‘Cult Mom’ Lori Vallow receives life sentence for cruel murder of her children

Lori Vallow listens as the jurys verdict is read at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, on May 12. nbcnews.com
Lori Vallow listens as the jury’s verdict is read at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, on May 12. nbcnews.com

A woman known as “Cult Mom,” has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole for the murders of her two children and her husband’s previous wife.  

The dramatic trial unfolded over several years, exposing disturbing details of the crimes.

Lori Vallow, 50, was convicted in May for killing her seven-year-old son, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and her 16-year-old daughter, Tylee Ryan, who disappeared without a trace in September 2019. The jury also found her guilty of conspiring with her husband, Chad Daybell, and her brother, Alex Cox, to murder Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell, who died in October 2019. The motive behind the murders was linked to their bizarre cult beliefs and a desire for financial gain.

Victim impact statements were delivered in court, highlighting the devastating loss suffered by family members. Vallow’s only surviving son, Colby Ryan, expressed his grief, emphasising that his sister Tylee and brother JJ would never get the chance to fulfill their destinies. The murders caused deep rifts within the Daybell family, as Tammy Daybell’s sister, Samantha Gwilliam, spoke of the pain and heartache caused by the heinous crimes.

During the sentencing, Vallow showed no remorse, claiming her children and Tammy Daybell were “busy” and “happy” in heaven. She justified the murders by citing religious beliefs, insisting that the victims weren’t murdered at all, and quoting Bible verses about judgment.

The court also heard about Vallow’s mental health issues, but prosecutors argued that her crimes were not impacted by her alleged mental illness. They pointed to other cases in Arizona and Idaho, indicating a pattern of violence, and asserted that society can only be protected from her by a life sentence without parole.

The tragic events began in July 2019 when Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, killed her estranged husband, Charles Vallow, claiming self-defense. Later that year, Vallow married Chad Daybell, known for his doomsday-focused fiction. The disappearance of JJ and Tylee in September 2019 raised suspicions, and their bodies were discovered buried in Daybell’s yard the following summer.

During the trial, experts described the disturbing condition of the victims’ bodies, with Tylee appearing to have been stabbed and burned before burial and JJ’s head wrapped in tape and plastic, causing asphyxiation.