What Sins of Our Mother left out of Lori Vallow Daybell story

It’s rare that Netflix true crime stories continue to play out as the documentary airs, but that’s exactly what’s happening with Sins of Our Mother.

The three-part series tracks the downward spiral of Lori Vallow Daybell into a cult-like obsession with religion, which resulted in her being branded the ‘Doomsday Mom’ in the press. She now stands accused of the murder of two of her children, as well as conspiracy to commit the murder of her fourth husband.

Lori and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, have denied any involvement in the deaths.

Speaking with her family and those who knew the couple, Sins of Our Mother lays out how Lori became obsessed with “eradicating zombies” and leading “144,000 chosen people” into the way of the Lord during the ‘end times’.

But as extensive as the series is, there are some elements of the case that have been left out, in large part due to developments that have taken place since the documentary was made. Here’s the latest on the case, and what’s happening with Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial.

What do we know about Lori Vallow Daybell?

sons of our mother

Netflix

In Sins of Our Mother, we initially see the show play out from what we know of the timeline of Lori Vallow Daybell’s life – starting with her previous marriages, up to her marriage to Charles Vallow.

Throughout this period of time, we see Lori become more reliant on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), otherwise known as Mormonism, which was the church she was raised under with her brothers, Alex and Adam Cox.

During this time, she started growing attached to Chad Daybell, who had been self-publishing books about the ‘end of days’.

She has been married five times and had three children – son Colby Ryan, daughter Tylee Ryan, and Joshua Jaxon Vallow (JJ), whom she adopted while married to her fourth husband Charles. JJ was Charles’ biological great-nephew.

As Lori became more devoted to her faith, she became more distant with her eldest son, Colby, so much so that Tylee wasn’t present at Colby’s wedding.

What do we know about Chad Daybell?

chad daybell, sons of our mother

Courtesy of Netflix

Chad Daybell was a handyman who had launched his own publishing company in order to self-publish his novels and books about prophecies he believed to be delivered from angels to him. These publications also contained details of an apocalypse.

He met Lori at a conference in 2018, with family members stating in the documentary that this was a marked ‘turning point’ for the stringency of Lori’s beliefs.

Together, Lori and Chad believed they were chosen to lead people into the second coming of Christ, which they felt was due at any moment. They believed there would be 144,000 pure souls in which to find and lead, with millions of others being “zombies” trying to distract them from completing their mission.

Chad’s first wife, Tammy, died in mysterious circumstances at her home in October 2019, two weeks before he married Lori. He did not allow an autopsy to take place, with her obituary saying she had died peacefully in her sleep.

What happened to Charles Vallow?

As depicted in the documentary, the marriage of Charles and Lori, who tied the knot in 2006, began to fall apart in 2019.

Charles filed for divorce that year, expressing concerns for his and his children’s safety. In the documentary, her family and friends state that she was becoming more obsessed with death and the afterlife by this point.

On July 11, 2019, Charles was shot in the chest and killed by Lori’s brother Alex Cox. Charles had gone to Lori’s new home in Chandler, Arizona, to pick up their son JJ.

At the time, according to police bodycam footage and a 911 call, Alex alleged that he shot him in self-defense after the pair got into a fight.

Alex had a large laceration to the back of his head in corroboration with that story, with his niece Tylee later also backing up his version of events, saying she’d seen the start of the altercation before being ushered out of the house and to school by her mother. As a result, Lori was not present at the time of the shooting.

She informed Charles’ older sons that their father had died via text message, offering no further explanation. Days later, Lori would attempt to file a claim for Charles’s $1 million life insurance policy, only to discover that she was no longer the beneficiary.

That September, she moved to Rexburg, Idaho, to be closer to Chad Daybell. They were married in November in Hawaii.

What happened to Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow?

In 2019, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell made headlines when 17-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old Joshua Jr went missing. The children were last seen that September, with the family contacting the police for a welfare check in November. They were officially declared missing that December.

Official timings are not really known, but Tylee was last photographed at Yellowstone National Park on September 8, and JJ last attended school on September 23. Court documents (via KSL) state Lori removed JJ from school the following day, stating she would be home-schooling him from then on.

Lori and Chad refused to cooperate with the Idaho police. Instead they would affirm that they were fine, but would not present the children or disclose their location. They were immediately considered persons of interest.

Suspicions around the couple were further raised when they married in Hawaii on November 5, 2019 in the midst of the disappearance of the children, and just weeks after Tammy’s death. Lori’s wedding ring was bought on Amazon, using the late Charles Vallow’s account.

When Hawaii police demanded Lori present the children within a five-day period and she failed to comply, she was arrested in February 2020 on suspicion of child welfare offenses, charged, and then extradited back to Idaho.

The children were missing for almost nine months. In June 2020, both Tylee and JJ were confirmed to be found buried on the property of Chad Daybell. Madison County prosecuting attorney Rob Wood noted in a statement (per East Idaho News) the concealment of one of the children’s bodies was “particularly egregious”.

FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team were called in by Idaho police to help with the investigation, during which time messages from Chad Daybell to his late wife Tammy on September 9, 2019 revealed he had decided to burn yard debris “before it got too soaked” with rain water.

In the message (via East Idaho Newsreporting unsealed court documents), Chad claimed he also shot and killed a racoon and had buried the animal “in our pet cemetery,” adding: “Fun times!”

A police officer, Lt. Ron Ball, noted in a statement that he was suspicious about Chad’s message to Tammy “because raccoons are normally nocturnal animals”.

Both Lori and Chad have denied any wrongdoing, and were charged with the murders in 2021. They were indicted that May, with the additional charge of conspiracy to commit the murder of Charles Vallow following that June in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Where is Lori Vallow Daybell now?

sons of our mother

Lori Vallow Daybell with her son Colby Ryan

Netflix

Currently, Lori is being held in jail awaiting trial in Idaho. However, she was declared mentally unfit for trial in 2021, and was committed to a mental health facility until she was deemed recovered. As a result, all trials concerning her – including the two murder charges, concealment of evidence and conspiracy to commit murder – were stayed.

She was subsequently declared mentally fit to stand trial in April 2022, and was arraigned on charges on April 19, where her lawyers entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.

The state of Idaho does not allow an ‘insanity’ defense at trial, although a defendant can aim to demonstrate as part of their case that they were incapable of forming the criminal intent required to commit the charged crime.

It also mandates that the accused must be able to understand the charges made against them.

Lori and Chad will stand trial together, (according to Salt Lake City news service Fox 13), despite attempts by Lori’s legal team to separate the two trials. If they are found guilty, the maximum charge is the death penalty, which is what prosecutors are seeking. The trial is scheduled to begin in January 2023.

What happened next?

The extent of the case – including evidence, circumstantial evidence, and events surrounding the murder investigation – has continued to add more layers to this already convoluted and complicated story.

The investigation into Tammy Daybell’s death in October 2019 was reopened the following year, but the results of the coroner’s report have not been made public due to their potential effect on the ongoing investigation.

In another twist, Lori’s brother Alex Cox, who had shot Charles Vallow, died in December 2019. His death was attributed to natural causes.

In the time since the show was filmed, Colby Ryan, Lori’s oldest son who featured prominently in the documentary, has become estranged from his wife.

He was arrested in September 2022, days before the show was due to air, and two charges of sexual assault against him have been dropped without prejudice, according to NBC News.

Sins of Our Mother is available now on Netflix.


Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 (www.nspcc.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at (1-800-422-4453) or the American SPCC (www.americanspcc.org).

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