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Indictment shows how Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell, Alex Cox allegedly conspired to kill

Lori Vallow Chad Daybell Initital Appearances.jpg
Posted at 5:46 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 14:02:11-04

PHOENIX — Update (May 27): The murder case against Lori Vallow Daybell has been put on hold after a psychologist found that she was incompetent to stand trial, according to court documents released Thursday. The state is contesting the ruling.

"The completed assessment determined that at this time the defendant is not competent to proceed, and recommends restorative treatment," the documents stated.

Also on Thursday, the Chandler Police Department confirmed that it submitted a charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder charge against Lori Vallow Daybell in the death of her former husband, Charles Vallow, to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Alex Cox, Lori's brother, shot and killed Charles Vallow in 2019 after an argument at their home in Chandler. Cox died later that year of apparent natural causes and was never charged.

MCAO will ultimately make the decision on whether or not to prosecute Lori in the conspiracy case.

Original story:

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow, an Idaho couple accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of Vallow's two children, made their initial court appearances on Wednesday, one day after the prosecutors announced additional charges against them.

Both hearings, held individually, were virtual and short. Vallow's lawyer asked for the hearing to be continued and the judge agreed "based on the information that was provided to the court." It's unclear what that information was.

During Daybell's hearing, the new charges were formally read to him.

A grand jury indicted both Daybell and Vallow on several new charges, prosecutors announced Tuesday: first-degree murder in the deaths of Vallow's children, Tylee Ryan, then 16, and "JJ" Vallow, then seven; conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception; and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Tamara "Tammy" Daybell, Chad Daybell's ex-wife.

The indictment also revealed new details in how the killings are alleged to have happened.

"JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan were last seen in the fall of 2019. Last year, their bodies were found buried in the backyard of Chad Daybell's home in Idaho.

Daybell was also charged with first-degree murder in the death of his ex-wife and insurance fraud. Vallow was charged with grand theft related to Social Security Survivor benefits linked to her children’s deaths.

Daybell was previously charged with evidence destruction or concealment. Vallow was previously charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence, according to previous ABC15 reports.

In the indictment, released to the media, Alex Cox, Lori Vallow's brother, is also listed as a defendant and co-conspirator in the first-degree murder charges of Vallow's children and "Tammy" Daybell. He died in December 2019 of apparent natural causes, according to the medical examiner's report.

Cox also shot and killed Vallow's ex-husband, Charles, in 2019 which stemmed from an apparent argument the two had when Charles and Lori and the children lived in Chandler, Arizona. Cox claimed self-defense and was never charged.

After Charles' death, Lori, Alex, and the children moved to Rexburg, Idaho, according to the indictment.

The documents allege that Lori, Chad, and Alex used their religious beliefs to justify the killing of her children and Tammy Daybell. Previous court documents mention that the couple talked about people becoming zombies and were possibly preparing for the end of the world.

It was initially thought that Tammy died of natural causes, but those have now been deemed suspicious. Officials later exhumed Tammy Daybell's body from a Utah cemetery after the investigation was opened into the disappearance of Vallow's kids.

According to the documents, prosecutors alleged that text messages between Lori and Chad discussed Tammy "being in limbo" and "being possessed by a spirit named Viola."

In October 2019, Alex Cox, Lori's brother, attempted to shoot Tammy, the documents stated. The month before, Chad allegedly increased his ex-wife's LifeMap insurance policy to the maximum allowed.

She died a few weeks later in their Idaho home, officials said. How she died is unclear. Investigators have reportedly said Cox was 2.5 miles away in a church parking lot on the day that she died.

Documents also state that Cox allegedly went to a gun range in the months prior to the attempted shooting of Tammy.

Frank Montoya Jr., a retired FBI Special Agent who's not involved with the case, but has been following the investigation, said of the prosecutors and the indictment, "it struck me as they have a really good case."

He said the prosecution laid out the planning that allegedly took place ahead of the killings, such as the increase in Tammy Daybell's life insurance policy.

"Leads to that idea that this was premeditated, that they planned and plotted this thing and for a reason, and it wasn't because God told them to, it was because he was going to get half a million dollars out of the deal," said Montoya Jr.

EastIdahoNews.com, citing previous court documents, reports that Tammy's life insurance policy was around $430,000.

The indictment mentions other conspirators "known and unknown" who may be involved.

"It means this thing is pretty active and broad-ranging so there's a lot of folks out there that they're talking to that are providing information," said Montoya Jr.

While there are additional details in the indictments, there is still a lot that is unknown, Montoya Jr. said, such as what other evidence the prosecution may have and any information that witnesses might have.

Chad Daybell's next court appearance is set for June 9. A rescheduled court date has not yet been scheduled for Lori Vallow.