BOISE, Idaho (AP) – The case of two children who went missing for months before being found dead in rural Idaho has taken another bizarre turn, with new court documents claiming that their mothers thought they were zombies and that she was on a mission to free the world from such creatures.
Police discovered the remains of 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and her 7-year-old brother, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, on the property of their mother’s new husband on June 9. The case drew attention to the couple’s doomsday beliefs and the mysterious deaths of their former husbands, and court documents released late last week reveal more about the strange worldview detectives may think may be Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell influenced.
So far, no one has been charged with murdering the children, who have not been seen since September, but the Daybells are both behind bars.
Lori Daybell’s lawyer has indicated that she plans to defend herself against allegations of child abandonment and the obstruction of an investigation. Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty of destroying or hiding the children’s bodies.
Lori Daybell’s best friend, Melanie Gibb, has been working with the authorities for months, according to documents prepared by Rexburg Police Department, Lt. Ron Ball. Gibb is the last known person to have been seen alive by police, according to police, when she visited Lori Daybell in her apartment in the small town of Idaho last September.
“Gibb reports that when she arrived in Rexburg, Lori Vallow told her that JJ Vallow had become a” zombie, “Ball wrote. Gibb further reports that the term ‘zombie’ refers to a person whose mortal spirit has left their body and that their body is now the host of another spirit. The new ghost in a ‘zombie’ is always considered to be a ‘dark ghost’. ”
According to the statement, it wasn’t the first time Gibb said she heard her friend talk about zombies. Gibb said that Lori Daybell named Tylee a zombie in the spring of 2019, when the teenager didn’t want to look after her little brother and that Lori Daybell first learned the concept of Chad Daybell at the beginning of that year.
Gibb said the couple believed that when a zombie takes over someone’s body, “the person’s true spirit goes into ‘limbo’ and remains there until the guest body is physically killed,” the court document said. “As such, the death of the physical body is seen as the mechanism by which the original spirit of the body can be detached from the body.”
Gibb also said the couple believed they were spiritual leaders.
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow told her that they had a religious belief that they were part of the “Church of the Firstborn” and that their mission in that church was to lead the “144,000” mentioned in the Book of Revelation. They also stated that their mission was to free the world from ‘zombies’, “the police document said.
Hints of strange doomsday beliefs have surrounded the complex case since it started last year.
It started last summer with Lori Daybell’s brother who shot and killed her estranged husband, Charles Vallow, in the suburbs of Phoenix in what he believed was self-defense. Seeking divorce, Vallow said that Lori believed she had become a god-like figure responsible for initiating the Biblical end times. Her brother, Alex Cox, died in December of an apparent blood clot in his lung.
Shortly after Vallow’s death, Lori and the children moved to Idaho, where Chad Daybell lived. He had a small publishing house and published many fiction books he wrote about apocalyptic screenplays loosely based on the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also recorded podcasts about preparing for Biblical end times, and friends said he claimed to be able to receive visions from “outside the veil.”
He was married to Tammy Daybell, who died last October of what she believed to be natural causes. Authorities became suspicious when he married Lori just two weeks later, and Tammy Daybell’s body was unearthed in December. The results of that autopsy have not been released.
Police began searching for Tylee and JJ in November after family members raised concerns. Police say the Daybells lied to investigators about the children’s whereabouts before they quietly left Idaho. They were found in Hawaii months later.
Tylee was last seen on September 8 when she went to Yellowstone National Park with her mother, brother and Cox, court documents say.
It is not clear what happened to her, but the police say the next day that Cox’s cell phone records show that he took a trip to Chad Daybell’s premises and was near the children’s bodies . Also on September 9, investigators said Chad Daybell had texted Tammy, reportedly telling her that he decided to burn some plants and also shot a raccoon, which he buried in an area of the site where the family previously had dead pets buried, according to court documents.
The detective said in the documents that he was suspicious because raccoons are normally nocturnal, and the text said that the animal was shot during the day.
A few weeks later, Gibb visited Lori Daybell. Gibb said she had been told that Tylee was attending school at a nearby university, although investigators later found that the teenager was never enrolled. Gibb also said JJ’s behavior was typical, despite his mother claiming that he was acting strangely.
The last time Gibb saw JJ was September 22 at Lori Daybell’s apartment. Cox left with his cousin for his neighborhood apartment, Gibb told the police, and when they returned, JJ seemed to be sleeping, head on Cox’s shoulder.
The next morning, Gibb said JJ was gone, and Lori said Cox had taken him for a while, according to the document.
An analysis of Alex Cox’s cellular data that day reveals that his phone was pinging at locations on Chad Daybell’s site where the children’s remains were later found, police said.
It was those cellular data that brought the police to the bodies, according to court documents. Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Cox’s possible involvement in the children’s deaths.
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