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Lori Vallow Daybell’s triple murder trial continues with 12th day of testimony

Lori Vallow appears in a courtroom sketch on April 26, 2023

Lori Vallow appears in a courtroom sketch on April 26, 2023; JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan appear inset. (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 twelfth day of testimony in an Ada County, Idaho, courthouse on Thursday 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. The trial is now well ahead of schedule.

Keeping proceedings apace is the speed at which the many witnesses in the complex case are testifying – most of them moving quickly for the state and facing 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 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 as an emotional jailhouse phone call between the sisters was played.

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’

Wednesday, the jury heard grim and gruesome details about the way the children died, including JJ Vallow’s cause of death; Tylee Ryan’s cause of death is unknown to this day. Jurors were also shown autopsy photographs that showed how, exactly, the children’s bodies were treated after their murders.

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

UPDATE: 11:49 A.M. MST – Fire and DNA

UPDATE: 10:07 A.M. MST – FBI Witness Discusses Tylee

UPDATE: 9:07 A.M. MST – Tylee’s Injuries

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