The frightening doomsday plot that has shocked the country for the past three years resulted in the conviction of “cult mom” Lori Vallow for the murders of her two youngest children and the conspiracy to kill the first wife of her new husband Chad Daybell.
In Ada County Court in Boise, Idaho, on Friday, the 49-year-old mother of three was found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to conduct first-degree murder, and grand theft in connection with the deaths of her son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and daughter Tylee Ryan, 16.
She was also convicted guilty of first-degree murder conspiracy in the 49-year-old Tammy Daybell’s death.
In a black suit, Vallow stood between her two attorneys as the verdict was announced, her blonde hair falling in waves about her shoulders.
When she found out that the jury had found her guilty on all six charges, ensuring a lifetime behind bars, she exhibited no expression or hint of emotion.
She will receive her punishment in about 90 days.
Larry and Kay Woodcock, JJ’s grandparents, broke down in tears as they spoke to media outside the courthouse following the announcement of the decision and conveyed a strong message to their grandson’s assassin.
“My final message for Lori,” said Mr Woodcock, before breaking into the song “The party’s over” – a song that he and JJ used to sing together.
“Turn out the lights, the party’s over. They say that all good things must end,” he sang.
He then paused and addressed Vallow, saying: “Lori it ended.”
JJ’s uncle Gerry Vallow also chimed in: “They got the b^^ch.”
Mr. Woodcock vowed that the mother-of-three’s conviction “is not the end of this” because the family would attend her sentencing in about 90 days and that they would continue to fight for justice because Mr. Daybell is scheduled to go on trial the following year and because Vallow is awaiting trial for the Arizona slaying of Charles Vallow.
The Woodcocks, who first reported the missing children in 2019, have been present every day of the woman now convicted of killing their seven-year-old grandson’s murder trial. There, they have heard heartbreaking testimony about the boy’s final moments alive and seen graphic images of his remains buried on Mr. Daybell’s property.
Mr. Woodcock grieved and addressed his slain grandchild directly: “JJ, I love you. Papa wishes you were here in other circumstances. Tylee, papa loves you.
“Tammy, I never met you. Tammy you are part of our lives. I am sorry for what happened to you, my heart hurts for these three. This is what this has been all about from the very get go.
“It started with two children missing. I stood up and I said ‘where are the children, where are the children, where are the children? Give us back our children.”
To Vallow, he questioned: “Why Lori? Why Lori? Why? For power, sex and greed? For what? For what?”
All of the jurors, “meticulous” prosecutors, and law enforcement personnel who worked on the case were commended by Mr. Woodcock, who also acknowledged that some of the photos that people had “seen in this case… maybe some people will never unsee” had been made public.
In addition, the prosecution praised the decision and vowed to “pursue justice for Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow, and Tammy Daybell.”
“We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict, and we want to thank them, as well as the alternates, for their service over last six weeks during this trial,” the statement read.
“Given the pending case against the co-defendant, we are unable to conduct any additional interviews or discuss further details of this matter. We want to assure each of you that we remain committed to pursuing justice for Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow and Tammy Daybell.
“We also want to express sincere appreciation to the many members of law enforcement and the community who tirelessly worked together to hold Lori Vallow Daybell accountable.”
Back in September 2019, JJ and Tylee vanished without a trace, and their mother steadfastly refused to give any information on them to either the police or the children’s frantic family members.
Tammy, a 49-year-old woman in apparently good health, also passed away unexpectedly a month later. At first, it was determined that she died naturally.
The strange string of deaths and disappearances occurred only a few months after Charles Vallow, Vallow’s fourth spouse, was fatally shot in Arizona by Vallow’s brother Alex Cox in July 2019.
After the Vallow children and both of their wives had been taken care of, she and Mr. Daybell started a new life together by traveling to Hawaii to tie the knot in a dreamy beach ceremony.
However, as the months went by following the disappearance of Vallow’s children, worries grew, leading the authorities to exhume Tammy’s remains. Her asphyxiation-related death was discovered by a subsequent autopsy.
Nine months after they were last seen alive, in June 2020, Tylee and JJ’s bodies were discovered buried on Mr. Daybell’s farm in Rexburg, Idaho.
