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Probable cause statement sheds light on new Lori Vallow charges

Jul 1, 2021, 9:28 PM
Lori Vallow Daybell probable cause statement...
FILE - In this March 6, 2020, file photo, Lori Vallow Daybell glances at the camera during her hearing, with her defense attorney, Edwina Elcox, right, in Rexburg, Idaho. Attorneys for Vallow Daybell asked an Idaho judge on Tuesday to separate two conspiracy counts against her. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)
(John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — The release of a probable cause statement in new charges filed against Lori Vallow sheds new light on the allegations against her related to the death of her fourth husband. 

Lori Vallow faces murder charges in Idaho related to the deaths of her children, Tylee Ryan, 17, and JJ Vallow, 7, whose bodies were found in a search of property belonging to her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, last summer.  A judge recently found her incompetent to stand trial; she is being held in a mental health facility in Idaho. 

Related: A timeline of the missing Idaho children

This week, Arizona authorities announced charges of conspiracy to commit murder against Lori Vallow. That charge comes from the 2019 death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Chandler police released the probable cause statement to KSL TV’s Garna Mejia on Thursday. 

The document details the events of July 11, 2019, when Lori Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, shot her husband, Charles Vallow. At the time, Cox called 911 to report he shot Charles Vallow in self-defense. 

Lori Vallow: Timeline problems and bullet trajectory

The probable cause statement reveals police noticed several concerns about the shooting. Among them: a bullet strike near the body, and “concern regarding the timeline of events that came to light in the days following the homicide.”

“None of these concerns would immediately provide probable cause for the arrest of anyone present at the time of the murder and more investigation was necessary,” they wrote. 

After Charles Vallow’s death, police discovered Lori Vallow took his rental car and cell phone to Burger King, then to Walgreens, details verified by the phone’s GPS. While those events took place at 7:49, according to police, Cox’s 911 call reporting the shooting did not take place until 8:32. Between those time points, Cox and Lori Vallow spoke via phone. 

“Based on this timeline, Charles [redacted] would have laid dead or dying for approximately 43 minutes before Alex called 911,” the document stated. 

Police said Cox’s description of the shooting conflicted with the autopsy report. Cox told police he shot Charles Vallow twice in the chest as he stood. However, the autopsy report found at least one of the shots entered below his rib cage and exited through his shoulder, leaving a mark on the floor.

“This angle would indicate that Charles was already laying on the floor when this second shot was fired,” they wrote. 

Probable cause statement details troubled Vallow marriage

Following Charles Vallow’s death, police learned about “turmoil in their marriage,” according to the probable cause statement. Police say Lori Vallow accused Charles of infidelity, which led to them separating. At the time of the July 2019 shooting, Charles Vallow had traveled to Chandler to visit Lori and the children. 

Police said they learned Charles Vallow had concerns about Lori Vallow’s mental health related to some of her religious beliefs — so much so, he filed a petition asking that she receive a mental health evaluation. 

“In this petition, Charles talked about how Lori had told him that he was possessed by a dark spirit by the name of Ned Schneider,” the probable cause statement said. “This turmoil in the relationship can be substantiated through police reports, court orders, police body camera footage, cell phone records and witness testimony.” 

As previously reported, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell believed that they would lead 144,000 people in preparation for the end times. They also believed that they possessed “extraordinary abilities.” Those included being able to harm others, teleport, pray away demonic spirits, and more.

Fringe beliefs central to Vallow case

The pair thought they could tell “whether someone had a ‘light’ or ‘dark’ scale associated with them,” investigators said, indicating “whether or not they had demonic spirits attached to them.” According to the probable cause statement, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell claimed Charles Vallow, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan all had those “dark” scales, and sometimes referred to them by the name of a dark spirit or as a zombie. 

Police said they found additional emails and text messages that pointed toward Charles Vallow’s death as planned and intentional. 

Additionally, police referenced two witnesses in the investigation who said they’d been told long before Charles Vallow’s death that he was dead, and an evil spirit had taken over his body. 

“Both witnesses gathered with Lori Vallow prior to 07/11/2019 to try and pray the spirits out of his body so Charles’ spirit would no longer be in limbo,” the probable cause statement said. 

Another death, and a missing persons case

On Oct. 19, 2019, Chad Daybell’s wife, Tammy, died in her sleep, the probable cause statement notes. 

“Lori and Chad would marry within a month of Tammy’s passing,” it continued. 

During the investigation into Charles Vallow’s death, Chandler police learned about the disappearance of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, and Lori Vallow’s move to Idaho. JJ’s grandmother contacted the detective investigating the murder of Charles Vallow to raise concerns about the young boy. 

“She indicated that she had not heard from JJ and that Lori was not allowing him to call or video message her and her husband,” according to the probable cause statement. 

The probable cause statement indicates this concern ultimately led to the November 2019 welfare check in Idaho that revealed JJ Vallow and his sister, Tylee Ryan, were both missing, and had not been seen in a couple of months. 

A coordinated effort with a tragic end

This chain of events led to coordination of investigators from Chandler and Gilbert, Arizona; Rexburg and Fremont County, Idaho; and the FBI. It also sparked a coordinated effort and search for the two missing children. According to the probable cause statement, that coordinated effort led to data to that pointed to criminal activity. 

“…the evidence shows that Charles’ death was a planned event and necessary to prevent Charles and others from confronting Lori about her extreme religious beliefs when he came to town on 07/11/2019. The death of Charles Vallow was also necessary in order for Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow to marry and fulfill their religious prophecy,” the statement said. 

Ultimately, investigators found the bodies of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan on property belonging to Chad Daybell in the summer of 2020. 

Police say they did not find any “obvious communication between Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell to show that he was directly involved with the planning of Charles Vallow’s murder.” 

Read more: 

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Probable cause statement sheds light on new Lori Vallow charges