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Lori Vallow has been sentenced to life behind bars. What happens next?

While Vallow’s sentencing brought some justice in a chilling case that spans bizarre cult beliefs, missing children, murder and mystery deaths, the saga is still far from over

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 01 August 2023 11:03 BST
Who is Lori Vallow? ‘Doomsday cult mom’ on trial for the murders of her two children

“Doomsday cult mom” Lori Vallow will spend the remainder of her days in prison after being convicted of the murders of her two children and conspiracy to murder her new husband’s first wife in a case that has horrified the nation for the last three years.

Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, seven, vanished without a trace in September 2019, sparking a multi-state search while their mother jetted off to Hawaii to marry her fifth husband Chad Daybell.

The children’s bodies were finally discovered nine months later buried in a pet cemetery on Mr Daybell’s property in Idaho.

One month after the children disappeared, Mr Daybell’s wife Tammy was also murdered in her home. At the time, her sudden death –aged 49 – was ruled natural causes until an exhumation and autopsy revealed she died by asphyxiation.

Vallow and Mr Daybell were ultimately charged over their murders, with prosecutors alleging that the couple conspired with Vallow’s brother Alex Cox to kill the victims – for both money, lust and to follow their bizarre doomsday cult beliefs.

Cox also mysteriously died three months after the children’s disappearance.

After a six-week trial, Vallow was convicted on all charges over the deaths of Tylee, JJ and Tammy back in May.

On Monday (31 July), she was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after her victims’ devastated family members gave heartwrenching victim impact statements to the court.

The 49-year-old had been facing the death penalty before a last-minute ruling by the judge just weeks before the trial began took it off the table.

Lori Vallow gives no reaction as she is convicted on all charges back in May (Judge Steven Boyce)

While her fate may mark the culmination of a chilling case that spans bizarre cult beliefs, missing children, murder and mystery deaths, the saga is still far from over.

Here’s what’s coming next in the shocking case:

Vallow’s trial in Arizona

Separate to the Idaho case, Vallow is also awaiting trial in Arizona over the murder of her fourth husband Charles Vallow and attempted murder of her niece’s husband Brandon Boudreaux.

On 11 July 2019 – two months before JJ and Tylee were murdered – Vallow’s brother Alex Cox shot and killed Charles at her home in Chandler, Arizona.

Charles and Vallow had been married since 2006 and had together adopted JJ – who was the biological grandson of Vallow’s sister.

In early 2019, they became estranged with Charles filing for divorce, saying that he feared for the safety of himself and the children and that Ms Vallow had threatened to kill him.

That February, he had pleaded with authorities to stage a mental health intervention for his wife, warning that she believed she was a god preparing for a second coming.

Charles and Lori Vallow pictured together. Lori is charged with conspiracy to murder Charles in Arizona (Provided)

Court documents reveal that he had also learned about Vallow’s relationship with Mr Daybell that June and had emailed Tammy with the information. He and one of Ms Vallow’s other brothers were planning an intervention over her cult beliefs at the time of his death – an intervention she is believed to have been tipped off about.

That morning, Charles had gone to Vallow’s home to pick up JJ when he was shot dead by Cox.

Cox initially claimed self-defence, saying that Charles attacked him with a baseball bat.

However, Cox did not perform CPR on Vallow and waited 43 minutes to call 911. Investigators say that Charles was also already down on the ground when Cox shot him a second time.

At the time, Charles’ death was ruled self-defence.

Almost two years later in 2021, a Maricopa County grand jury charged Vallow with conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree. She is accused of conspiring with Cox to murder Charles.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s office announced that it did not charge Mr Daybell over Charles’ murder – but only because there was “no reasonable likelihood of conviction”.

Brandon Boudreaux testified at Vallow’s Idaho trial about the attempted shooting (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Days after her conviction in Idaho, officials in Arizona announced that a grand jury had indicted her on fresh charges – this time for conspiring to murder Mr Boudreaux.

Mr Boudreaux testified at Vallow’s Idaho trial that he was the victim of an attempted shooting attempt outside his home back in October 2019.

Investigators say that Cox tried to shoot him but missed.

Following her sentencing, Vallow is expected to be extradited to Arizona to be served with the indictment.

Chad Daybell’s trial

Vallow’s lover, fellow cult leader and alleged accomplice Mr Daybell is yet to stand trial for the three murders of Tylee, JJ and Tammy.

He is facing the same charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy and grand theft in connection with the deaths of JJ and Tylee and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Tammy.

Mr Daybell is also charged with an additional count of the first-degree murder of Tammy.

Mr Daybell is facing the death penalty on the charges.

Chad and Tammy Daybell pictured before her murder (Facebook)

The doomsday cult couple were due to stand trial together before the judge ruled in March – just weeks before the trial was due to begin – that the cases would be severed.

While Vallow’s trial began as planned in early April, this pushed Mr Daybell’s case back to a later date.

His trial is scheduled to start on 1 April 2024.

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