Lori Vallow trial - live: Chad Daybell’s salacious texts read to jury as court mulls date for his case

·18-min read

Week six of “doomsday cult mom” Lori Vallow’s trial is soon to get underway at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, where the mother-of-three is accused of killing her two youngest children and her new husband Chad Daybell’s first wife.

The 49-year-old is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, and grand theft over the deaths of her daughter Tylee Ryan, 16, son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Mr Daybell’s wife Tammy, 49.

Tylee and JJ were last seen alive in September 2019. In June 2020, their remains were found buried on the Daybell property. Tammy died one month after their disappearance in October 2019.

Friday’s testimony included a detailed look at text messages between Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell that spanned their affair, referred to their spouses and children as “obstacles”, and grew increasingly romantic following her husband’s death as she ignored his son’s pleas for more information.

Meanwhile, the court is eyeing June 2024 as a possible start date for Mr Daybell’s trial.

Key points

Lori Vallow ignored stepsons’ pleas as she exchanged romantic texts with Chad Daybell

14:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Week five of Lori Vallow’s murder trial concluded on Friday with a detailed look at text messages between the “doomsday cult mom” and Chad Daybell in the days after her husband Charles Vallow was killed by her brother.

As the two sent romantic messages to each other, Mr Vallow’s sons Zach and Cole pleaded with their stepmother to be told the basic details of how their father had died after she had nonchalantly informed them of his passing in a text.


Lori Vallow trial hears romantic texts from Chad Daybell days after husband’s death

Read the love story Chad Daybell wrote for Lori Vallow

13:30 , Oliver O'Connell

All the key revelations from Lori Vallow’s murder trial so far

13:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Rachel Sharp has diligently catalogued all of the key moments in the first five weeks of the case against the “doomsday cult mom”:

Cult beliefs and charred remains: Key revelations from Lori Vallow’s murder trial

Lori Vallow’s friend says she threatened to ‘cut up’ and bury her

12:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow threatened to kill her friend, “cut her up” and then bury her remains “in a place nobody would ever find” one month after her two children disappeared, according to bombshell testimony at the doomsday cult mom’s murder trial.

Ms Vallow’s friend Audrey Barattiero took the stand at Ms Vallow’s trial in Ada County Courthouse on Wednesday, revealing disturbing details about the alleged threat her former friend once made to her life.

Ms Barattiero testified that – one day in October 2019 – she had asked Ms Vallow is there was anything weird going on.

She gave a chilling answer.

Lori Vallow’s friend Audrey Barattiero says she threatened to kill and bury her

Jury hears autopsy details that show Tammy Daybell was likely restrained during her murder

11:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Tammy Daybell, the late wife of doomsday author Chad Daybell, was likely restrained while she was asphyxiated, the Utah state medical examiner told the jury in the trial of Lori Vallow on Monday.

Read more:

Lori Vallow trial hears Tammy Daybell was likely restrained during her murder

Jury hears Lori Vallow’s DNA was on duct tape wrapped around son JJ’s corpse

09:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow‘s hair was found on duct tape wrapped around the corpse of her seven-year-old son, according to new evidence presented at the start of the fifth week of her murder trial.

Read more:

Lori Vallow’s DNA found on duct tape wrapped around son JJ’s corpse, jury hears

Chad Daybell claimed Lori Vallow didn’t have children as police searched for them

07:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Chad Daybell claimed his new wife Lori Vallow didn’t have any children as authorities launched a massive search for her son and daughter that ended with the discovery of their bodies nine months later.

Rachel Sharp has the details.

Chad Daybell claimed Lori Vallow didn’t have children as nine-month search launched

JJ’s horrifying cause of death revealed

04:59 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s seven-year-old son JJ Vallow had the date rape drug GHB in his system when he was smothered to death with plastic bags around his head, according to harrowing testimony from a pathologist.

Read more:

Lori Vallow trial told JJ had date rape drug GHB in system as cause of death revealed

Everything you need to know about the Lori Vallow Daybell ‘doomsday cult’ murder trial

02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Rachel Sharp delves into the deeply disturbing tale of suspected murders, unexplained deaths and apocalyptic cult beliefs about killing zombies which surrounds Lori Vallow and her doomsday author husband Chad Daybell.

