Doomsday cult mom Lori Vallow has pleaded not guilty to the two felony charges against her in connection to the discovery of her missing children’s dead bodies and is slated to go to trial in April.
Vallow is facing two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence in Fremont County after the bodies of her children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, were discovered on the property of her husband Chad Daybell in June.
Vallow appeared via Zoom Thursday for the brief appearance before District Judge Dane H. Watkins Jr. alongside her lawyer Mark Means, who entered the not guilty plea on her behalf, according to East Idaho News.
Vallow, dressed in a blue sweater and wearing a light blue medical mask because of COVID-19 restrictions, appeared to show little emotion during the five-minute hearing, KSL reports.
Vallow’s jury trial is set to begin on April 2.
Daybell, a religious author whose fiction work mostly involves "end of days" themes, is also facing two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence along with two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence in the case. He also pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to stand trial beginning Jan. 11.
His attorney John Prior requested last week that his trial be moved from Fremont County after concerns that he could not get a “fair and impartial jury” in the county in light of the intense media surrounding the case, according to local station KSL.
Tylee’s charred remains were discovered buried near a pet cemetery on Daybell’s property on June 9, according to testimony from Rexburg police Det. Ray Hermosillo.
Hermosillo, who took the stand during a preliminary hearing for Daybell in August, said Tylee’s younger brother, JJ, was also found buried on the property, still clad in his red pajamas, bound with duct tape and covered in plastic.
Tylee was last seen alive during a family outing with her mom, brother and uncle Alex Cox to the Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 8, 2019, according to an affidavit of probable cause in Vallow’s case obtained by Oxygen.com.
JJ was last seen a few weeks later on Sept. 22 at his mother’s apartment by Vallow’s friends Melanie Gibb and David Warwick, who had been visiting the family at the time.
Gibb later told police that Vallow told her in the spring of 2019, months before the children disappeared, that Tylee had become a "zombie," a term she used for someone inhabited by a dark spirit, according to the probable cause statement.
Gibb said Vallow expressed a similar belief about JJ just before his disappearance: that he'd “become a ‘zombie.’" She pointed out behaviors that supposedly proved her conclusion "such as [JJ] sitting still and watching tv," and claimed that "JJ said he loved Satan." Gibb told investigators that Vallow also saw the boy's "increased vocabulary as evidence that JJ was now a zombie,” the court documents said.
Charles Vallow, Lori Vallow’s fourth husband, had also expressed a growing concern about his wife’s increasingly extreme religious beliefs before he was killed by Cox in July 2019; Cox told police that he had shot his brother-in-law in self-defense.
Another seemingly untimely death in Vallow's orbit happened months later that paved the way for her marriage to Daybell. Daybell's wife Tammy died in October 2019, a death initially attributed to natural causes. Vallow and Daybell married just two weeks later and now investigators are revisiting Tammy's death as potentially "suspicious." The Idaho Attorney General’s Office is currently investigating both Vallow and Daybell in connection with that case.
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