Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell Charged With Murder in Deaths of Her Children

Prosecutors announced a fresh slew of charges against the couple on Tuesday.

Lori Vallow Daybell glances at the camera during her hearing, with her defense attorney, Edwina Elcox, right, in Rexburg, Idaho, on March 6, 2020. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File

(CN) — Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell, an Idaho couple at the center of the investigation into the deaths of Vallow’s two children, were indicted by a grand jury Monday on a bevy of charges including murder, conspiracy, and grand theft.

Prosecutors announced indictments Tuesday afternoon, nearly a year after police found the remains of Vallow’s children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, buried beneath Daybell’s home last summer following a lengthy investigation into their disappearances.

The couple has denied any involvement in the deaths of the children. Vallow reportedly told police during the investigation, shortly before the couple fled to Hawaii, that JJ was simply visiting relatives in Arizona.

In the past year, prosecutors have brought a series of desertion and evidence destruction charges against the pair.

Daybell was also indicted Tuesday for murder and insurance fraud in conneciton with the death of his late wife, Tammy Daybell, whose death was originally believed to be from natural causes. But after Chad reportedly refused an autopsy, and married Vallow just two weeks after Tammy’s death, prosecutors reopened the investigation and her body was exhumed.

Vallow and Daybell are suspected of having been members of a doomsday cult that believes in the impending ending of the world and reportedly discussed whether her children were “light or dark spirits.”

Lindsey Blake, a Fremont County prosecutor, says that due to safety measures imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, prosecutors were only recently given the green light to put their case before a grand jury, which ultimately found there was enough evidence to support the new charges against the couple.

“They deliberated and determined there is probable cause to believe that the Daybells willfully and knowingly conspired to commit several crimes that led to the death of three innocent people,” Blake said in a statement.

On top of the murder and conspiracy charges, Vallow is being charged with grand theft in connection to the Social Security survivor benefits she received for her children, and Daybell is facing two insurance fraud charges stemming from policy benefits he received following Tammy’s death.

Vallow and Daybell have also found themselves at the center of investigations into the deaths of three other family members in recent years. The cases of Vallow’s third husband Joseph Ryan, who appeared to have died from a heart attack in 2018, her fourth husband Charles Vallow, who was shot and killed in 2019 by Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, in apparent self-defense, and Cox himself, who was found dead in Arizona shortly afterwards, have all reportedly been reopened.

As of Tuesday, no charges have been filed against the couple in connection with those deaths.

Prosecutors say that the penalties for the more serious charges filed Tuesday could range from life in prison without parole to the death penalty, which has not been used in Idaho in nearly a decade. Officials have not said yet what punishments they intend to pursue regarding these charges, but note that if they wish to go after the death penalty, they need to announce those intentions to the couple within 60 days of their first official plea.

Both Vallow and Daybell were served with the new indictments while in jail and are set to make their first court appearance regarding the fresh charges Wednesday morning.

Representatives for the couple did not immediately respond to a request for comment by press time on Tuesday.

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