Killing Lori Daybell's former husband was all part of ‘master plan,’ Arizona police say

Deseret New/July 2, 2021

By Annie Knox

Charles Vallow’s concerns grew after police say his wife began to claim that he was possessed by a dark spirit, declared she was chosen to help prepare for the end of the world, and forged a letter from him to a man in Idaho who shared her doomsday beliefs.

Vallow planned to stage an intervention with one of his wife’s brothers, according to police, but was shot and killed by one of her other brothers when he arrived in Arizona to confront her in July 2019.

Now, authorities in that state allege the death was part of a “master plan” that allowed Lori Vallow to wed Chad Daybell so the pair could fulfill their religious prophecy. In a police affidavit released Thursday, Chandler police provide details about how they believe her religious beliefs factored into a plot to kill her then-husband.

Lori Vallow Daybell is charged in Maricopa County with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after prosecutors say she and her brother, Alex Cox, hatched a plan to kill her husband. A grand jury indicted her in Charles Vallow's death last week, linking her to a fourth homicide in a bizarre case that spans several states.

Lori Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell, are jailed in Idaho awaiting trial on earlier counts of murder and conspiracy tied to the killings of her children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, 16.

Investigators in Arizona said they drew the conclusions based on interviews with unnamed witnesses, analysis of records, and data collected from electronic devices they seized in coordination with the FBI and police in Idaho.

“As a result of the data recovered, it was believed that none of the mentioned crimes were coincidence or justifiable,” the affidavit states.

Cox told detectives he shot Charles Vallow twice in self-defense, but police say an autopsy revealed the angle of a second gunshot wound indicates Vallow was already lying on the floor. Cox called to report the shooting as if it had just happened, but waited more than 40 minutes and didn't perform CPR, detectives concluded.

Lori Daybell had found out about the planned intervention and got in touch with Cox — who shared her religious beliefs — to ask him to keep her safe, police say.

Investigators determined that for Cox, who died of a blood clot in November 2019, “his mission on this earth was to protect his sister.”

She and Tylee later told police they heard a gunshot as they were leaving the home after Charles Vallow started a “physical altercation,” according to a police affidavit.

When the children disappeared about three months later, it was their grandparents who first alerted authorities. The children’s remains were uncovered at Chad Daybell’s property in Salem, Idaho, in June 2020.

“It was discovered that Lori Vallow believed she was an exalted goddess and she and Chad were directed to lead 144,000 people in preparing for the end of the world,” the affidavit states. The couple believes they are capable of teleporting, causing harm to others, conjuring natural disasters and praying away demonic spirits attached to others they deemed “dark,” such as her kids and former husband, rather than “light.”

“Coincidentally, if you shared their belief system, your score was favorable,” investigators wrote in the affidavit. “If you offered any opposition to their belief or their destiny, you were seen as possessed."

Lori and Chad Daybell believed long before Charles Vallow's death that he’d died and his body was taken over by a dark spirit named “Ned Scneider” or “Hiplos.” Before his death, Charles Vallow had confronted his wife about her relationship with the author and said he'd call Tammy Daybell — Chad Daybell's then-wife — if she didn't come clean about it, the report says.

Investigators noted that Lori and Chad Daybell wed within a month after Tammy Daybell died in her sleep in October 2019. Now the couple is charged with conspiracy and Chad Daybell is charged with murder in his late wife's death.

Contributing: Garna Mejia, KSL-TV

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