‘Cult’ dad Chad Daybell pretended he didn’t know Lori Vallow when police first began searching for her missing children just three weeks after he married her, new police affidavits have revealed.
The documents unsealed last week also describe how Lori complained that her ‘Satan-loving’ seven-year-old son Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow was ‘acting like a zombie’ and knocked a photo of Jesus off her refrigerator just hours before he was last seen in September.
Chilling details surrounding the disappearance of JJ and his sister, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, have continued to pour out in the days since authorities discovered their bodies in the backyard of Chad’s home in Salem, Idaho, on June 9.
A probable cause affidavit filed in connection with Chad’s subsequent arrest for two felony counts of destruction of evidence alleges that Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, brought the bodies to the property to bury them.
A ping from Cox’s cellphone showed him at the site where Tylee’s remains were found on September 9, the day after she was last seen. Two later pings on September 23, the day JJ vanished, showed Cox at the site where the boy’s remains were found a few feet away in the yard.
It wasn’t until nine weeks later that Rexburg Police learned the children were missing when officers performed a welfare check at Lori’s apartment in Rexburg on November 26, after relatives said they hadn’t seen JJ in months.
‘Cult’ dad Chad Daybell (left) pretended he didn’t know Lori Vallow when police first began searching for her missing children just three weeks after he married her, new police affidavits have revealed. The documents unsealed last week also describe how Lori (right) complained that her ‘Satan-loving’ seven-year-old son Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow was ‘acting like a zombie’ and knocked a photo of Jesus off her refrigerator just hours before he was last seen in September
Chilling details surrounding the disappearance of Lori’s children, seven-year-old Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, have continued to pour out in the days since authorities discovered their bodies in the backyard of Chad’s home in Salem, Idaho, on June 9
Lead investigator Lt Ron Ball described the welfare check in another affidavit filed on February 18 – two days before Lori was arrested for child abandonment and desertion.
The officers arrived and found Chad and Cox outside of Lori’s apartment. Ball wrote that Chad ‘acted as if he didn’t know Lori very well and stated he didn’t know her phone number’.
Investigators soon discovered that was a lie when they came across photos of Chad and Lori’s wedding three weeks earlier on a beach in Hawaii.
Cox allegedly told the officers that JJ was with his grandmother, Kay Woodcock, in Louisiana. Ball wrote that Cox’s story ‘was not likely to be true due to the fact that Kay was the individual who first called in a missing child report’.
Later in the day Ball and another detective returned to the apartment complex and spoke to Lori, who claimed that JJ was in Arizona with her friend Melanie Gibb.
Investigators found the remains of JJ and Tylee after excavating the backyard of Chad’s property on June 9 (pictured)
Gibb has previously revealed in interviews that Lori and Chad called her and asked her to lie to police and uphold their story that the boy was with her, but she refused.
When detectives contacted Gibb she told them that she hadn’t seen JJ since the last time she visited Lori in September, on the same day that he disappeared.
Cellphone data indicates that Lori’s brother Alex Cox (pictured) was at the same location where the children were buried near the time they were reported missing
Gibb further explained to the detectives that Lori and Chad had asked her to lie.
When officers returned the following day to execute a search warrant they learned that Chad and Lori had fled Idaho.
Inside Lori’s home they found little evidence that JJ – or any child – had been living there.
Around the same time police in Gilbert, Arizona, where the Vallow family had lived up until August 2019, contacted the Rexburg detectives asking if they had any information on the whereabouts of JJ’s older sister Tylee.
Gibb told police that Lori had said Tylee was studying at Brigham Young University, but the school had no record of her.
Rexburg police soon determined that Tylee hadn’t been seen since September 8 – on a trip to Yellowstone with Lori, JJ and Cox – and expanded the search for JJ to include the teen.
Detectives interviewed Chad’s parents later on and learned that he and Lori had told them in November that she was an ’empty nester’. Other relatives claimed that Chad told them Lori didn’t have kids at all.
Lori’s best friend Melanie Gibb described her horror over the body discovery in an interview with Dateline airing on Monday night (pictured)
Timeline of JJ and Tylee’s disappearance
July 11, 2019: Lori Vallow’s husband, Charles Vallow, is killed by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona.
August: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho, where Chad Daybell lives with his wife Tammy.
September 8: The last time Tylee is seen during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Lori, JJ and Alex.
September 23: The last time JJ is seen at his school in Rexburg.
