Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Sept. 11, 2022. It has been updated.
The idyllic, quaint town of Rexburg, Idaho, might as well be Mayberry — it’s one of the safest cities in the U.S. But this town’s quiet atmosphere was interrupted when two children disappeared and were later found dead in a backyard near Rexburg.
At the center of it all are Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell, a married couple enmeshed in fringe, apocalyptic religious groups. They have been charged with murdering Lori’s two children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua “J.J.” Vallow.
This timeline goes through the key events leading up to the deaths of the children and outlines what has happened since the police arrested Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell.
The key players
Here are the key players in the ‘doomsday mom’ timeline:
Who is Lori Vallow?
Also known as Lori Ryan Vallow, Lori Vallow Daybell and Lori Ryan Daybell. Dubbed the “doomsday mom.” According to CBS News, Vallow Daybell is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder in the cases of J.J. Vallow, Tylee Ashlyn Ryan and Tammy Daybell. She is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the case of Charles Vallow. She is currently married to Chad Daybell.
Who is Charles Vallow?
Lori Vallow Daybell’s fourth husband. The couple was married in Las Vegas in 2006.
Who is Chad Daybell?
He wrote more than 25 books that are considered “doomsday literature” and is the president of Spring Creek Book Company, which publishes apocalyptic literature and near death experience accounts. Daybell is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder in the cases of J.J. Vallow, Tylee Ashlyn Ryan and Tammy Daybell. He is currently married to Lori Vallow Daybell.
Who is Tammy Daybell?
First wife of Chad Daybell. They were married in the Manti Utah Temple in 1990.
Who is Tylee Ashlyn Ryan?
Daughter of Joseph Ryan and Lori Vallow Daybell, who lived with Charles and Lori Vallow.
Who is Joshua Jaxon “J.J.” Vallow?
Charles Vallow’s nephew who was adopted by Charles and Lori Vallow.
Who is Melanie Gibb?
Friend of the family. Chad Daybell at one point claimed J.J. was staying with Gibb.
Who is Alex Cox?
Lori Vallow Daybell’s brother.
Who is Julie Rowe?
Involved in prepper, apocalyptic and energy healing religious groups. She said that she was excommunicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 9, 2019, for apostasy and preaching false doctrine.
Timeline of events
The early years
March 9, 1990: Tammy and Chad Daybell married in the Manti Utah Temple, according to her obituary.
March 1, 2004: According to Tammy Daybell’s obituary, she founded the company Spring Creek Book Company with Chad Daybell. She served as Chief Financial Officer while making book covers.
Aug. 1, 2007: Chad Daybell published the first novel in his fictional series “Standing in Holy Places.”
2007: Alex Cox was convicted after physically assaulting Joseph Ryan, former husband of Lori Vallow Daybell (they divorced in 2005), with a taser.
- Adam Cox, brother of Alex Cox, told Texas detectives, “Lori and Alex planned to kill Joe.”
- Angeline Law, a close friend of Vallow Daybell, said, “Lori had said before that she hired her brother to kill Joe because of stuff he did to them.”
Sometime in 2014: Suzanne Freeman, an author who published with Spring Creek Book Company, began to feel uncomfortable with the direction of Daybell’s company.
- Freeman told East Idaho News, “He started publishing non-Mormon doctrine stories — people’s different experiences and stuff, and I just told him there’s something that’s not quite right.”
February 2014: Julie Rowe met Chad Daybell on the online forum A Voice of Warning, which discusses preparedness, visions and dreams.
May 16, 2014: Daybell published Rowe’s book “A Greater Tomorrow,” where she claims that she had a vision in 2004 in which she saw the destruction of the world and the Second Coming.
Sometime in 2015: According to an anonymous friend who spoke with Fox affiliate WNYW, Vallow Daybell began to become obsessed with Daybell and his book series “Standing in Holy Places.”
June 2, 2017: Freeman emailed Chad Daybell to request her publishing rights back and said, “I know without a shadow of a doubt what you are preaching will not lead to happiness. It will lead to death and sorrow.”
Sometime in October 2018: Daybell spoke at the “Preparing a People” conference in St. George, Utah. According to footage published by ABC, Vallow Daybell met Daybell at this conference.
Oct. 26, 2018: According to a felony indictment reviewed by East Idaho News, Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell began discussing using their religious beliefs to justify killing J.J. and Tylee.
Nov. 26, 2018: Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell appeared together on a podcast called “Time to Warrior Up,” which was made by Preparing a People, with Jason Mow and Melanie Gibb.
- Although Preparing a People has since deleted the podcast, a YouTuber downloaded the podcast and reposted it.
Mid-December 2018: Rowe stated that this was the last time that she spoke with Daybell in person.
Death of Charles Vallow and Tammy Daybell
Jan. 31, 2019: CBS News published Gilbert Police Department body camera footage of Charles Vallow telling an officer that Vallow Daybell had become unhinged.
- In late January, Vallow Daybell had told Vallow that she was a “translated being who cannot taste death sent by god to lead the 144,000 into the Millennium.”
- According to Fox affiliate KSAZ, Vallow tried to bring Vallow Daybell in for a 72-hour evaluation.
February 2019: Vallow filed for divorce from Vallow Daybell. In documents obtained by KSAZ, Vallow alleged that she threatened to murder him if he tried to stop her preparations for the Second Coming in July 2020.