JJ, who had autism, had been suffocated, his little body still in a set of red pajamas, with a plastic bag stapled over his face. Tylee’s dismembered, burnt bones and body parts were discovered spread throughout the dirt at Mr. Daybell’s pet cemetery, making it hard to determine the exact cause of death.
After a grueling six-week trial in which the jury heard harrowing details about the doomsday mom’s path of deadly destruction and was shown graphic images of the murdered children’s remains, they took almost seven hours to find Vallow guilty on all charges over the three murders.
The prosecution presented evidence from more than 60 witnesses to show that Vallow’s plot to murder the three victims with the help of her brother Cox and him was inspired not only by her doomsday cult beliefs but also by her lust for Mr. Daybell and her desire for money.
The defense stunned the court on Tuesday when Vallow’s counsel stated they would not present any defense case or call any witnesses, opening the door for closing arguments to start earlier than expected. This decision may now have proved deadly.
Prosecutors contended that Ms. Vallow had been motivated to kill the three victims by “money, power, and sex” during final statements on Thursday.
When Ms. Vallow and Mr. Daybell first met, they were both married and starting an affair. They did so during a religious conference in October 2018.
Their love for one another developed as did their cult convictions and murderous plot.
The doomsday pair told the jury that they had a “rating system of light and dark” for the spirits of everyone around them and that they were on a holy mission to gather the 144,000.
Ms. Vallow is accused of having informed acquaintances that JJ and Tylee had transformed into “demons” in the weeks and months prior to the murders.
According to the prosecution, Ms. Vallow used these convictions to “justify” the killings of her children and a romantic rival.
The three alleged accomplices’ stash of burner phones, Cox’s practice at a shooting range prior to a failed attempt on Tammy’s life, and a deliberate plan for Ms. Vallow to be in Hawaii at the time of Tammy’s murder were among the evidence used by the state to support their claim that the murders were “premeditated” and “planned.”
Then, Ms. Vallow allegedly changed their Social Security payments so that the money would be sent into her account days before each child was slain.
Ms. Vallow was the mastermind of the homicidal scheme, according to prosecutor Rob Wood, who also said that she “groomed” and “manipulated” Mr. Daybell and Cox into carrying out the killings.
“They used religion as a tool to manipulate others. Lori manipulated Alex Cox through religion,” he said.
“She manipulated Chad through emotional and sexual control.”
Ms Vallow was the “one common thread” tying all the suspects and killings together, he said.
Ms. Vallow’s attorneys, in contrast, claimed that she was Mr. Daybell’s “follower” rather than the leader of the group during the defense’s closing argument.
In what was the first time in the nearly three years it took for the case to go to trial, Ms. Vallow betrayed her boyfriend. Her counsel, Jim Archibald, attempted to portray her as a devout “good mom” whose life abruptly fell apart when she met Mr. Daybell.
“One year after meeting Chad, four people are dead,” said Mr Archibald.
According to the defense attorney, Ms. Vallow was “under the control” of the apocalyptic writer and was swayed by the “craziness” of his cult ideas.
The defense attorney went on to explain that there was no evidence linking Ms. Vallow to the location of the three murders or to Mr. Daybell’s property when the children were buried there, laying the responsibility for Tylee and JJ’s deaths entirely on Mr. Daybell and Cox.
Ultimately, the 12 jurors were divided and came to the conclusion that Vallow had murdered her children and plotted the death of her lover rival.
The suspected killers’ accomplices have not yet been brought to justice.
Vallow and Mr. Daybell were scheduled to go on trial together, but the cases were dismissed weeks in advance of her appearance.
He will now go on trial for the three murders in 2024.
In the meantime, the third person in the case who has been named as a co-conspirator by state prosecutors will never get his day in court.
Cox passed away unexpectedly on December 11, 2019, just hours after Tammy’s body had been exhumed. He was 51 years old. With evidence of a blood clot lodged in his lungs’ arteries, his death was also determined to be from natural causes. Narcan, a medication used to treat overdoses, was also discovered in his system.
The case against Vallow for plotting to kill Charles Vallow with Cox is still pending in Arizona, so her legal issues are still far from ended.