Lori Vallow and her fifth husband Chad Daybell are in jail awaiting their trial for the reported cover-up of the deaths of Vallow’s two minor children. Seven-year-old J.J. Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan were found buried in Daybell’s backyard in Salem on June 9.
Questions continue to swirl around the couple’s possible involvement in other deaths. They are under investigation for the 2019 deaths of Vallow’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, and Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Charles Vallow was shot to death in Arizona by Lori Vallow’s brother Alex Cox in July 2019 after what Lori Vallow and Cox claimed was an altercation. Chad Daybell told authorities his wife Tammy Daybell, 49, died in her sleep after falling ill in October 2019.
Less is known about any investigation into the death of Lori’s third husband Joseph Ryan. An FBI source told People, “we are aware of Mr. Ryan’s death and it has become part of the investigation into Lori Vallow.” Ryan’s sister Annie Cushing told the Post Register that the Phoenix Police Department have indicated they do not plan to open a case on Ryan’s death, despite her wishes that they do so. The Phoenix Police Department has not responded to the Post Register’s request for comment.
Ryan died on April 3, 2018, at age 58. His body was not found for more than a week. His cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but as in the case of Tammy Daybell, a formal autopsy wasn’t performed at the time. (Tammy Daybell’s body was exhumed in December 2019 for an autopsy after officials deemed her death suspicious.)
But there’s plenty of evidence Lori Vallow wanted Ryan dead. Ryan was Tylee’s father.
In 2007, more than two years after Lori Vallow and Ryan divorced, her brother Alex Cox made an attempt on his ex-brother-in-law’s life, using a stun gun on him and threatening to kill him, according to court documents. A year later, Cox served three months in jail after pleading guilty to aggravated assault on Joseph Ryan.
A recently discovered audio recording indicates Cox was not the only one who wanted Ryan dead. According to the recording’s metadata, it was recorded Oct. 19, 2018. Cushing has shared the audio with the Post Register but has not revealed from whom she got it. According to Cushing, someone contacted her with the recording. Cushing said she has verified the source it came from and “100%” believes it is a credible source.
Cushing consulted with both lawyers and a law professor before releasing the audio. She said she edited the recording to remove parts of the audio that gave information about people in the recording who are not involved in the case.
The audio gives new glimpses into Lori Vallow’s mindset. In it, Vallow is addressing a group of people gathered in the home of her friend Melanie Gibb in Gilbert. Cushing was told it was a Preparing A People gathering. There, Lori is prompted to tell “her story” to the group.
“When people hear my story, they’re like, ‘I can’t believe you did that. I can’t believe you lived through that. I can’t believe that you’re still here,’” she said in the recording.
Vallow’s story turns out to be the story of her third husband.
“I had been married to someone who was very awful, who raped my children, and I had divorced him and gotten away from him,” Vallow said.
Colby Ryan, 25-year-old son of Vallow, has said in both court proceedings during the divorce and on NBC’s Dateline that he was sexually abused by his adoptive father Ryan.
According to Vallow, Ryan tried to get custody of then 3-year-old Tylee “just to rub it in my face.”
Despite Vallow’s claims of Ryan’s abuse, the courts did award him visitation with his daughter. After Ryan succeeded in getting time with Tylee, Vallow had a new plan about how to deal with Ryan:
“I was going to murder him. I was going to kill him. Like the scriptures say. Like Nephi killed. Just to stop the pain and to stop him coming after me and to stop him coming after my children. I just thought I couldn’t take it anymore. And I would go through the scriptures and find all the things. Like: ‘If he comes against you once, if he comes against you twice, if he comes against you three times then you can kill him.’ It says it in the scriptures in the Book of Mormon. I was like there it is. There’s my answer. I don’t want to do anything that’s wrong. I did not have a murderous heart. I just wanted to stop the bleeding and stop the pain. And so someone wise was speaking to me and said, ‘You need to go to the temple.’
“So I went and met with my bishop, and I was like, ‘I’m either going to turn my life to the temple or I’m going to commit murder. So do you want to give me a temple recommend?’ I was perfectly honest because at that point I had nothing left to lose.”
A temple recommend is an identification card that allows members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to enter a temple.
On the recording Vallow said that time in her life was “a turning point,” that led to her becoming more religious.
Later in the audio, Vallow describes her spiritual experiences. Court documents and many of Vallow’s former friends have detailed that Vallow believes she has spiritual powers. This recording is the first time the public has heard it from Vallow in her own words.
“I have had some wonderful experiences. I have been administered to by the angel Moroni. I have seen him,” Vallow says in the recording. “I have had lots of angelic ministry with people who wake me up at 4 o’clock in the morning and tell me things to do. I no longer need to sleep very much, because I’m woken up constantly by angels giving me instructions on things I can do to help further the father’s work.”
In the recording Vallow, Gibb, Zulema Pastenes, who was briefly married to Cox before his December 2019 death, and others in the Preparing A People group all express the belief that the end of the world is near. (Cox, who authorities believe was involved in the deaths of J.J. and Tylee, and was a suspect in a drive-by shooting that targeted his niece’s husband, died at age 51 in December 2019. The death was ruled due to natural causes.)
“The Lord is gathering his people. He is calling people to the 144,000. They’re already being called. They’re already being sent on their missions. They’re already going full circle. The time is now. He is coming,” Vallow said.
Gibb echoes this belief.
“Preparing a People. That’s what we’re trying to do with them. We’re trying to help people realize that things are really happening like they did a long time ago. In the old day, people had visions and dreams. This is not rocket, new science, this is like old,” Gibb said.
Gibb tells the group a “northern body that will come here and take over our land. And that, we know, is going to be Russia and China.”
Vallow the warrior
Vallow tells the group she was surprised that God chose her for his mission because she thought God knew her personality was “totally sweet and innocent.”
“And he gave me a pre-mortal memory of me. And I got to see myself as a warrior fighting for the savior in the pre-mortal world. And I went to other worlds and I fought. And I was one of his strongest warriors. And I saw it. And he showed me so I could never deny it again. I was not sweet and I was not innocent. I am old. I have fought. I have fought in this war for millennia. And that’s who I am. And I came down here to be a warrior and fight. And I only thought that I was sweet and innocent,” Vallow said.