July 2019: Vallow Daybell and Daybell began exchanging text messages in what investigators described as being like “a romance novel.”
- According to East Idaho News, they used the names James and Elena to describe a romantic, sexual relationship.
Sept. 8, 2019: Lori Vallow Daybell, Alex Cox, Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow visited Yellowstone National Park.
- The FBI requested information from visitors of Yellowstone on Sept. 8 because it was the last day Tylee was seen alive.
Sept. 9, 2019: East Idaho News reported that Cox was on Chad Daybell’s property and Chad Daybell allegedly texted his wife Tammy Daybell that he shot a raccoon and buried it in the backyard.
Sept. 23, 2019: East Idaho News stated that this was the last day that J.J. was seen alive. He was at the Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg. Vallow Daybell unenrolled J.J. and said that she would homeschool him.
The disappearance of the children and discovery of their remains
Nov. 26, 2019: The police performed a welfare check because Kay Woodcock, grandmother of J.J., told authorities that she and her husband had not spoken to J.J. in months. J.J. was last seen on Sept. 23, 2019, at Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg, according to East Idaho News.
- Vallow Daybell told authorities that Melanie Gibb was with J.J., but Gibb told authorities that was not the case.
Dec. 1, 2019: Vallow Daybell and Daybell flew to Hawaii.
Dec. 12, 2019: Alex Cox died. According to East Idaho News, Cox died of natural causes because he had blood clots in the arteries of his lungs.
Dec. 20, 2019: The Rexburg police department declared J.J. and Tylee missing persons and called Vallow and Daybell “persons of interest.”
- The police asked the public for information and said that the children’s disappearance could be linked to the death of Tammy Daybell.
Dec. 27, 2019: Julie Rowe told Fox affiliate KSTU that Chad Daybell had a vision that Tammy Daybell would die.
Jan. 26, 2020: Kauai, Hawaii, police department served Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell search warrants. The day before, Vallow Daybell was given five days to return J.J. and Tylee to Rexburg.
Jan. 30, 2020: According to East Idaho News, Vallow Daybell did not return her children to Rexburg.
Feb. 20, 2020: According to USA Today, Vallow Daybell was arrested after she failed to meet the deadline to return her children. She was held in Madison County, Idaho and was denied lower bail.
April 9, 2020: In a letter given to East Idaho News, the Idaho Attorney General’s office stated that Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell were under investigation for murder.
June 9, 2020: The Rexburg police department found human remains in Daybell’s backyard. It was later confirmed that they were the remains of J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
June 10, 2020: Daybell was arrested and charged with two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. According to USA Today, authorities further investigated his property.
- Daybell’s bail was set at $1 million with the requirement that he remain in the immediate area and wear an ankle monitor.
Sept. 1, 2021: Daybell’s children spoke with CBS News’ 48 Hours and told them that they believed that their father was innocent and Vallow Daybell fooled him.
April 11, 2022: District Judge Steven Boyce ruled that Vallow Daybell was competent to stand trial.
May 26, 2022: A judge ruled that Vallow Daybell and Daybell will be tried together in 2023 for murder and conspiracy to commit murder. If convicted, the death penalty will be considered.
Aug. 24, 2022: Netflix announced that they will release a docuseries about Vallow Daybell entitled “Sins of Our Mother.”
Aug. 31, 2022: A judge dismissed Vallow Daybell’s defense team’s motion to ban cameras from the court room. Cameras will be allowed.
Sept. 4, 2022: Colby Ryan, son of Lori Vallow and star of the docuseries “Sins of Our Mother,” was arrested and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on two counts of sexual assault.
Oct. 6, 2022: On Oct. 6, 2022, Lori Vallow’s trial was postponed until competency can be determined. Chad Daybell’s attorney filed a motion to postpone his trial and sever it from Vallow’s trial.
Oct. 28, 2022: The Deseret News reported that the judge ruled in favor of postponing Daybell’s trial. Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, argued that his trial should be severed from Vallow’s trial. The judge will issue a decision in writing. The trial date has not been set again yet.
Nov. 16, 2022: East Idaho News reported that Vallow was found competent to stand trial. A new trial date not been set.
Jan. 9, 2023: Originally, this was the date that the trial of Vallow and Daybell was set to begin. Now the trial date has not been set again. The trial was set for 10 weeks and will take place in Boise, Idaho. According to East Idaho News, attorney David LeRoy, who has served as a prosecuting attorney, said that this trial is expected to be unlike any other trial. LeRoy told East Idaho News, “This horrendous set of allegations, the interrelationship of multiple death allegations, the overlay of religion and extreme views that are not related to any conventional religious view — this is utterly unique.”
March 2, 2023: Boyce ruled Chad Daybell’s trial will be severed from Lori Vallow’s. Daybell’s trial does not have a date set yet, per Deseret News.
April 3, 2023: Lori Vallow’s trial started in Ada County, Idaho.
May 12, 2023: Lori Vallow was found guilty of murder, conspiracy and grand theft, according to Deseret News.
June 12, 2023: Chad Daybell’s trial is set for April 1, 2024, according to East Idaho News.
July 31, 2023: Lori Vallow was sentenced to life in prison, per Deseret News. She is also charged in Arizona with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the attempted shooting of her niece’s former husband, Brandon Boudreaux, and conspiracy to commit murder in connection to the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow.