What happens next after doomsday cult mum who murdered her own kids is jailed

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Lori Vallow Daybell with her daughter Tylee Ryan who she murdered (Image: Chandler Police Dept)
Lori Vallow Daybell with her daughter Tylee Ryan who she murdered (Image: Chandler Police Dept)

A doomsday cult mum will spend the rest of her life behind bars for the murder of her two children and conspiracy to murder her husband's first wife - but what happens next in the chilling case?

Lori Vallow Daybell, 49, had been facing the death penalty before a last-minute ruling by the judge just weeks before the trial began took it off the table.

She has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of her two children, Tylee Ryan, 16, and JJ Vallow, seven, as well as her husband's first wife, Tammy Daybell, 49.

Tylee and JJ were last seen in September 2019, with concerns for their welfare raised in November. This sparked a major search while their mother jetted off to Hawaii to marry her fifth husband Chad Daybell.

Tammy Daybell, Chad's first wife, died unexpectedly in October 2019, with her death at first not being treated as suspicious but her body later exhumed for an autopsy to be carried out.

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The autopsy revealed Tammy had died of "asphyxiation" said to be "at the hands of someone else". Tylee and JJ's remains were found on Chad Daybell's property in Salem, Idaho, in the summer of 2020.

The case, which involves bizarre cult beliefs, mystery deaths and romantic rivalry has spanned the last four years, until Monday saw Vallow sentenced to life without the possibility of parole - but the saga is still far from over.

What happens next after doomsday cult mum who murdered her own kids is jailedVallow was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole (AP)

Chad Daybell's trial

Chad Daybell is yet to stand trial for the same charges as Lori for the murder of children Tylee and JJ, and conspiracy to murder his ex-wife Tammy. Chad Daybell is also charged with an additional count of the first-degree murder of Tammy. Unlike, Lori, he is facing the death penalty.

The couple were set to stand trial together until a judge in March decided they would be separate, which pushed Chad Daybell's case back. His trial is scheduled to start on 1 April 2024.

Chad Guy Daybell was born in Provo, Utah, in 1968 and married wife Tammy in 1990. The couple had five children together before Tammy died on October 19, 2019. He shared his religious beliefs with Lori, including "the deeper mysteries of God."

On September 8, 2019, the last day Tylee was seen alive, Chad Daybell signed an application to increase the life insurance policy on his wife, Tammy, to the maximum allowed.

What happens next after doomsday cult mum who murdered her own kids is jailedChad Daybell's murder trial has been scheduled for April 2024 (Rexberg Police Dept/ Handout)

Lori Vallow Daybell's faces another trial in Arizona

Lori also faces two other cases in Arizona — one on a charge of conspiring with her brother to kill her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, and one of conspiring to kill her niece's ex-husband. Charles Vallow was shot and killed in 2019, but her niece's ex survived an attempt later that year.

Lori and Charles had married in 2006, and adopted JJ, the biological son grandson of Vallow Daybell's sister.

But in early 2019, a year after she met husband-to-be Chad Daybell, the couple became estranged and Charles filed for divorce. He said he feared for the safety of himself and the children, and that Lori had threatened to murder him.

He also shared concerns about his wife's mental state, telling investigators she had told him she "was a God assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ's second coming in July 2020 and that if [Charles] got in the way of her mission she would murder him".

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What happens next after doomsday cult mum who murdered her own kids is jailedTylee Ryan, 16, and JJ Vallow, 7, were murdered (FBI)

Court documents showed Charles had learned about her relationship with Chad Daybell that June, and he had emailed Chad's wife Tammy with the information about their relationship.

Lori's brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed her estranged husband, Charles Vallow, in a suburban Phoenix home. Cox claimed he acted in self-defence, having gone to confront Charles about alleged abusive behaviour toward Vallow Daybell. It was then that Cox alleged Charles struck him in the head with a bat, before he shot him in return.

However, Cox didn't perform CPR and waited 43 minutes to call 911. Investigators also said Charles was already on the ground when Cox shot him a second time.

Though police investigated the murder, the case didn't get far before Cox died of a blood clot in his lung at the age of 51 on December 12 that year. Almost two years after the killing, a Maricopa County grand jury charged Lori Vallow Daybell with conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.

What happens next after doomsday cult mum who murdered her own kids is jailedInvestigators searching Chad Daybell's property in Salem, Idaho, where they would uncover Tylee and JJ's remains (AP)

Power of cults

Lori Vallow's defence team had argued she was a "kind and loving mother to her children" who happened to take an interest in religion and biblical prophecies about the end of the world - but what's clear is that her doomsday cult beliefs were a major factor in the case.

While Lori Vallow has been sentenced, the case raises major questions about the role of destructive and extreme religion beliefs. Beliefs that ultimately led the apparent 'loving mother' to brutally murder her own flesh and blood.

The 50-year-old mother-of-three had grown up in the Church of the Latter-day Saints (LDS) but, since meeting her new lover Chad Daybell, her beliefs had grown ever more extreme. She believed she and Mr Daybell had been chosen for a religious mission to lead “the 144,000” followers – that he was a prophet and she a goddess.

These beliefs grew increasingly fantastical and dangerous, invoking zombies, dark spirits and death. And that the only way to get rid of the zombie was to destroy the human body it was in.

What happens next after doomsday cult mum who murdered her own kids is jailedVallow has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole for the murders of her two children (AP)

Chilling text messages sent to Mr Daybell revealed her complaining that: “We r both so tired of taking care of demons. We are weary. Please ask the Lord to take them.” One month later, the children had vanished.

Tylee's remains were found in a melted green bucket, which had been buried near fire pit next to a pet cemetery on Daybell's property. She had been dismembered, burned, and her body parts scattered around the grounds.

JJ, meanwhile, was found in a shallow grave on the property. His arms and legs were bound in duct tape, and his head was wrapped in a plastic bag with layers of duct tape wrapped around it.

He was still dressed in his pyjamas and a pull-ups night diaper - which Hermosillo said was soaked from his rotting corpse. JJ's body was found in varying stages of decay, partially covered with a blue children's blanket, on top of which had been placed wood panelling and three white stones.

Lucy Williamson

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