‘It’s just pure evil’: Chad Daybell to ‘turn on’ Lori Vallow and pin the murders of her children and his first wife on the cult mom – as victim’s aunt says doomsday couple are the real zombies

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Chad Daybell is accused of orchestrating the murders of his ex-wife Tammy Daybell and Lori Vallow’s children, JJ and Tylee
  •  His trial has begun but a relative believes Daybell is planning to shift blame for the killings onto Vallow, who has already been convicted and sentenced 
  • The children disappeared in late 2019, with their remains found in Daybell’s backyard in 2020

‘Doomsday prophet’ Chad Daybell plans to lay the blame of the murders of  his wife, Lori Vallow’s children  JJ Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, squarely on her. 

Daybell’s 10-week trial began in Idaho on Wednesday with prosecutors alleging that he conspired to murder his ex-wife, Tammy Daybell, 49, as well as Vallow’s kids. All three are believed to have been killed in late 2019.

The tactic to shift blame suits Daybell with the so-called cult mom, Vallow, having already been tried separately for the killings, convicted of all counts last May and sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

The kids, JJ and Tylee, both disappeared within days of one another in September 2019 with their remains not being discovered in Daybell’s backyard in Rexburg, Idaho, until June 2020. 

Seventeen days after JJ was last seen alive, Tammy Daybell then died suddenly in her sleep.

Chad Daybell, 55, is accused of orchestrating the murders of his ex-wife Tammy Daybell and Lori Vallow’s children, JJ and Tylee

Last year, Lori Vallow Daybell, pictured here in February 2024, the mother of the deceased children, received a life sentence without parole for the killings

Last year, Lori Vallow Daybell, pictured here in February 2024, the mother of the deceased children, received a life sentence without parole for the killings 

16-year-old Tylee Ryan and her younger brother JJ, seven, (right) went missing in September 2019 and their bodies were discovered in June 2020 in her stepfather's backyard

16-year-old Tylee Ryan and her younger brother JJ, seven, (right) went missing in September 2019 and their bodies were discovered in June 2020 in her stepfather’s backyard

An aunt of JJ’s said she now believes Daybell will attempt to display his innocence by shifting the blame onto Vallow by describing her as someone who ensnared him into her twisted life. 

‘He’s been throwing her under the bus since all this started. I remember his attorney, at a preliminary hearing in August 2020 a month after the kids were found, he was referring to Lori as ‘Ms. Vallow’ and not Mrs. Daybell-Vallow or Mrs. Daybell, aside from the occasional slip-up,’ Kresha Easton told The Sun.

‘So he’s been trying to distance himself from her and back away for some time… But this idea of creating separation has become more and more apparent over the years while watching the court hearings, and hearing the arguments made by his attorneys. So I expect more of that in the weeks ahead.’

Easton believes there is no level to which Daybell won’t sink in order to clear his name.

‘There’s going to be a lot of denial and projection. I mean, whatever they are blaming and accusing other people of they’re actually guilty of themselves.

‘I mean, look at the whole zombie thing, light and dark. They were judging the light/darkness of other people but it was them who were allegedly doing nefarious and egregious crimes, especially against children and unsuspecting spouses,’ Easton explained.

‘With Tammy, she married Chad and committed her life to being his wife, to being a mother to their five children, and to picking up the slack on everything and being the breadwinner. She carried the entire family so he could go off and write his books.

Vallow denied murdering her children when she was convicted last year and said at her sentencing that she was not responsible for their deaths. Pictured: seven-year-old Joshua (JJ), left, and 16-year-old Tylee, right

Vallow denied murdering her children when she was convicted last year and said at her sentencing that she was not responsible for their deaths. Pictured: seven-year-old Joshua (JJ), left, and 16-year-old Tylee, right

In 2020, police discovered JJ and Tylee's remains in shallow graves in Chad Daybell's yard

In 2020, police discovered JJ and Tylee’s remains in shallow graves in Chad Daybell’s yard

‘There are stories from Tammy’s friends where I’ve been told, that a few weeks before she was murdered, the soles of her tennis shoes were worn so thin, almost through,’ Easton went on.

‘She was working her a** off while her husband, who was meant to be this priest, this godly person who’s elevated in their church, is texting Lori calling Tammy a warden and a dark spirit that needs to be vanquished.

‘It’s just pure evil. I’m just glad he’s in the hot seat now,’ Easton stated to The Sun.

‘I hope it’s really hot; I hope he wiggles and hisses – I’ve heard that’s what demons do once you back them into a corner.’

Daybell is accused of crafting an alternate reality so that he could fulfill ‘his desire for sex, money and power.’ 

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft. 

Nevertheless, Easton believes he will be found guilty verdict just as Vallow was.

‘I can’t wait for the moment they read out that guilty verdict,’ Easton said.

‘I just want to see the fall of Chad Daybell. And I want to see him to be seen as small as I see him when I look at him with my eyes. There’s no doubt in my mind he will be found guilty and I look forward to the day reality, accountability, and repercussions all come crashing down on him.

