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The disturbing allegations against Lori Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell have dominated the national news cycle for nearly two years, but a new podcast takes a deeper look at how Vallow—a seemingly perfect suburban mom—became linked to the series of deaths surrounding her family.
Rather than determining "who" carried out the murders, UCP Audio’s “The Followers: Madness of Two” examines why the crimes may have happened at all.
“That was the lens we really used to shape our research,” Sarah Treleaven, the host and producer of the five-part series told Oxygen.com. “You know, we really wanted to talk to people who could tell us how something that seemed unthinkable could possibly happen.”
Vallow and Daybell are facing charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of Vallow’s children, Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, who were found buried on Daybell’s Idaho property last year. Daybell is also accused of killing his wife Tammy in 2019 and Vallow is facing charges in Arizona of conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her husband, Charles Vallow, a few months earlier.
Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, while Vallow is currently being held at a mental health facility for treatment after a judge declared her unfit to stand trial in the deaths of her children earlier this year.
While the first episode of the podcast familiarizes listeners with the basics of the case, the subsequent episodes delve deeper into Vallow and Daybell’s past and feature interviews with the pair’s family members, close friends, private investigators and experts, who help peel back the layers of the sensational case.
“I think what we really wanted to get past was the binary black and white, good and bad narrative that can often dominate true crime and what we really wanted to show … was the slow erosion of several lives,” she said. “That every unthinkable act is thinkable to someone and we wanted to pull back the curtain and show how all of this, the deaths of JJ, Tylee, Tammy and Charles became possible.”
It’s a case that has continued to captivate the public since December of 2019 when investigators first announced they were searching for the missing children and asserted in a press release that Vallow had “completely refused to assist this investigation.”
It was Vallow’s refusal to help in the search—instead hopping a plane to Hawaii with Daybell—that first drew Treleaven to the case.
“It was actually before I was even involved in the podcast and I remember reading that there was a mother whose children were missing and she was refusing to help find them and I just remember being so incredibly struck by that. It is so counter-normative,” she said. “It violates everything we think we know and I just remember instantly ... having great clarity that there was sort of no way that this could end in anything other than tragedy.”
To learn more, tune in Wednesday to UCP Audio’s “The Followers: Madness of Two,” wherever you listen to podcasts.
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