What we know about the Lori Vallow Daybell ‘doomsday cult’ murder trial

Monday 8 May 2023 00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Chad Daybell says wife Tammy is ‘clearly dead’ in disturbing 911 call

Sunday 7 May 2023 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Chad Daybell made a chilling 911 call saying that his wife Tammy was “clearly dead” after he had allegedly conspired with Lori Vallow to murder her so they could run off to Hawaii to get married.

Rachel Sharp has the story.

Chad Daybell says wife Tammy is ‘clearly dead’ in 911 call heard at Lori Vallow trial

Sunday 7 May 2023 20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Bizarre moments from Lori Vallow’s murder trial

Sunday 7 May 2023 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Beyond the testimony, there have also been some bizarre happenings taking place inside the courtroom as Rachel Sharp reports.

Bizarre moments from Lori Vallow’s murder trial

Sunday 7 May 2023 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

All the key players in the case against Lori Vallow

Sunday 7 May 2023 14:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Rachel Sharp profiles all the key players in a case that sprawls across five states and two years.

Who are the key players in Lori Vallow’s trial?

Who is the ‘doomsday cult mom’ on trial for her children’s murders?

Sunday 7 May 2023 10:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow is a mother of three, a former game show contestant, a Mrs Texas Beauty Pageant contestant and a cult follower.

But is she also a killer?

Lori Vallow: Who is the ‘cult mom’ on trial for her children’s murders?

Killer tried to chop up Tylee’s body as her blood found on pickaxe

Sunday 7 May 2023 06:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s daughter’s killer tried to chop up her body before burying her burned bones and organs on Chad Daybell’s property, according to disturbing courtroom testimony.

FBI Agent Douglas Halepaska, a forensic examiner in the firearms and tool marks division, testified at the doomsday cult mom’s murder trial on Thursday morning about the injuries found on 16-year-old Tylee Ryan’s skeletal remains.


Lori Vallow trial hears how killer tried to chop up Tylee’s body ‘with pickaxe’

Did Lori Vallow accidentally make a key confession about her children’s deaths?

Sunday 7 May 2023 02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s high-profile trial took an unexpected turn when jurors heard a dramatic jailhouse phone call in which the “doomsday cult mom” appeared to make a key confession about her children’s murders.

Rachel Sharp has the details.

Did Lori Vallow make a key confession about children’s deaths in a jail call?

Sunday 7 May 2023 00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

‘You threw Tylee in a pet cemetery like a piece of garbage'

Saturday 6 May 2023 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The trial of “doomsday cult mom” Lori Vallow has been played a devastating jailhouse call in which her sister accused her of throwing her murdered children “away like garbage.”

An Idaho court heard Summer Shiflet sobbing uncontrollably in audio of a video call she made with her sister as she sat behind bars on 24 June 2020.

Graeme Massie reports.

Vallow trial hears devastating call with sister after discovery of children’s bodies

Saturday 6 May 2023 20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s chilling internet searches and trove of burner phones revealed

Saturday 6 May 2023 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Chilling internet searches have revealed that “doomsday cult mom” Lori Vallow shopped for life insurance policies for her children two months before they were murdered and buried on her new lover Chad Daybell’s property.

FBI analyst Nicole Heideman took the stand at Ms Vallow’s murder trial in Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, on Monday to testify about the shocking discoveries on the 49-year-old’s cellphones, email addresses and online search history.

Read more:

Cult mom Lori Vallow’s chilling internet searches revealed

Saturday 6 May 2023 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Saturday 6 May 2023 14:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori Vallow’s cousin reveals haunting fear about children’s murders

‘You ripped my heart out’: Colby Ryan’s gut wrenching call to mother

Saturday 6 May 2023 10:00 , Oliver O'Connell

On day six of testimony in the trial of “cult mom” Lori Vallow, the jury heard a recording of a phone call between the defendant and her eldest son from the early months of her incarceration.

Colby Ryan, Ms Vallow’s son from her second marriage, was called a witness for the prosecution. He is her only surviving child following the murders of daughter Tylee, 16, and adopted son JJ, 7, in September 2019.

In the emotional call between mother and son, Ms Vallow refused to switch on her camera, while Mr Ryan demanded to know whether Jesus had really told her to murder his siblings.

