By: Andrea Cipriano, MAFP
This is Part 2 in a 3 part series diving into Lori’s psychological profile, the deaths connected to her, and a timeline reconstruction of what happened to Lori’s children, JJ and Tylee.
On May 12, 2023, a jury found Lori Vallow Daybell guilty on all counts of killing her two children and conspiring in the murder of her husband’s ex-wife.
On July 31, 2023, Lori was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In a dramatic reading before her sentencing, Lori read bible verses, shared stories of her near-death experience, and said she communicates with her spirit children.
“Jesus knows me, and Jesus understands me… Jesus Christ knows that no one was murdered in this case,” Lori said.
The Death Web
The first thing that caught my attention when reading about this case was the number of people in connection to Lori that have mysteriously died — all in a short amount of time.
It’s one thing for someone to say they have bad luck, it’s another thing to say that there’s been a lot of death in their family. However, it’s a completely different ball game when an ex-husband, a husband, 2 children, a lover’s wife, and a brother all die nearly back to back; in that order.
Am I saying that Lori personally killed all six of these individuals? No. Is it possible that Lori played some role in masterminding or orchestrating at least two of these deaths? A jury will soon decide.
To better understand the heartbreaking events that transpired throughout September 2019 resulting in JJ and Tylee having their lives taken, we must first untangle all of the intricate relationships Lori had with the people that died around her.
Below is a chronological list detailing all six individual’s deaths.
Lori’s 3rd ex-husband. Joseph dies under mysterious circumstances on April 3rd, 2018.
Joseph “Joe” Ryan’s body was found in his Maricopa County, AZ apartment by a neighbor’s dog that kept alerting its owner about a strange smell.
Even though the cause of death was conclusively ruled as a heart attack, investigators reopened his case after his family released an audio recording of Lori Vallow speaking to a religious group about her custody fights with him.
“I was going to murder him,” Lori can be heard saying in the recording, referring to Joseph Ryan. “I was going to kill him like the scriptures say.”
We also know that the couple had a tumultuous past, shining a light on a possible motive and a common violent thread: Alex Cox.
In 2006, Joseph filed a motion against Lori, saying he had been denied visitation rights with his daughter Tylee. This dispute led to Alex Cox threatening and assaulting Joe with a stun gun in a parking lot. Alex was charged with the crime and ultimately spent 3 months in jail for the brutal attack.
Lori’s 4th ex-husband. Alex Cox shoots Charles twice on July 11, 2019.
Despite all accounts of a long and happy marriage, warning signs and red flags that friends saw in 2018 quickly began to manifest into reality.
Lori’s religious beliefs about zombies, possession, and the end of the world, and her behavior around JJ and Tylee became too much. Charles saw no way out of the situation other than to file for divorce and alert the police to Lori’s thoughts.
Also fearing for his safety based on constant life-threatening claims that Lori would make against him, Charles also filed for an Order of Protection against Lori on February 4, 2019.
Charles also tells his attorneys, “I want to make sure that everyone knows that if something happens to me, Lori and Alex did it.”
It’s as if Charles is speaking from beyond the grave.
And, as aforementioned in Part 1, Lori openly told friends — particularly Melanie Gibb — that she believed Charles would be killed in a car accident just in time for her to marry Chad before the end of the world.
But, as time passed and Charles didn’t die at the hands of the universe, Lori orchestrated his death for him — and transferred $35,000 out of their bank account into hers just before his death.
On the evening of July 10th, Lori invites Alex Cox to stay overnight with Charles and the children at their house. The following morning, Alex and Charles get into a premeditated argument, where Alex eventually shoots Charles 2 times in the chest at point-blank range.
When the police and paramedics arrive 43 minutes later, Charles is dead, and Alex says he acted in self-defense because Charles allegedly charged Lori with a baseball bat. Alex is never held accountable for the homicide, and Lori openly says how angry she is over not receiving his life insurance money.
Lori’s daughter with Joseph Ryan. Killed sometime early Sept, 2019.
Tylee vanished in early September of 2019. She was last seen alive with her family in Yellowstone National Park.
Soon after disappearing, Lori told friends and family that Tylee was studying at a nearby university. This was never the case, and Tylee’s body was found buried in Chad Daybell’s backyard in June of this year.
Lor’s adopted son with Charles Vallow. Killed sometime late September, 2019.
JJ went missing in late September 2019, only 2 weeks after his sister. According to detectives, he was last seen alive by a verifiable source on September 23rd at Kennedy Elementary School. The following day, JJ’s school records were pulled, and Lori said she was going to homeschool him.
This was also never the case, and JJ’s body was found buried in Chad Daybell’s backyard in June of this year.
Chad Daybell’s former wife. She dies under mysterious circumstances on October 19, 2019.
Tammy reportedly goes to bed on the night of October 18, having a coughing fit. The next morning, she’s found dead, and the coroner examines her body, but the Daybell family doesn’t request an autopsy. Tammy’s death was initially ruled to be from natural causes.
Her death shocked many, but not because of its sudden tragedy. It was shocking because many friends in the LDS “cult” knew it would happen — but didn’t believe Chad and Lori would go through with it.
Julie Rowe, an author who published several books with Chad, spoke to Inside Edition, saying, “Three weeks before Tammy dies, [Chad] said to me, and he was in this frustrated voice, ‘My plan can’t move forward until Tammy’s dead,’ or ‘until Tammy dies,'” referring to his “life plan,” or the plan that God had for him.
Lori also reportedly spoke openly about the life she would have with Chad once Tammy died.
In December 2019, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office began calling Tammy Daybell’s death suspicious. Her body was exhumed, and an autopsy was performed. The results are not publicly released, but the Daybell children were told she had been asphyxiated.
It’s important to note that the Daybell children don’t believe their father had anything to do with the death of their mother or JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
Lori’s brother, who dies on December 12, 2019.
Alex Cox, 51, was found in his Rexburg, Idaho apartment, already deceased in this bathroom. An autopsy completed in May 2020 concluded that a “pulmonary blood clot” caused his death.
His autopsy and toxicology reports weren’t unusual, but many question how a man tangled up so tightly in this case could die out of sheer coincidence — especially since Alex had a direct hand in a few of the earlier deaths.
Love this post? Meet the Author.
Andrea Cipriano is the Digital Content Specialist at Uncovered, where she writes for the twice-weekly true crime newsletter, The Citizen Detective. Andrea graduated with a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she focused on researching and peeling back the criminal mind. Andrea believes that it’s never too late for justice.