BOISE, Idaho – Recently released documents into the complex investigation of a woman accused of conspiring to kill her children and her husband reveal sordid details of a sectarian “zombie” and “vibe” belief system, as well as a falling apart marriage and an affair.
Documents from the Chandler Arizona Police Department provide detailed insight into the lives of Lori and Chad Daybell via text messages, computer files, and interviews with close friends and family.
Both are charged in Idaho with conspiracy to murder in the deaths of Lori’s children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17. They face the same accusation in the death of Chad’s former wife, Tammy Daybell. Tammy Daybell died suddenly in the eastern Idaho home she shared with Chad Daybell and investigators grew suspicious after Chad Daybell married Lori two weeks later.
The children went missing for months, but their bodies were eventually found buried in the yard outside Chad Daybell’s home in eastern Idaho.
And Lori Daybell is also accused in Arizona of plotting to kill her ex-husband, Charles Vallow, with the help of her now-deceased brother, Alex Cox. It was the death of Charles Vallow on July 11, 2019, that sparked the investigation by the Chandler Police Department. More than 50 files from the investigation, including hundreds of pages of police reports and dozens of video and audio recordings, were released by the police department on Wednesday.
In the main investigative report, Chandler’s police detectives wrote that they believed Charles Vallow had been murdered and his suspected killers were motivated by greed for Vallow’s life insurance money, lust for each other and strange religious beliefs.
“All of these overt acts were done so that Lori could eventually be with Chad Daybell and complete her mission here on earth,” the police department wrote in the report. “This belief system, lust and greed would also lead to the deaths of Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow and Tammy Daybell.”
Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Lori Daybell has yet to plead guilty – she is being treated at a mental health facility because a judge has determined that she is not yet qualified to stand trial. Lawyers for the Daybells did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.
Chad Daybell met Lori Vallow in 2018 and the two quickly became close, according to the investigation. In no time they were traveling to meet and at one point Chad Daybell wrote a scorching short story for Lori Vallow based on two characters who, like Chad and Lori, met at a religious conference.
In May 2019, Lori Vallow was looking online for gemstones similar to those that would later be in their wedding rings.
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow communicated with each other using code names or animal names like Lili, Bubby, Raphael and sometimes avoided standard text messaging, instead using ‘burner phones or messaging systems. Inside a popular karaoke phone app, depending on computer and phone. files found by investigators.
As their relationship developed, investigators said, so did their sectarian-type religious beliefs. Several family and friends interviewed by detectives described them as having a strange doomsday belief system, and some of the friends also admitted to adopting those beliefs. Sometimes as many as 10 people were part of the free religious group that met to pray, cast out evil spirits, and seek revelation “beyond the spiritual veil.”
Although the beliefs that Lori Daybell’s friends described to detectives were loosely based on Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints theology, they have gone to the extreme.
The report stated that Lori and Chad Daybell believed in reincarnation and that Lori Daybell was a “goddess” sent to bring the Second Coming of Christ. The couple also reportedly believed they had special powers, with Lori Daybell telling a friend she could teleport between Arizona and Hawaii. Chad Daybell allegedly told the group he had a “portal” in his house where he could receive revelations and travel to other realms, according to the report.
Lori Daybell’s close friend Melanie Gibbs told investigators Chad and Lori Daybell lured people into their circle of believers by giving them information and flattered the followers by telling them that they were among the privileged few supposed carry out a special spiritual mission.
Those who questioned the beliefs were kicked out of the group, investigators said.
The Daybells used a special scoring system to determine whether people were good or bad, Gibbs said. Each person was assigned a number to indicate how many times they had lived before, as well as a “light” or “dark” rating to indicate whether they had made a contract with God or Satan. People were also given “vibration” ratings and reliability ratings, and those with sufficiently high “vibrations” were considered “translated”, holding special powers.
The Daybells believed that the “zombies” were dead people and that their bodies had been possessed by evil spirits. The group spent time praying to get rid of the zombies and believed that if they were successful, the possessed person would die physically, freeing their soul from “limbo.”
Lori Daybell has told some of her friends that her ex-husband Charles Vallow is a zombie, investigators say, and some of the group have regularly joined her in praying for Vallow’s disappearance. After Vallow was shot by Alex Cox during an argument, Cox reportedly told another follower that he didn’t feel bad about killing a zombie.
The group also believed that once a person became “exalted”, they could no longer be held responsible for their actions on Earth.
“Because Lori was already ‘elated’,” Pastenes told investigators, according to their report, “she would often slap her hand on the counter and say,” That doesn’t matter to me! “”
The police investigation also revealed computer documents indicating that Charles Vallow discovered that his wife was having an affair with Chad Daybell just weeks before his death.
Charles Vallow confronted Lori Vallow in a text message, then contacted Tammy Daybell to let her know their spouses were cheating.
Investigators have not determined whether Tammy Daybell has ever read Vallow’s email or deleted it without reading it. Eleven days after sending the email, he was shot by Cox.
Cox died in December 2019 after collapsing in his home. Forensic scientists later determined he died from blood clots in his lungs.