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Lori Vallow trial: Inside contentious relationship between 'cult mom' and her deceased husband

Idaho prosecutors on Friday displayed messages between so-called “cult mom” Lori Vallow and her deceased ex-husband, Charles Vallow, indicative of a contentious relationship between the pair prior to Charles’ 2019 homicide, according to local reports.

“You have destroyed me. I have never been lower in life,” Charles Vallow told Lori in a June 30, 2019, text, according to FOX 10 reporter Justin Lum. ” . . . We have a son to raise. That’s all we have in common.” 

Lori Vallow is on trial for the murders of her two children, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old J.J. Vallow, and her husband Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, in the autumn of 2019.

In June 2019, Charles Vallow found a letter to Chad Daybell signed in his name that he said he did not write, according to Nathan Duncan, a detective with the Chandler Police Department in Arizona, Lum reported.

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A medical examiner ruled the death of Charles Vallow, 62, former husband of Lori Vallow, a homicide in 2021.

A medical examiner ruled the death of Charles Vallow, 62, former husband of Lori Vallow, a homicide in 2021. (KSAZ)

“This is Charles Vallow from Arizona. We really enjoyed having you stay with us back in November at the Prepare A People Conference,” the letter, which came from an email linked to Lori Vallow’s phone number, reads.

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Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell first met at the Prepare A People conference. Lori Vallow’s friends and family would later reveal that the pair had similar apocalyptic religious views and felt they had been married in a past life.

An Idaho judge has blocked Lori Vallow's request for a meeting with her husband, Chad Daybell.

An Idaho judge has blocked Lori Vallow’s request for a meeting with her husband, Chad Daybell. (Madison County Jail)

The letter continues with an offer to Chad Daybell to ghostwrite a book for Charles and even to fly him back down to Arizona and “cover” his expenses.

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“Is there any way to convince you to come here for a couple days to help me finish it?” the fictitious letter states, according to Lum.

Charles Vallow died in July 2019. Two months later, in September 2019, Tylee and J.J. went missing for months. Tammy Daybell died of asphyxiation in November 2019. Cox died later that year of an apparent blood clot in December 2019.

Charles Vallow died in July 2019. Two months later, in September 2019, Tylee and J.J. went missing for months. Tammy Daybell died of asphyxiation in November 2019. Cox died later that year of an apparent blood clot in December 2019. (KASZ/ Facebook/ Post Register/ John Roark, POOL)

After discovering the letter, Charles texted Lori confronting her about her affair with Chad and calling her evil, Lum reported from the Ada County courtroom on Friday.

Charles threatened to send the letter to Chad’s wife, Tammy, and told Tammy that he had information about Chad and Lori’s relationship.

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In the body of an email sent to Tammy’s work email address, Charles wrote, “Your husband and my wife,” and in the body, he wrote: “are having an affair. Her name is Lori Vallow. . . .”

The defense team for Lori Vallow—who allegedly killed her two children with help from her husband, Chad Daybell—does not believe she "actually participated" in the murders.

The defense team for Lori Vallow—who allegedly killed her two children with help from her husband, Chad Daybell—does not believe she “actually participated” in the murders.

Duncan testified that there was no indication that Tammy ever read the emails from Charles, Lum reported.

Months earlier, in July 2019, Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, allegedly shot Charles Vallow to death in Arizona, claiming self-defense. His death was ruled a homicide in 2021.

Two months later, in September 2019, Tylee and J.J. went missing for months. Tammy Daybell died of asphyxiation in November 2019. Cox died later that year of an apparent blood clot in December 2019.

Lori and Chad Daybell are accused of killing 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old J.J. Vallow in 2019.

Lori and Chad Daybell are accused of killing 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old J.J. Vallow in 2019. (Rexberg Police Department)

Lori Vallow purchased wedding rings while her children were still missing and Chad and Tammy were still married. J.J. and Tylee were gone for months when police say the couple lied about the children’s whereabouts and then slipped away to Hawaii, where they got married in November 2019.

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Authorities eventually found J.J. and Tylee’s bodies buried on Daybell’s property in rural Idaho in June 2020.

In this aerial photo, investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell's residence in Salem, Idaho, on June 9, 2020. A mother charged with murder in the deaths of her two children is set to stand trial in Idaho. The proceedings against Lori Vallow Daybell, the wife of Chad Daybell, beginning Monday, April 3, 2023, could reveal new details in the strange, doomsday-focused case.

In this aerial photo, investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell’s residence in Salem, Idaho, on June 9, 2020. A mother charged with murder in the deaths of her two children is set to stand trial in Idaho. The proceedings against Lori Vallow Daybell, the wife of Chad Daybell, beginning Monday, April 3, 2023, could reveal new details in the strange, doomsday-focused case. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register )

Robertson noted that Tylee’s and J.J.’s causes of death have not been released yet, though he thinks they will be brought up in trial. Investigators found Tylee’s remains dismembered and burned, and J.J.’s body was wrapped in plastic and tied with duct tape.

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Vallow and Daybell allegedly collected Tylee’s and J.J.’s Social Security benefits between Oct. 1, 2019, and Jan. 22, 2020, after their murder. Authorities arrested Vallow in February 2020 and Daybell in June 2020. 

Prosecutors said in their opening statements Monday that Vallow was motivated by “money, power and sex” to kill her children and Daybell’s first wife nearly four years ago.

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