Read more:

Lori Vallow trial hears gut-wrenching prison call with surviving son Colby Ryan

Revealed: ‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow’s chilling response to question about missing daughter

Saturday 6 May 2023 06:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Vallow’s former friend and former fellow cult acolyte Zulema Pastenes told the court about the ritualistic “castings” that Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell performed to drive out demons from “dark spirits.” Testifying under oath for the prosecution, Ms Pastenes opened up about Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell’s cult beliefs and their “rating system of light and dark” for how they ranked the spirits of the people around them.

Ms Pastenes recounted a September 2019 visit to Rexburg, where Ms Vallow had moved along with her brother Alex Cox and her children to be closer to Mr Daybell. Ms Pastenes, who dated Cox and later married him just weeks before he died, said that she asked Ms Vallow about Tylee after she didn’t see the teen during her visit.

Andrea Blanco reports on what she was told.

Lori Vallow’s chilling response to question about missing Tylee revealed

Saturday 6 May 2023 04:00 , Oliver O'Connell

ICYMI: Best friends confronts Lori Vallow in secretly recorded call

Saturday 6 May 2023 02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A phone call between “cult mom” Lori Vallow and her former best friend was played in court during her ongoing trial for the murders of two of her children. It was the first in a series of calls and video chats included in the state’s case against Ms Vallow.

Andrea Blanco reports.

Lori Vallow confronted by best friend about JJ lies in secret recording

As his property was searched by police, Chad Daybell called Lori Vallow

Saturday 6 May 2023 00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A jailhouse phone call captured the moment Chad Daybell warned “cult mom” Lori Vallow that police were closing in on the day that her children’s remains were discovered buried on his property.

In the call, made on 9 June 2020 and played in court during Ms Vallow’s high-profile double murder trial on Wednesday, Mr Daybell is heard telling his new wife that law enforcement were on the scene searching his property in Rexburg, Idaho.

Lori Vallow trial hears jailhouse call with Chad Daybell on day bodies found

Brand Boudreaux’s painful testimony

Friday 5 May 2023 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

“Cult mom” Lori Vallow’s former nephew-in-law broke down in tears on the witness stand as he testified about the moment he had to identify the remains of her murdered seven-year-old son.

Rachel Sharp reports on the emotional testimony.

Lori Vallow’s nephew-in-law Brandon Boudreaux breaks down at murder trial

Lori Vallow trial hears horror of her children’s murders

Friday 5 May 2023 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Graphic photos shown at “cult mom” Lori Vallow’s murder trial revealed how her slain son JJ was still wearing his red pyjamas and a nighttime diaper when his remains were found buried in a shallow grave on Chad Daybell’s property in Rexburg, Idaho.

The remains of his sister Tylee were found burned beyond recognition in another grave nearby.

Lori Vallow’s son JJ was found buried in red pyjamas and diaper

Detective reveals alarming items found in Lori Vallow’s home

Friday 5 May 2023 21:00 , Oliver O'Connell

One of the first detectives investigating the disappearance of “cult mom” Lori Vallow’s son and daughter has revealed the alarming items discovered in her home months before the children were found murdered.

Andrea Blanco reports.

Detective reveals alarming items found in Lori Vallow’s home weeks after murders

ICYMI: How did Tammy Daybell die?

Friday 5 May 2023 20:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The cause of death of Chad Daybell’s first wife Tammy was finally revealed when “cult mom” Lori Vallow’s high-profile murder trial got underway in Idaho.

Rachel Sharp reports.

Lori Vallow trial hears how Chad Daybell’s first wife Tammy was killed

Read the full romance story Chad Daybell wrote to Lori Vallow

Friday 5 May 2023 19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Court adjourns

Friday 5 May 2023 19:06 , Oliver O'Connell

Court adjourns for the day.

The trial will resume on Monday morning at 8.30am MT.

Friday 5 May 2023 19:02 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Hart notes there appeared to be no sorrow or remorse about the killing of her husband by her brother.

That seems evident from her indifferent texts with his sons.

The prosecution says this is a good stopping point since the court is recessing early today.

Friday 5 May 2023 18:58 , Oliver O'Connell

The next slide shows messages sent the evening of 14 July 2019.

