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Crime News Family Crimes

‘They Were Just Little Kids:’ Lori Vallow Daybell’s Tense 2020 Call With Sister Played In Court

"You got wedding pictures while your kids are in the ground?" Summer Cox Shiflet asked her sister, Lori Vallow Daybell, in a June 2020 phone call.

By Dorian Geiger
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

Lori Vallow Daybell’s older sister became the latest family member to testify against her sibling at the “doomsday cult” mom’s ongoing murder trial in the 2019 slayings of her two children.

Summer Cox Shiflet, who became emotional on the witness stand as she spoke of her slain nephew and niece — 7-year-old Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — recounted to the jury on Tuesday the exact moment she confronted Vallow Daybell over their whereabouts in February 2020. 

RELATED: ‘No Pets Or Children’: Chad Daybell’s Email To Hawaii Realtor Revealed At Lori Vallow Daybell's Trial

"I don't remember the exact wording, but she basically told me she knew where they were and they were safe," Shiflet told the court, according to East Idaho News.

Vallow Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell are charged with the murders of Tylee and J.J., who were first reported missing in 2019. The couple has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

Tuesday marked the 15th day of Vallow Daybell’s trial. She reportedly smiled as her sister took the stand this week. Shiflet told the jury she’d been active in both of the kids' upbringings. She described Tylee as “beautiful and witty and very talented in a lot of different ways.”

Lori Vallow Daybell sits in a police car.

Vallow Daybell and Daybell fled Idaho and eloped in Hawaii following the disappearances of J.J. and Tylee. In a separate, tense video call played for the jury stemming from June 2020, Shiflet vehemently grilled her sister about the two children’s whereabouts.

"You went off to Hawaii and were dancing on the beach as the kids were in the ground," Shiflet told Vallow Daybell on the call, according to the East Idaho News. "You had to know they were there! I don't understand! They were just little kids! I don't understand!"

J.J. and Tylee’s decomposing bodies were found on Chad Daybell’s property on June 9, 2020.

"Lori if you let this happen to them and put them in the ground like a piece of trash, I don't know you," Shiflet adds on the call. "We would have taken them!"

Vallow Daybell responded on the video call by insisting to her sister she “would love to” tell the truth about what happened to the two youngsters.

Joshua Vallow and Tylee Ryan

"You don't think I'm in pain?," Vallow Daybell shot back at Shiflet.

"No I don't," Shiflet blasted her. "You were dancing on the beach having a great time! You got wedding pictures while your kids are in the ground?"

"I am telling you, because I love you with all my heart, please consider that Chad has lied and been [deceitful] and you have been deceived and this is not what you think it is," Shiflet said on the call. "There is nothing okay about killing children. Nothing ... you threw them away like garbage! In a pet cemetery."

Shiflet told Vallow Daybell that J.J. and Tylee were “innocent” and “loved” before the line disconnected on the video call.

Shiflet had previously openly disavowed Vallow Daybell on social media after the children's bodies were found.

"Tylee and JJ are completely irreplaceable in our family. I have loved them greatly all of their lives," Shiflet wrote in a June 22, 2020 Facebook post. “There are no words that can capture this loss. Words are just inadequate.” 

Vallow Daybell could serve life in prison if convicted in the murders of her two kids. A judge previously ruled she won’t face the death penalty if found guilty. Chad Daybell will be tried separately in the double murder case.

Vallow Daybell is also facing charges for allegedly conspiring to murder Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.