Doomsday Dad Chad Daybell’s Family Describes His Alarming Religious Spiral

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Ada County Sheriff's Office
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Ada County Sheriff's Office

Family members of Chad Daybell—who’s accused of killing three people before fleeing with his new wife to Hawaii—took the stand on Thursday, describing the “introvert” Doomsday author’s increasingly extreme religious views.

“He’s not a gregarious personality, is he?” defense attorney John Prior asked Daybell’s mother, Sheila, who took the stand Thursday.

Sheila agreed he was not, at which point Prior asked if Daybell was a “man of the world,” noting that he did not “have a lot of experiences dealing with relationships.” Daybell’s mother, who also called her son a shy introvert, agreed.

Daybell’s sister-in-law, however, had a harsher take. Heather Daybell told Ada County Court jurors that she was not comfortable with her brother-in-law’s escalating and extreme views on Mormonism, including his claim that he was having visions and that he was preparing people for “end-time” events.

“I was very blunt,” she said about one conversation they had about his religious ideologies. When she and her husband learned Daybell was moving his family to join them in Idaho, the family even asked the Doomsday author not to move into their neighborhood.

“I knew why he was coming and I didn’t want him trying to draw in people from my ward and having people think we were involved or believed in him,” she added.

Daybell’s family weighed in on the 15th day of his murder trial in Idaho. Prosecutors allege that Daybell and his wife, Lori Vallow, were driven by their religious extremism to murder his first wife and Lori’s two children between October and November 2019. Afterward, prosecutors say, they fled to Hawaii to start their new life.

Coroner Recalls Emotional Day Doomsday Dad’s First Wife Died

Daybell, 55, has pleaded not guilty to several charges—including first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, grand theft, and insurance fraud—in connection with the three 2019 murders.

In July, Vallow was sentenced to life in prison in connection with the case. Defense lawyers insist there is no evidence to directly tie Daybell to the murders.

Heather Daybell, however, said that her brother-in-law was acting suspiciously soon after his first wife, Tammy Daybell, was found dead inside their Idaho bedroom in October 2019.

Daybell had told authorities that he found his wife of nearly 30 years was “stiff” on the floor that morning after she had been coughing and vomiting throughout the night. He then asked authorities not to complete an autopsy, before phoning friends and family to let them know a funeral service would happen as soon as possible because he didn’t want to “drag this out.”

“I was very upset,” Heather told jurors about the moment she found out about Tammy’s death and the quick funeral.

The funeral held in Utah opened to the song “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” and featured speeches from Daybell, his children, and a bishop. She said she was confused by the song choice as it’s a “song about work and punishment.”

“His demeanor seemed strange to me,” she added, saying that she believed Daybell was disingenuous at the funeral and showed up late for the luncheon afterward.

About a month later, after Heather learned that Daybell had married Vallow, she texted her nieces and nephews to check-in. Daybell then called her upset, telling her she had been a problem his whole life before admitting he was moving to Hawaii with Vallow.

“It seemed almost cruel for his children,” Heather said about the decision to remarry.

Sheila Daybell said she met Vallow at an Idaho Texas Roadhouse in November 2019. After noticing that the pair had rings on, she said her husband asked if they were engaged—and they revealed that they were already married.

Vallow then revealed to Sheila that her husband had recently died, as well as her daughter—but did not mention having a son. Prosecutors say Vallow’s two children, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old J.J Vallow, were reported missing by family members a month later. Seven months later, authorities found the two children buried in Daybell’s backyard.

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