‘This is his judgment day.’

Vallow smirked in a mugshot taken in August after she was sentenced to life in an Idaho prison for murdering her children, JJ and Tylee

Vallow smirked in a mugshot taken in August after she was sentenced to life in an Idaho prison for murdering her children, JJ and Tylee

Lori Vallow Daybell stands and listens as the jury's verdict is read in May 2023

Lori Vallow Daybell stands and listens as the jury’s verdict is read in May 2023

Last year, Lori Vallow, the mother of the dead children, received a life sentence without parole for the killings.

Prosecutors say the couple justified the three killings by creating a detailed and apocalyptic belief system, part of an elaborate scheme to eliminate any obstacles to their relationship and to obtain money from survivor benefits and life insurance.

 Vallow referred to her two youngest kids as zombies, one friend testified during her trial.

‘The evidence will show that this was a convenient narrative,’ Wood told jurors. ‘This narrative gave them the pretext to remove people from this world for their own good.’

Vallow’s defense attorney John Prior presented a different picture to jurors – noting that Chad Daybell was a religious person but suggesting that his belief in things like premonitions were fairly mainstream. 

Prior also explained to jurors that Lori Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, had a violent history. He had previously been convicted of attacking Vallow’s third husband, and he shot and killed her fourth husband.

‘Whenever there was a problem with Lori Vallow, Alex Cox ran to the rescue,’ Prior said in opening statements.

Daybell’s attorney also argued that his client lived a normal, faith-focused life before he met Lori Vallow, who he said showered Daybell with attention. 

His legal team described her as a ‘beautiful, vivacious person’ who drew Daybell into an extramarital relationship.

In her court appearance in February, Vallow was seen wearing blush and lipstick with her dyed blond hair curled as she greeted the judge and her attorney

In her court appearance in February, Vallow was seen wearing blush and lipstick with her dyed blond hair curled as she greeted the judge and her attorney

Chad Daybell argued that his ex-wife was ill and died in her sleep, an autopsy found that she died of asphyxiation

Chad Daybell argued that his ex-wife was ill and died in her sleep, an autopsy found that she died of asphyxiation

Chad Daybell was a Mormon novelist who has written more than 20 apocalyptic and LDS novels

Chad Daybell was a Mormon novelist who has written more than 20 apocalyptic and LDS novels

Chad Daybell was a Mormon novelist who has written more than 20 apocalyptic and LDS novels

Daybell’s attorney also said he would present several experts in DNA, forensics and pathology who would testify that it’s impossible to determine what caused Tammy Daybell’s death and that none of Chad Daybell’s DNA was found with the children’s bodies. 

Some of Chad and Tammy Daybell’s adult children will also testify about how Tammy Daybell was suffering from a number of maladies but that she refused to see a doctor, instead treating her illnesses with herbs and oils at home.

Chad Daybell was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and self-published fiction loosely based on its teachings.

In fall 2019, prosecutors say he tried to fraudulently collect on his late wife’s life insurance policy, and Vallow continued to collect both children’s social security benefits after they died.

Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the trial is expected to take more than two months. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if Daybell is convicted. 

Daybell’s defense attorney John Prior did not return a phone message requesting comment. A judge has issued a gag order in the case, barring attorneys from talking to the media until the trial is over.

Tammy Daybell, who died mysteriously in her sleep in Idaho on October 19, 2019, is seen with her husband Chad Daybell in her Facebook photos

Tammy Daybell, who died mysteriously in her sleep in Idaho on October 19, 2019, is seen with her husband Chad Daybell in her Facebook photos

Tammy Daybell, who died mysteriously in her sleep in Idaho on October 19, 2019, is seen with her husband Chad Daybell in her Facebook photos

Tylee Ryan, 17,

Joshua Vallow, 7,

Tylee Ryan, 17, left, and Joshua Vallow, 7, were last seen in September 2019 in Rexburg, Idaho

The grim story began in the fall of 2019, when extended family members reported the two children missing and law enforcement officials launched a search that spanned several states. The subsequent investigation took several unexpected turns.

Vallow and Chad Daybell were having an affair when both of their spouses died unexpectedly, investigators said. 

Vallow´s husband was shot to death by her brother Alex Cox in Arizona in July 2019; the brother told police it was in self-defense.

Several months later, in October 2019, Tammy Daybell died. Chad Daybell initially told police she was battling an illness and died in her sleep, but an autopsy later determined she died of asphyxiation. 

Vallow and Chad Daybell married just two weeks after Tammy Daybell died, surprising family members and drawing suspicion from authorities.

Friends later told detectives that Vallow and Chad Daybell believed they had been reincarnated and were tasked with gathering people before a biblical apocalypse.

Wood said Chad Daybell described both children as being possessed before they disappeared, and that he repeatedly predicted to friends that Tammy Daybell would soon die.

The bodies of the children were eventually found buried on Chad Daybell’s property. Tylee Ryan’s remains had been dismembered and burned, and JJ’s remains were bound.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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