Chad: “Hanging in there, but really missing you too! Please find out the name of Mel’s campout in Utah. I have no intention of going, but I feel it is our avenue to get together, whether she is still here or not.”

Lori: “Zion’s family camp. Mel speaks Wednesday night and Dave speaks Thursday night. Shelly M is their main speaker...eye roll.”

Chad: “Well, that should work for me to get away though. I spoke at it two years ago which is when I first met Mel. What time do you fly out tomorrow?”

Chad: “My trip to speak at the camp July 24-26 has been approved and is now on the calendar.”

More texts from the same day:

Chad: “I need so badly to just gently kiss you...for hours.”

Chad: “It would likely lead to other activities.”

Lori: “Likely or Luckily?”

Chad: “It would likely lead to nakedness.”

It is during this text conversation that Charles Vallow’s sons are demanding information from Lori about how their father died and any other details. She was not responding as she was busy texting Chad and Melani.

The jury appears to be finding this testimony very powerful.

Friday 5 May 2023 18:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Hart said investigators repeatedly heard that Chad told multiple people his wife Tammy was going to die. These texts in July were three months before her death on 19 October.

Lori responded to the shower text: “Morning sunshine. sure. Call me if you get a chance.”

Chad and Lori both had multiple names for each other. Chad was called James and Raphael. Lori was called Lily and Elaina.

Agent Hart explains Chad was not physically with Lori when he sent the shower text. She was in Arizona, he was in Idaho

He explains that they often implied they had been with each other when it was not physically possible.

Later on 14 July 2019 Chad texted: “I love you so much! You are me greatest desire and my best friend. Now on with the story.”

Agent Hart reads portions of a romance story Chad wrote Lori. You can read the full story here.

Friday 5 May 2023 18:43 , Oliver O'Connell

Another text exchange on 13 July has Chad telling Lori that BYU-Idaho’s graduation is on 23 July and he will have a lot of family in town and staying at the house.

On 14 July he texts Lori:

“Good morning my most beautiful Lili. Thanks for joining me in the shower this morning. Wow. Getting ready to leave for my meetings. Does noon your time look like a time we could talk? I love you so immensely that the whole universe knows it. And very soon the people on this little blue globe will know it too.”

Friday 5 May 2023 18:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Another text exchange with Chad is shown in which they discuss Aly Bloomer, a friend on Brandon Boudreaux who came to the Boudreaux house to talk with Melani:

Chad: “I will check with All Bloomer and husband.”

Lori: “Good idea.”

Chad: “Aly Bloomer is 4.1 dark. Her cop husband is 3 dark. I suppose Brandon doesn’t know yet about the discovered Charles texts?”

Lori then texts Melani: “Aly Bloomer’s husband 3 (dark emoji).”

Friday 5 May 2023 18:35 , Oliver O'Connell

The next slide is a text conversation between Lori and Charles’s sons Zach and Cole Vallow informing them nonchalantly of their father’s sudden death and not explaining how he died (shot by her brother).

You can read the full exchange here at East Idaho News.

Friday 5 May 2023 18:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Smith asks about the reference to “Nephi”.

Agent Hart explains Nephi is in the Book of Mormon and he is one of the first prophets mentioned.

“I am told I will be like Nephi and you too” refers to Nephi being commanded by God to slay Laban.

“Laban was in possession of records that Nephi and his family wanted to possess before they left Jerusalem. Nephi was commanded by God to slay Laban to obtain these records,” Agent Hart says.

Friday 5 May 2023 18:27 , Oliver O'Connell

The next day she texts Melani.

Lori: “Al is here. Charles says he will come over in the morning.”

Friday 5 May 2023 18:26 , Oliver O'Connell

The next slide shows a text from Lori to Alex on 9 July.

Lori: “Getting sleepy. So I’m going to need you to stay close to me for the next couple days. Mel too. She can’t go to ti Utah. They are planking [sic] some kind of intervention but want Mel out of the way so I’m left alone. I need to come get the stuff at your house tomorrow and secure it. Lots to do. Thank you for standing by me. It’s all coming to a head this week. I will be like Nephi I am told. And so will you.”

Friday 5 May 2023 18:21 , Oliver O'Connell

There are texts with Melani two days before Charles is murdered.

Lori: “They have an elaborate plan I’ll call you soon.”

