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Our 1st look at ‘Doomsday cult’ mom behind bars after being found guilty of murdering her own children and current husband’s previous wife

Lori Vallow appears with braided pigtail hairstyle in mugshots

Lori Vallow appears with braided pigtail hairstyle in mugshots taken in May 2023. (Madison County Jail)

A new mugshot of Lori Vallow Daybell, 49, was taken and uploaded by a law enforcement agency in Idaho on Monday morning.

Last Friday, the “doomsday cult”-connected murderess was convicted of killing two of her children,  Joshua Jaxon “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ashlyn Ryan, 17, and for conspiring to murder her current husband’s first wife, Tamara “Tammy” Douglas Daybell, 49.

All three murders occurred in the fall of 2019. The two children were last seen alive – and are believed to have been killed – on different dates in September of that year. Tammy Daybell was killed in October. Each of the three was likely killed at a rural residence in Salem, Idaho, owned by Vallow’s current husband, Chad Daybell, 54, who is facing the same set of charges his wife was just convicted on.

An earlier death

Months before those deaths came the murder of L. Charles Vallow, 62.

“He was a loving father to sons Cole Vallow, Zach Vallow and Joshua Jaxon Vallow,” Charles Vallow’s obituary reads. “As a father, brother and friend he positively impacted all of the lives he touched. Charles lived in Austin for over 15 years. He was a big fan of Austin music, University of Texas Football and Austin’s many outdoor activities.”

He was shot and killed by his wife’s brother, Alex Cox, in Chandler, Arizona, in July 2019 during an alleged dispute of some sort. And the details of the alleged dispute that led to Charles Vallow’s death are likely to be hotly disputed in the weeks and months to come.

The killer claimed self-defense at the time and was not prosecuted – he later died before authorities began to reassess the circumstances in which Charles Vallow died. Lori Vallow, however, has been charged with conspiracy in Arizona over her estranged husband’s death.

She was indicted on that charge in June 2021.

Lori Vallow left her then-husband in February 2019, sending along accusations to relatives that he was having an affair in California. His sister and brother-in-law reached out and he denied those claims.

Charles Vallow was Lori Vallow’s fourth husband. They were married in 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. When they were married, the new husband converted from Catholicism to his new wife’s Mormon faith. But, over time, she steadily left the LDS dogma for cult beliefs in demonic possession, magic portals, past lives, and zombies.

At the time of his death, Vallow and Daybell – himself a cult author with unorthodox beliefs whose books focus on eschatology – were several months into a love affair that was later formalized with their marriage in Hawaii. When Charles Vallow filed for divorce, he noted a distinct change in Lori Vallow’s worldview, writing in one filing that his estranged wife believed she was “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020.”

In text messages released by the Chandler Police Department in Arizona, the soon-to-be-dead man offers a prescient claim.

“You accused me of infidelity but it’s you who has been having an affair,” he wrote. “It keeps killing me but maybe that’s your goal.”

A new widow

Seven days after Charles Vallow was killed, the nascent widow was apparently not grieving and her soon-to-be fifth husband was there to console her about money, text messages allegedly show.

“I just got a letter from the insurance company that I am not the beneficiary,” Lori Vallow wrote. “It’s a spear thru my heart. Who do you think he changed it to? Brandon or possibly Kay?”

Daybell responds: “Wow. That’s terrible. There is no way to find out.”

Later that same day, still discussing the life insurance policy beneficiary issue, Daybell references a Mormon belief about a satanic group of ancient American robber barons and underworld criminals: “I love you. This is terrible but it is probably another step in bringing down the Gadiantons, especially Brandon.”

The reference to “Brandon” would seemingly be Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Vallow’s niece, Melani Boudreaux Pawlowski.

Boudreaux tearfully testified for the state during Vallow’s recent murder trial. He previously said, in a 2020 child custody filing, that he feared that Cox and his ex-wife were intent on killing him, in part because he questioned their zombie-infused religious beliefs.

Another charge

After Vallow was convicted, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced that she was also being charged in connection with an incident that occurred in Gilbert, Arizona, on Oct. 2, 2019.

That’s the same day someone took a shot at – and missed – Boudreaux before driving away. In the would-be victim’s account of the shooting, he saw a gun muzzle peek out from behind the window of a Jeep, and then his own car window was shattered.

“Many people have been involved in these events, some by choice and others perhaps not,” Boudreaux wrote in a lengthy statement released late Friday and obtained by The Independent. “Regardless of how they are involved, we encourage all to consider that this world is already so full of divisiveness. We advocate for forgiveness and privacy where possible. We live by the hope that the worst part of our lives does not become who we are. We do not condone nor encourage less prosecution for those accountable, but instead, encourage true change and accountability for those involved.”

The MCAO has said they intend to begin the extradition process as soon as possible but conceded that the effort will be slow-moving and is likely to take “from several weeks to several months.”

Sentencing for Vallow’s murder convictions has yet to be scheduled and will occur in Fremont County, Idaho, at a later date. She was tried in Ada County, Idaho, where none of the crimes occurred, due to pretrial publicity concerns raised by her husband’s defense.

The defendant is currently being detained in the Madison County Jail.

Several mugshots of Vallow have been released throughout her detention on various charges over the years.

More Law&Crime coverage: ‘Doomsday cult’ mother Lori Vallow Daybell, accused of killing her children, dons makeup for new mugshot

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