Just months before Charles Vallow was shot to death, he sent a series of text messages to a friend describing his wife’s increasingly bizarre religious beliefs and his growing fears for the future ahead.
“Things have changed so dramatically in the past six months,” Charles Vallow allegedly said in a text message obtained by NBC’s Dateline.
The messages, sent to a friend on March 26, 2019, reveal some of Charles Vallow’s deepest thoughts as his marriage to Lori Vallow began to crumble.
“Something snapped. It is so unbelievable and scary…,” he wrote in the messages included in Friday’s Dateline episode “Where are the Children?”
Nearly four months later, on July 11, Charles was shot to death by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox. Cox, who later died in December, claimed the shooting had been in self-defense after Charles had struck him in the head with a bat during a heated argument.
No charges were ever filed against Cox, who died himself after mysteriously reporting he was having trouble breathing.
The marriage between Charles and Lori Vallow has come into the spotlight after she was arrested on charges of desertion after she failed to cooperate with authorities about the location of her missing children, daughter Tylee Ryan, 17, and adopted son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7. Lori, who is also sometimes referred to as Lori Daybell, is currently being held on a $1 million bond in an Idaho jail.
Months before Charles was shot, he described his wife’s frustration with her former life.
“I’m thankful she doesn’t see JJ…She wants him and for me to disappear. Seriously…,” Charles allegedly wrote an unidentified friend in text messages that were shared with Dateline freelance producer Luis Soltren.
He went on to tell the friend about Lori’s increasing fascination with the end of days and her involvement in groups he referred to as “woke” and “preparing a people.”
“She actually believes I am not Charles. She says an evil named Nick Schneider murdered me and is using me to violate her,” he wrote.
Charles referred to his wife’s transformation as the “freakiest thing I’ve ever experienced.”
Soltren said discovering the messages now seemed as though Charles was “back from the dead” to give new clues into the final months of his life.
“It was chilling to read them,” he said on Dateline.
Charles also detailed his growing concerns about his wife’s newfound religious beliefs in court documents filed by his attorney in February 2019, months before his death.
The documents, obtained by local station KSTU claimed that Lori had become “at times obsessive about near death experiences and spiritual visions.”
“Mother has told father [Charles Vallow] that she is sealed [eternally married] to the ancient Book of Mormon prophet Moroni and that she has lived numerous lives on numerous planets prior to this current life.”
Vallow allegedly believed she was the “natural grandmother” to Mormon founder Joseph Smith Jr. in a past life and thought that she “cannot taste death” because she was sent by God to be a leader in the new world after the end of days.
“On January 29, 2019, during a phone conversation between the parties and after their physical separation, Mother informed Father 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 if Father got in her way of her mission she would murder him,” the court documents state.
Those who knew Lori said she became increasingly fascinated with religious author Chad Daybell, who frequently wrote about the end of days.
Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Lori’s niece Melani Pawlowski, claimed in court documents that Lori believed her children were possessed and had become zombies, according to East Idaho News.
Charles apparently became so concerned about his own safety that he changed the beneficiary on his $1 million life insurance policy to his sister Kay Woodcock.
“He said because y’all are going to end up with J.J. and I don’t know that he’ll ever be independent and so you know, y’all will need the money to help,” Woodcock told Dateline.
She didn’t know at the time that her brother would be dead just a few months later and Lori would soon move to Idaho with her children Tylee and J.J. to be closer to Daybell. Both children disappeared in September.
Daybell’s 49-year-old wife Tammy died in October 2019, just a few months after Charles was shot to death. Lori and Daybell got married two weeks later.
Tammy Daybell’s death was initially believed to be from natural causes, but investigators later exhumed her body and performed an autopsy. The results have not been publicly announced, but earlier this month a letter obtained by the East Idaho News revealed that the Idaho Attorney General’s Office is investigating both Lori and Chad Daybell for possible murder, conspiracy or attempted murder charges in connection with Tammy’s sudden Oct. 19 death.
Lori’s children, Tylee and J.J., still remain missing.
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