Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell used ‘castings’ to pray for spouses’ deaths, ex-friend testifies

Apr 18, 2024, 8:59 PM

Chad Daybell, left, is pictured in a courtroom in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 3, 2020, while Lori V...

Chad Daybell, left, is pictured in a courtroom in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 3, 2020, while Lori Vallow, right, is pictured in a courtroom in Rexburg, Idaho, on March 6, 2020, in this composite image. (John Roark, The Idaho Post Register via AP)

(John Roark, The Idaho Post Register via AP)

BOISE, Idaho — Melanie Gibb, the former best friend of Lori Vallow Daybell, testified Thursday about multiple disturbing conversations she had with Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell in the months before and during the murders of Vallow Daybell’s husband and children, and Daybell’s wife.

Those conversations included prayers for the deaths of their current spouses, lying about where Vallow Daybell’s missing children were, justifications for such lies, analyzing people as “dark” or “light” — including the children — descriptions of previous lives they claim they lived as biblical figures, and more.

Gibb described the day Vallow Daybell met Daybell, a man she would marry just over a year later. “They seemed to be attracted to each other; that caught my attention,” she said.

Gibb said she can’t remember if she introduced then-Lori Vallow to Chad Daybell, or if Vallow Daybell introduced herself at a conference in St. George in 2018, but said they “communicated a lot” after that conference, and seemed to be attracted to each other.

Multiple lives and light and dark scale

Gibb said Vallow Daybell told her the two talked about “multiple lives” and described living many previous lives on Earth. Gibb testified that Vallow Daybell told her Daybell believed the two had been married to each other in a previous life.

The friend said Vallow Daybell told Gibb they would be married together again in this life. She also said Vallow Daybell felt it was her mission to gather women to the 144,000 — a number in the Bible representing people who would gather the righteous at the end of time — and Daybell himself shared this belief.

She said Vallow Daybell would seek advice from Daybell and then share the information he told her with Gibb and with others. She said Daybell would tell them whether certain people had lived previous lives or how “light” or “dark” those people were.

Gibb testified that there was a light and dark scale, and a person’s position on that scale was determined by contracts they had made before coming to Earth. Later, Vallow Daybell said a light person could become dark, and it wasn’t something set in stone.

Click here for complete coverage of the Chad Daybell trial.

Gibb said the first person who she was told went from light to dark was Charles Vallow, who was Vallow Daybell’s husband at the time. She said Daybell told Vallow Daybell her husband’s name was actually “Ned Schneider.”

She testified about “castings,” where the two would pray for an evil spirit to leave someone, including Charles Vallow. Gibb said if the casting was successful, either the person would die or a new spirit would enter their body. Gibb said although she understood a successful casting would cause a person to die, she did not have an understanding that there would be violence involved.

Gibb participated or was present for “castings” on Charles Vallow, Daybell’s wife Tammy Daybell, and Vallow Daybell’s nephew-in-law Brandon Boudreaux, but said she never participated in a casting for the children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan.

As Gibb talked about castings on the witness stand Thursday, Daybell sat in court and shook his head in a “no” motion to some of what she was recounting.

Gibb: Lori Vallow Daybell seemed ‘happy’ after husband’s death

Gibb said she had met Tylee, JJ, and Charles Vallow early in her friendship with Vallow Daybell. She said Tylee and her mother had a difficult relationship.

“They didn’t necessarily get along very well,” she said.

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Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell used ‘castings’ to pray for spouses’ deaths, ex-friend testifies