October 19: Chad’s wife Tammy, 49, dies at their Idaho home.
October 25: A friend of Tylee receives a vague ‘miss you’ text from her phone but says that it didn’t sound like the teen.
November 5: Lori and Chad tie the knot on a beach in Kauai.
November 26: Out-of-state relatives ask Idaho police to perform a welfare check on JJ and learn both he and Tylee have not been seen for months.
November 27: Police execute a search warrant related to the children at Lori’s home and discover that she and Chad have fled Idaho.
December 11: Tammy’s body is exhumed from a Utah cemetery and her death is reclassified as suspicious.
December 12: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, is found unresponsive in Arizona and dies.
December 21: Rexburg police issue the first press release about JJ and Tylee, revealing they believe their disappearance could be linked to Tammy’s death.
December 24: Lori and Chad issue a statement through an attorney saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing ‘allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor’.
December 30: Police accuse Lori and Chad of lying to investigators and say they believe the couple know where the kids are or what happened to them.
January 3, 2020: Police search Chad’s home in Salem and remove 43 items. They also comb over sections of the snow-covered yard with rakes and metal detectors.
January 26: Lori and Chad are seen for the first time in months as police serve them with a court order to produce the children to authorities in Idaho in five days.
January 30: Lori misses the court deadline to produce the children to Idaho authorities.
February 20: Lori is arrested in Kauai.
March 5: Lori is extradited to Idaho, where she is held on $1million bond at Madison County Jail.
April 9: Authorities reveal they are investigating Lori and Chad for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with Tammy’s death.
June 9:Police search Chad’s home in Salem for the second time and discover human remains in the backyard. Chad is taken into police custody and charged with destruction or concealment of evidence.
Gibb and her boyfriend, David Warwick, offered a more harrowing account of Lori’s relationship with her kids, telling detectives that the mother believed they were ‘zombies’.
Gibb recounted a phone call with Lori last spring wherein the mother referred to Tylee as a zombie because the teen was refusing to babysit JJ. In the background of the call Gibb said she heard Tylee say: ‘Not me mom.’
Lori made similar remarks when Gibb and Warwick went to visit her in Rexburg in mid-September.
Lori allegedly complained to the couple that JJ had been ‘acting like a zombie, crawling on the kitchen cabinetry’.
‘She informed Warwick and Gibb that when JJ had climbed upon the cabinetry that he had knocked picture of Jesus off the refrigerator,’ Ball wrote.
Lori then told the couple that Cox had come over to pick JJ up and they never saw him again.
Later that night, Cox’s cellphone pinged in Chad’s yard, right at the spot where JJ’s body was found wrapped in plastic and duct tape next to a fire pit.
Tylee’s body was discovered a few yards away, also at the spot where Alex’s phone had pinged soon after she vanished. Her remains were partially burned.
Gibb theorized that Lori and Chad may have plotted to kill both of the children due to their religious beliefs.
Lori and Chad had told Gibb that they believed they were ‘part of the “Church of the Firstborn” and their mission in that Church was to lead the “144,000” mentioned in the Book of Revelation’, Ball wrote.
‘They also stated their mission was to rid the world of “zombies,”‘ he added.
Gibb described her horror over the body discovery in an interview with Dateline airing on Monday night.
In a preview for the episode she recalled feeling sick when Lori and Chad asked her to lie to police.
‘I can’t even begin to tell you how horrible that moment was for me… They tried to use me as their way of escape,’ she said.
‘So part of me is processing, “I can’t believe you’re friends with these people.” The other part of me is like, “how did you even believe any of the things they shared to you?”‘
Police have yet to file any murder charges against Lori and Chad in the wake of the body discovery two weeks ago.
Lori has spent the past four months in jail for two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children and one misdemeanor count each for obstructing an investigation, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court.
She has repeatedly denied any involvement in the children’s disappearance.
Chad was arrested the same day the bodies were found and is now being held on $1million bond at Fremont County Jail on two felony counts of destruction or concealment of evidence.
An affidavit states that he was sitting in a driveway across the street when officers first arrived with a search warrant that morning and fled the scene after they began digging.
Cox died suddenly in December, about a month after the children were reported missing.
Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell, died in October, less than three weeks before he tied the knot with Lori. Her death was deemed suspicious and autopsy results are still pending.
Lori’s previous husband, Charles Vallow, was shot dead by Cox in July. Police initially determined that Cox acted in self defense but later reopened the case amid the search for JJ and Tylee.