BOISE, Idaho (TCD) — A jury found Lori Vallow guilty Friday of murder and other crimes in connection with the deaths of two of her children and her husband’s first wife.
East Idaho News reports Lori Vallow was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the slayings of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, three counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and grand theft. The conspiracy charges relate to JJ, Tylee, and Tammy Daybell’s deaths. Tylee was just days away from turning 17 when she was killed.
The jury reportedly deliberated for about seven hours before reaching the verdict.
Vallow’s verdict caps a trial that lasted over a month and a legal saga that spanned three years.
According to The Associated Press, Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake argued Vallow “used money, power, and sex to get what she wanted. It didn’t matter what it was.”
Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, reportedly had extreme religious views that eventually made them believe JJ and Tylee were “dark” and had evil spirits in them, which turned them into “zombies.” They allegedly thought the only way to get rid of the dark spirits was through death.
JJ and Tylee were last seen Sept. 23, 2019, in Rexburg, Idaho. Tammy Daybell was found dead Oct. 19, 2019, and officials initially ruled her death natural. Two months later, however, her body was exhumed after investigators determined she might have died under suspicious circumstances. It was later reported that Tammy Daybell had been suffocated.
In June 2020, Rexburg Police Department investigators served a search warrant at Chad Daybell’s home and found two sets of human remains, which were positively identified as belonging to JJ and Tylee. JJ’s hands and legs had reportedly been tied together, and he had a plastic bag over his head, according to the Idaho State Journal. Tylee’s body was dismembered and burned.
During the trial, prosecutors revealed Tylee’s DNA was discovered on a pickax and shovel on Daybell’s property.
Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said Tylee’s body was so badly burned that the medical examiner could not determine a cause of death. Wood also said JJ “stopped breathing, his heart stopped beating, and he died. It was a brutal, horrific murder of a 7-year-old boy with special needs.”
Evidence reportedly showed JJ tried to fight back, but his hands were ultimately bound with duct tape.
Vallow’s brother Alex Cox was accused of shooting and killing her estranged husband Charles Vallow in 2019. Cox is now deceased, but Vallow has been charged in connection with Charles’ death.
KBOI-TV reports Wood and Blake, the two prosecutors in the case, said in a statement, “We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict, and we want to thank them, as well as the alternates, for their service over the last six weeks during this trial. Given the pending case against the co-defendant, we are unable to conduct any additional interviews or discuss further details of this matter. We want to assure each of you that we remain committed to pursuing justice for Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow, and Tammy Daybell.”
Chad Daybell is still awaiting trial.