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Lori Vallow Initially Told Police She Was A ‘Good Person’ When Questioned About Her Son JJ's Whereabouts

Lori Vallow also told Rexburg Police officers that her former husband and one of her brothers were trying to kill her for insurance money, forcing her to move around often. 

By Jill Sederstrom
Lori Vallow Faces New Charges After Children's Bodies Found

Doomsday cult mom Lori Vallow told police she was a “good person” and claimed her husband and brother had been trying to kill her for her life insurance policy, according to body camera footage played in court Monday.

Rexburg Police officers arrived at Vallow’s door on Nov. 26 as part of a welfare check on Vallow’s son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, after JJ’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock had been concerned that she hadn’t talked with her grandson in months.

Vallow told the officers that JJ was staying with her friend Melanie Gibb in Arizona—but authorities would later learn that was a lie.

JJ’s body and the remains of his 16-year-old sister Tylee Ryan were found in June buried on property owned by Vallow’s new husband Chad Daybell, a religious author who often wrote about the end times.

Det. Ray Hermosillo testified in court Monday that the last images Vallow took of the children alive were in September—several months before officers would come knocking on the door of her Rexburg, Idaho home.

Prosecutor Rob Wood played the body camera footage of Vallow’s initial contacts with police in court Monday as part of a preliminary hearing for Daybell, who is facing charges of concealing evidence in the case. The public was only allowed to listen to the audio of the footage—which was posted online by local station KUTV.

Chad Daybell 2

Officers told Vallow that they were “concerned” because their initial investigation into JJ’s whereabouts had been “kind of weird.”

“It’s very weird,” Vallow responded. “I’ve had to move around a lot. One of my brothers is trying to kill me. Not the brother that lives here, obviously. He’s kind of my protector. My other brother was in with my husband, who was trying to kill me for my $2 million life insurance policy.”

Vallow appeared to be alluding to her fourth husband Charles Vallow who was shot to death in July 2019 by her brother Alex Cox—the same brother that had been staying in Idaho with her and serving as her “protector.”

Cox told authorities at the time of the shooting that it had been in self-defense.

Vallow went on to say it had been a “horrible year” for her family and that they constantly had to move around to maintain their safety.

She told police she was planning to move back to Arizona to put her adopted son JJ in school because he “had such a hard time” going to school in Idaho.

Vallow claimed Woodcock, who is Vallow’s sister-in-law and also JJ’s natural grandmother, had been trying to take JJ from her since Charles had died.

“Since he passed away, she’s been trying to fight me for him and being really horrible to me,” she told police.

She also complained that Woodcock had received Charles' $1 million life insurance policy while she “got nothing” after he died.

“I don’t tell people the truth about where we are and what we’re doing because of those reasons,” Vallow said as she started to get emotional. “So, I look like a suspect but I am a good person who raised all of my kids. I’ve done everything I am supposed to do in life.”

Vallow told police her daughter was going to Brigham Young University-Idaho, but Wynn Hill, the dean of students at the school, took the stand Monday to say that the university never had any records of Ryan attending the university, according to East Idaho News.

Testimony ended on Monday with Vallow’s friend Melanie Gibb taking the stand. Gibb admitted she initially lied to Gilbert Police and told them that JJ had been with her but that he'd returned home to his mom. She later told police that hadn’t been true and that she hadn’t seen JJ since a visit to Idaho in September, according to a probable cause statement in Daybell's case obtained by Oxygen.com.

Gibb also provided a 21-minute phone call she had recorded between herself, Vallow and Daybell in December in which she confronted the newlywed couple about JJ’s whereabouts.

Vallow claimed in the call that JJ was “safe and happy” but had to be moved because of Woodcock.

“I know exactly where he is,” she said. “He’s perfectly fine and safe.”

The call was played in court Monday afternoon before the hearing was dismissed for the day. The hearing is expected to resume Tuesday with cross examination of Gibb from Daybell’s attorney John Prior.

Vallow is also facing charges of conspiracy to destroy, alter or conceal evidence in connection to her children’s disappearance and is being held in jail on a $1 million bond.

Neither Vallow or Daybell has been charged with the children’s deaths at this point.