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Lori Daybell Waives Preliminary Hearing, Decides to Go Straight to Trial

Idaho defendant Lori Daybell, 46 — f/k/a Lori Vallow — is going straight to trial. She waived her right to a preliminary hearing in a conspiracy case which was scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday of next week in Fremont County.

The decision is not a huge surprise, nor is it legally rare. Chad Daybell, Lori’s 51-year-old co-defendant and husband, had his preliminary hearing this week. The judge ruled he would stand trial for two counts alleging the destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence and two counts of conspiracy. An arraignment in that case is set for August 21.

Lori Daybell decided to simply forego a similar hearing and to face trial on her own two counts of conspiracy on charges that she and her husband allegedly hid the deaths of her children Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, who were 7 and 16 when they disappeared in September 2019. In Madison County, Lori Daybell faces related misdemeanor charges for allegedly snubbing a court order to turn over the kids and for getting friend Melanie Gibb to lie about JJ’s whereabouts.

Investigators said they found the children’s bodies on Chad Daybell’s property in June. Tylee was last seen on a September 8 family trip to Yellowstone National Park, which included her mother and her maternal uncle Alex Cox, police said. Her brother JJ went missing from Idaho days later. A police affidavit obtained by Law&Crime showed that he was last seen by the couple’s friends on Sept. 22 at Lori Daybell’s home.

By the time JJ’s biological grandparents called in a welfare check in November, Chad Daybell’s previous wife Tammy Daybell had died, and Chad married new wife (and current co-defendant) Lori Vallow.

Lori Daybell’s previous husband Charles Vallow, JJ’s adoptive dad, was shot and killed by Cox in July. Cox claimed the shooting was self defense. Charles Vallow told police months before that his wife Lori had threatened his life.

Now police say that Cox was a co-conspirator with the couple in concealing the children’s deaths. But he won’t face charges. He died in December of what a medical examiner determined to be a bloodclot.

[Mugshot via Madison County Sheriff’s Office]

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