Court Documents Reveal Idaho Mom Called Kids 'Zombies' Before Their Deaths


The long, strange saga involving two missing Idaho children, their mother and the author of apocalyptic fiction has taken another sad turn. According to new court documents released this week, the mother allegedly believed her two children were 'zombies' and the had 'dark spirits.'

Lori Daybell, the mother of the two missing children, Tylee Ryan, 17, and her brother, Joshua "J.J." Vallow, was taken into custody earlier this year after she failed to produce her children to authorities. It wasn't until June 9th, that authorities discovered the children's remains on property that belonged to her new husband, Chad Daybell, the author of several self-published doomsday books.

According to the court documents, Lori Daybell's best friend, Melanie Gibb, has been working with the Rexburg Police Department over the last several months as they tried to track down Tylee and JJ. According to Rexburg police Lt. Ron Ball, Gibb last saw JJ alive when she was visiting Lori at her apartment in Rexburg last September.

“Gibb reports that when she arrived in Rexburg, Lori Vallow informed her that JJ Vallow had become a ‘zombie,'" Ball wrote. “Gibb further reports that the term ‘zombie’ refers to an individual whose mortal spirit has left their body and that their body is now the host of another spirit. The new spirit in a ‘zombie’ is always considered a ‘dark spirit.’”

Gibb says Lori also called Tylee a zombie in spring 2019 after the teenager refused to baby-sit her little brother. According to Gibbs, Lori first learned about the concept from Chad Daybell earlier that year. The couple reportedly believed that when a zombie takes over a person's body, the person's "true spirit" is sent into 'limbo' and will be stuck there until the host's body is killed, court documents allege.

"As such, death of the physical body is seen as the mechanism by which the body's original spirit can be released from limbo," the documents state. As such, Lori believed the only way to save her children was through killing them.  

Lori and Chad also believed they were spiritual leaders and they were on a mission to "rid the world of zombies."

“She was told by Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow that they held the religious belief that they were a part of the ‘Church of the Firstborn’ and that their mission in that Church was to lead the ‘144,000’ mentioned in the Book of Revelation," according to the police document.

Authorities have not charged Lori or Chad Daybell for the children's deaths, however, both are currently behind bars on other charges. Chad Daybell was arrested earlier this month on charges of destroying or concealing the children's bodies. Lori Daybell is behind bars on charges of child abandonment and obstructing an investigation.

The case has attracted worldwide attention due to the couple's bizarre beliefs. The strange case began in 2019 when Lori first became involved with Chad Daybell, the author of several religious-themed self-published fiction books, some of which that focus on near-death experiences. According to court documents of Daybell's divorce from her first husband, Charles Vallow, obtained by The Arizona Republic, Lori once claimed that she was a "god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ's second coming in July 2020" and that Lori didn't want anything more to do with her family so she could better focus on her "more important mission."

Later that summer, Charles Vallow was killed by Lori's brother, Alex Cox after an argument between Charles and Lori escalated. Cox later died from a blood clot in his lung in December.

Following Charles' death, Lori moved to Idaho where Chad lived and ran a small publishing company that put out his books about doomsday scenarios apparently based on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Chad was also known to host podcasts that talked about preparing for the biblical end times and even claimed to have received visions from "beyond the veil."

Chad's wife at the time, Tammy Daybell, died in October of apparent natural causes, however authorities had her body exhumed in December for an autopsy. Those results have not been released.

In November, relatives of Tylee and JJ became concerned that they hadn't seen the children in several weeks. Authorities initially questioned the couple about the two children's whereabouts in November. However, when investigators returned the next day to follow-up, they discovered the couple had fled their home in Idaho. It wasn't until January that detectives were able to track them down in Kauai, Hawaii.

Tylee was last seen on September 8th during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with her mother, her brother and Cox, court documents state. It's unclear what happened next, but court documents state that Chad Daybell texted his wife, Tammy, that he had burned some plants and shot a raccoon, burying it in an area of the property where the family had previously buried other dead pets.

Cox's cell phone data shows that he made a trip to Chad's property in Idaho and was near where the children's bodies were eventually discovered. Court documents state that Cox was suspicious because raccoons are nocturnal in nature and Chad had said the animal was shot during the day.

JJ was last seen by Lori's friend, Melanie Gibb, on September 22 at Lori's apartment. The next morning, JJ was gone and Lori reportedly told Gibb that Cox had taken him for a while.

Authorities say an analysis of Cox's cellphone activity again showed him at locations on Chad Daybell's property where the remains were later found. According to court documents, it was Cox's cellphone activity that led them to the children's remains.

Photos: Rexburg Police Department,


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