‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow’s trial for the 2019 murder of her two children – scheduled for January – is SUSPENDED indefinitely by Idaho judge pending a mental competency evaluation
- Lori Vallow, 48, was due to go on trial in January for the September 2019 murder of her children Tylee, 16, and seven-year-old J.J.
- On Thursday a court in Fremont County, Idaho, announced the trial had been postponed pending a mental evaluation of Vallow, who married Chad Daybell
- Steven Boyce, the district judge, wrote that the case was ‘suspended until a determination of Mrs Daybell’s competency to stand trial’
- Vallow had become obsessed with the idea that her children were possessed and had become zombies, and needed killing to ‘free’ them
- She was arrested in February 2020 and in June that year the remains of Tylee and J.J. were found at the Idaho farm owned by Daybell, Vallow’s fifth husband
Lori Vallow’s trial has been suspended indefinitely, an Idaho judge ruled on Thursday, pending a mental health evaluation.
Vallow, 48, had been due to go on trial in January for the September 2019 murder of her children Tylee, 16, and seven-year-old J.J.
Vallow had become obsessed with the idea that her children were possessed and had become zombies, and needed killing in order to ‘free’ them.
She was arrested in February 2020 and in June that year the remains of Tylee and J.J. were found at the Idaho farm owned by Chad Daybell, Vallow’s fifth husband.
Daybell is also facing trial over the killings.
Judge Steven Boyce, district judge for Fremont County in Idaho, wrote that the case was ‘suspended until a determination of Mrs Daybell’s competency to stand trial’.
Lori Vallow pleaded not guilty to murdering her children during a court appearance in April
Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, left, and Tylee Ryan, right, were last seen in September 2019. Their bodies were eventually discovered buried on Chad Daybell’s property after a nine-month search
JJ and Tylee are seen smiling and hugging while standing on a boardwalk in front of a thermal feature at Yellowstone National Park in Idaho on September 8, 2019, with their uncle Alex Cox. It would be the last time that Tylee was seen alive
Lori Vallow (left) and Chad Daybell (right) were said to have extreme religious beliefs. Detectives believe the couple’s ‘belief system, lust and greed’ also led to the deaths of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow
He did not set a date for a new trial.
The case has attracted attention from around the world, and until Thursday looked to be progressing towards a January trial, as scheduled.
Last month Judge Boyce banned cameras from the courtroom, saying he feared the images could prevent a fair trial.
Vallow and Daybell are accused of murdering both children and Chad Daybell’s former wife, and both pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a potential death penalty.
Idaho law enforcement officers started investigating Vallow and Daybell in November 2019 after extended family members reported her two youngest children, Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, were missing.
At the time, JJ Vallow was 7 years old and Tylee Ryan was nearing her 17th birthday.
The couple had married just two weeks after his previous wife, Tammy Daybell, died unexpectedly.
The children’s bodies were later found buried on Chad Daybell’s property in rural eastern Idaho.
The couple was eventually charged with murder, conspiracy and grand theft in connection with the deaths of the children and Daybell’s late wife.
Prosecutors say the couple promoted unusual religious beliefs to further the alleged murder conspiracies. Lori Vallow Daybell´s former husband, who died while the two were estranged, said in divorce documents that Vallow Daybell believed she was a god-like figure responsible for ushering in the apocalyptical end times. Chad Daybell wrote doomsday-focused fiction books and recorded podcasts about preparing for the apocalypse.
Friends of the couple told law enforcement investigators the pair believed people could be taken over by dark spirits, and that Vallow Daybell referred to her children as ‘zombies,’ which was a term they used to describe those who were possessed.
Vallow Daybell is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona in connection with the death of her previous husband. Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Lori Daybell´s brother, Alex Cox, who said it was self-defense. Cox later died of what police said was natural causes.
The Arizona legal proceedings are on hold while the Idaho case is underway and Vallow Daybell has not been scheduled to make a plea in the Arizona case.