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Prosecutors decline to charge Chad Daybell in death of Lori Daybell’s former husband

Chad Daybell, Lori Vallow’s current husband, walks into court in Lihue, Hawaii.
Chad Daybell, Lori Vallow’s current husband, walks into court for his wife’s hearing on child abandonment and other charges in Lihue, Hawaii, on Feb. 21, 2020.
Dennis Fujimoto, The Garden Island via AP

An Idaho author accused of murder in the deaths of his new wife’s two children, as well as the death of his former spouse, will not face charges in the killing of a fourth person, Arizona prosecutors said.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s office confirmed Wednesday that it has declined to charge Chad Daybell in the 2019 shooting death of Charles Vallow, the former husband of Daybell’s new wife Lori Vallow Daybell.

Wednesday’s development is the latest in the bizarre case that has centered around the couple’s apocalyptic religious beliefs and the deaths of several close to them in the wake of the September 2019 disappearance of “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16. The children’s remains were unearthed last summer at Chad Daybell's property in Salem, Idaho. The couple is in custody awaiting trial on charges of murder and conspiracy.

Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
This combination photo of undated photos released by National Center for Missing & Exploited Children show children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, left, and Tylee Ryan.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via AP

In Arizona, Lori Vallow Daybell is accused of plotting with her brother, Alex Cox, to kill her former husband before she wed Daybell in what police called a “master plan.” She faces a single count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in Maricopa County.

Prosecutors in a letter dated June 29 notified Chandler police of the decision not to charge Chad Daybell, citing “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.” They did not provide further details.

Cox had told detectives he shot Charles Vallow twice in self-defense in July 2019, but police say an autopsy revealed the angle of a second gunshot wound indicates Vallow was already lying on the floor. Cox called to report the shooting as if it had just happened, but waited more than 40 minutes and didn't perform CPR, detectives concluded. Cox later died of a blood clot, according to authorities.

Investigators noted that Lori and Chad Daybell wed within a month after Tammy Daybell died in her sleep in October 2019. Now the couple is charged with conspiracy and Chad Daybell is charged with murder in his late wife's death.

He has pleaded not guilty to each charge and is set to go on trial in December. Lori Daybell's case is on hold after a psychological evaluation found she is not competent to stand trial and a judge ordered her to undergo mental health treatment.

Contributing: Garna Mejia, KSL-TV