Melani: “I could take all the babies with and drive? And take our stuff.”

Lori: “U can’t go at all. We both need to stay here to defend ourselves. It’s coming to a head! This week will change everything.”

Charles Vallow was shot dead by Alex Cox on 11 July 2019.

Agent Hart says he learned from Lori’s texts that her marriage to Charles had deteriorated.

Friday 5 May 2023 18:18 , Oliver O'Connell

Lori frequently used the phrase “still working on it” or “we are working on things” in reference to their belief they were battling zombies and dark forces.

Alex believed what Lori was saying.

Friday 5 May 2023 18:12 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Hart says Alex and Melani Boudreaux would solicit Lori to find out religious information from Chad. Lori’s position was “right next to Chad Daybell. The two of them were in elevated positions and others would seek their counsel and advice as if related to alleged revelations and visions and so forth.”

Friday 5 May 2023 18:11 , Oliver O'Connell

Next is some text messages between Lori and Alex Cox from 20 March 2019.

Lori tells Alex she is finding out “some great stuff” about him and she was going to the temple to do some sealings.

Alex: “Ok. hurry up please.”

Lori: “Going to check everything with my source tonight to make sure I get this all right but it’s really good. We can talk about it tomorrow hopefully.”

Agent Hart says Chad acted as a religious leader and this is an instance where Lori communicated to her brother regarding things she’s learning about him from “her source” Chad.

Friday 5 May 2023 18:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Hart is presenting a Powerpoint of communications regarding Lori and Chad. Chad is saved in her contacts as Bishop Shumway. They met at the Preparing A People conference on 28 October 2018.

The next slide shows a text exchange between Lori and Audrey Barattiero on 23 January 2019.

Lori: “Hi Audrey, this is Lori. I would love to talk with you sometime. Text me or call me. I’m excited to be able to talk with you about what we both know.”

Audrey: “Hi Lori. Guess you talked to Chad. Haha. Did he tell you I have a crazy work schedule? I’ll have to play it by ear but I would know until about 9.30pm. The same for tomorrow.”

Lori: “He did. That’s ok. No pressure. I just think it’s fun to talk to someone who knows what’s really going on :)”

Audrey: “So what times usually work for you? I usually talk to him on my lunch breaks on Mondays or Tuesday, Sunday afternoons I can talk.”

Hart says Chad told Audrey he was going to marry Lori and he wanted Audrey to act as the liaison between him and Lori until Tammy died.

Friday 5 May 2023 17:55 , Oliver O'Connell

“There were a number of communications between Alex Cox and Lori Vallow deemed to be pertinent to the investigation and it was clear there was a relationship between Alex Cox and Chad Daybell as well,” Agent Hart says.

“Those relationships were important because those individuals were ultimately charged with the alleged crimes.”

Friday 5 May 2023 17:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Hart also found information relating to finance and says there was communication and direct references to a large life insurance policy possessed by Charles Vallow as well as social security payments to JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

Friday 5 May 2023 17:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Agent Hart discovered leads in the text messages, such as Lori and Chad saying they wanted to get married and lead a life together.

“There were several communications regarding JJ and Tylee that were relevant to their deaths. They discussed their deaths. After the affair began, there began to be communication regarding the deaths of Charles Vallow, Tammy Daybell, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.”

Agent Hart says Chad and Lori used the word “obstacles” to describe JJ, Tylee, Charles and Tammy.

Court resumes after morning break

Friday 5 May 2023 17:46 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Boyce returns to the bench and the jury is brought back in.

Smith asks Agent Hart about viewing Lori’s iCloud accounts through Cellebrite, a law enforcement tool for collecting, reviewing, analysing and managing digital data.

Lollytime has far fewer files than Lori4style having only been created in April 2019, while the latter was created in December 2000.

“My process was to open up a compartment and examine the data in there. If there was something that was pertinent or relevant, I would make a document of that,” Agent Hart explains.

He estimates there were 130,000 to 150,000 records on the accounts.

Agent Hart applied a date filter starting 26 October 2018 (when Chad and Lori met) through to November 2019 on lori4style. There were approximately 4,500 text messages of which Hart read every one. Then he went through each category (voicemail, photos, etc.) and did the same thing.

Friday 5 May 2023 17:06 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Boyce calls the morning break.