox's phone, police located the bodies of Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow on Chad Daybell's property.

"They removed some top soil that was underneath the sod, which revealed three white rocks," Rexburg Det. Ray Hermosillo said. "Underneath the white rocks was some thin wood paneling... As soon as they removed the wood paneling, I could smell the odor of a decomposing body. It was a small body tightly wrapped in black plastic, covered in duct tape."

Police then arrested Chad Daybell.

The two were charged in connection with the children's disappearance at that time, but due to the pandemic, murder charges were not brought before a grand jury until now.

Chad Daybell is scheduled for arraignment on June 9.

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Courtney Enlow is Editor of Pop Culture and Good News at YourTango. Her work has appeared at Vanity Fair, Glamour, Pajiba, SYFY FANGRRLS, Bustle, Huffington Post, io9, and others. She is the former co-host of the podcasts Trends Like These and Strong Female Characters.