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Lori Vallow Daybell’s triple murder trial continues with revelation of how her 7-year-old son died

Lori Vallow appears in court in late April 2023

Lori Vallow appears in a courtroom sketch; her dead children, JJ Vallow, on the left, and Tylee Ryan, on the right, appear inset, in April 2023. (Courtroom pool sketch artist; Fremont County Sheriff’s Office)

The triple murder trial of Lori Vallow Daybell — a “doomsday cult”-connected mother of two dead children and former wife to two dead husbands — stretched into its eleventh day of testimony in an Ada County, Idaho, courthouse on Wednesday morning.

Vallow, 49, and her fifth and current husband, Chad Daybell, 54, stand accused of murder in the 2019 deaths of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ashlyn Ryan, 17. The children disappeared on different dates in September of that year. Vallow was initially arrested in Hawaii in February 2020 on charges of child desertion. Daybell was arrested later that year after the children’s bodies were found buried in shallow graves on his property in Salem, Idaho.

The two were indicted for the murder of Vallow’s children and Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, 49, in May 2021. They were initially prosecuted as husband-and-wife co-defendants, but the couple’s cases were recently severed and they now face separate trials.

The third week of the trial comes after abbreviated first and second weeks. Despite canceling over a day’s worth of testimony due to an unforeseen personal tragedy affecting the prosecution’s lead attorney, the trial is well ahead of schedule. Seventh District Court Judge Steven W. Boyce cut proceedings short by an entire additional day last week to maintain some prior scheduling.

Keeping proceedings apace is the speed at which the many witnesses in the complex case are testifying – most quite quickly for the state and with little in the way of cross-examination by the defense.

Last week, jurors heard from Lori Vallow’s only surviving son, Colby Ryan, who took the stand and discussed his faith and family. He later sat silently for jurors to watch as prosecutors played a jailhouse phone call between him and his mother in which he accuses her of murdering his siblings and calls her a liar.

On Tuesday, a similar scene played out in the Gem State’s southwestern halls of justice as Vallow’s sister, Summer Cox Shiflet, took the stand – first to smiles from the defendant. But, that smile turned to visible grief as the aunt of the deceased children sat on the stand during an emotional jailhouse phone between the two sisters.

In that phone call, Shifleft accuses Vallow of murdering her children, slightly walks the allegation back, but says that regardless of who actually killed them, the defendant threw them away like “trash” in a “pet cemetery” and then happily elope on the shores of Hawaii.

More Law&Crime coverage: ‘You got wedding pictures while your kids are in the ground?’: Lori Vallow’s sister rages in jailhouse call accusing defendant of treating her dead children like ‘garbage’

Law&Crime correspondent Gigi McKelvey will provide updates in court on Wednesday and throughout the trial.

UPDATE: 2:27 P.M. MST – Cross-Examination

UPDATE: 1:54 P.M. MST – Tylee’s Gruesome, Mysterious Death

UPDATE: 11:42 A.M. MST – Autopsy Photos and Tears

UPDATE: 10:01 A.M. MST – JJ Vallow's Cause of Death Revealed

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