The American woman dubbed the “doomsday cult mum” has been sentenced to three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders of her two children.
An unemotional Lori Vallow Daybell, wearing a striped orange and white prison jumpsuit, stood motionless between her defence team at Idaho’s Fremont County Courthouse as Judge Steven Boyce handed her a life sentence for what he called her “heinous and egregious” actions.
In May Vallow Daybell was found guilty of killing her two youngest children, Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua Jaxon “JJ” Vallow, seven, whose bodies were found buried on an Idaho property.
“Something radically changed in you that led you to where you are today,” Judge Boyce told Vallow.
The judge said he didn’t believe Vallow had shown any remorse for the crimes, saying: “It is the most shocking thing really that I can imagine, is that a mother killed her own children and you simply have no remorse for it.
“You had so many other options. You could have found someone to take care of those kids.
“You killed those children to remove them as obstacles and to profit financially.”
“After all of this evidence and trial, you haven’t shown any remorse,” Judge Boyce added.
“You haven’t said you’re sorry. You haven’t done anything to seek leniency from this court.”
‘Happy in the spirit world’
Vallow, 50, showed no remorse as she addressed the court, saying no one was murdered and that her children were “happy in the spirit world”.
“Jesus knows me, and Jesus understands me,” Vallow said.
“No one was murdered in this case. Accidental deaths happen. Suicides happen. Fatal side effects from medications happen.”
Vallow claimed that a near-death experience when giving birth to her daughter, Tylee, allowed her to communicate with the “spirit world”.
“I have had many communications with people now living in heaven,” the convicted murderer said.
“I know for a fact that my children are happy and busy in the spirit world.
“Because of my communications with my friend (her husband Chad’s deceased ex-wife) Tammy Daybell, I know she is happy and extremely busy.
“Tylee is free now from all the pains of her life. Tylee suffered horrible physical pain her whole life.
“I am the only person on this earth who knows how much Tylee suffered. Her body did not work right,” she claimed.
Witnesses took turns tearing into Vallow, who was convicted on May 12 of first-degree murder for the deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
She was also sentenced to 10 additional years after being convicted of grand theft, in which prosecutors argued that she killed her children to use the social security benefits they were receiving.
Vallow sat silently, with a blank expression as she stared forward, refusing to look at the podium to her right as each victim read their impact statements.
JJ’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock, broke down in tears as she slammed Vallow as a money-hungry, power-mongering monster.
“This all began with greed. The greed for and desire for a $1 million life insurance policy. I would have given her the money. She could have let JJ and Tylee live and have $1 million,” Woodcock said about Vallow’s “cruel campaign of terror”.
“She could have been free to be Chad’s mistress and foot the bill with money from spilled blood.
“JJ and Tylee could have lived with us and had wonderful lives.
“She has shown no grief for the lives she took and the pain she caused.
“Today, I take the power back. I pray my words will assist you. My sincerest hope is they will seriously be contemplated.”
“Tylee and JJ brought so much light into this world,” a statement was read in court on behalf of Colby Ryan, Vallow’s only surviving son, said.
“I want them to be remembered for who they were. Tylee was sweet and kind, funny and bold. JJ was the most fun, sweet, and silly kid I’ve ever known.
“Tylee will never be able to have the life she deserves. JJ will never have the chance to grow up.”
‘Money, power, and sex’
During her six-week trial, prosecutors argued that Vallow used money, power, and sex to get what she wanted.
Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said that Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, 54, set in motion a plan that led to the death of her children.
Throughout the six-week trial, prosecutors presented a cascade of evidence to the jury, including lengthy testimony from FBI agent Nicole Heideman, who reviewed Vallow’s iCloud account and pieced together the puzzling love story between the defendant and Daybell.
Prosecutors displayed photos to the court of the shallow grave where JJ’s remains were found in June 2020.
Vallow sat emotionless as the jury looked at a photo of little JJ’s remains, who was still wearing his pyjamas, bound with duct tape and a plastic bag around his head.
“Lori Vallow gets Tylee’s money, she gets JJ’s money. Chad and Lori get Tammy’s money. What does your reason and common sense tell you?” Wood said during his closing arguments.
“You’ve seen what happened to her children, what happened to Tammy. She never reported the children missing.
“She lied, and she lied, and she lied about where they were, and while she lied, she kept collecting the money.
“There is no question. They were murdered,” Wood said.
“Justice for the victims requires a guilty verdict. You must convict her.”
Vallow’s defence team attempted to paint her as a victim of her fifth husband, claiming Daybell manipulated her into his prospective cult.
Daybell – a follower of the doomsday organisation Preparing a People and author of over two dozen books about near-death and doomsday events – took his teachings to an extreme and would prophesize the end of the world.
Text messages between Vallow and Daybell revealed the two spoke about demons possessing Tylee and JJ and even calling them zombies.
Daybell is expected to go on trial on April 1, 2024, for the same charges, including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder for the death of his ex-wife, Tammy.
During her impact statement, Tammy’s sister, Samantha Gwilliam, slammed Vallow, calling her a liar, an adulteress, and a murderer, who profited off the death of four victims.
“Because of you and your desire to get whatever you want, my family has been ripped apart.
“I helped raise Tammy’s children, and because of you, they no longer have their mother or grandmother.
“We blame you and Chad for all the lies you told in ripping apart this family,” she said.
“I choose to forget you; I choose to never think of you again,” she said.
JJ & Tylee go missing
On September 8, 2019, Tylee and JJ visited Yellowstone National Park, which, according to police, was the last time anyone saw 16-year-old Tylee.
Vallow then withdrew JJ from elementary school, claiming to officials that she would be homeschooling him.
The seven-year-old was last seen on September 22, 2019.
While Vallow’s children were missing, the mum maintained that Tylee and JJ were safe and living with family members in Arizona.
As investigators searched for Vallow’s missing kids, she and Daybell jetted to Hawaii to get married in November 2019 – months after her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, was fatally shot by her brother Alex Cox that July.
The marriage also came weeks after Daybell’s wife Tammy died of asphyxiation on October 19 of that year.
After an extensive search, the children’s bodies were found on June 9, 2020, in the backyard of Daybell’s rural property in Salem, Idaho.
Vallow and Daybell were officially indicted on May 25, 2021, on first-degree murder charges over the death and disappearance of Tylee and JJ.
The two were also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder for the mysterious death of Tammy Daybell.
Vallow – who is already facing a separate felony case on a charge of conspiring to kill her fourth husband, Charles – was indicted for a second time in Arizona of conspiring to kill her niece’s ex-husband, Brandon Boudreaux.
Woodcock, Charles Vallow’s sister, addressed her brother’s death during her impact statement: “The grief my family and I have endured is immeasurable as Lori cruelly took my big brother, Charles, my adorable grandson JJ, and my beautiful niece Tylee, and sweet Tammy — whose family I’ve come to know and love.
“Lori is undeniably a monster.”
Vallow is expected to be extradited to Arizona after her sentencing.
This article originally appeared in the US Sun and was reproduced with permission