“Doomsday Mom” Lori Vallow Daybell told potential recruits they would need to “be separated” from their kids in order to join her cult-like group, a former friend testified this week.
Vallow Daybell is standing trial in an Idaho court on charges she killed two of her kids — 16-year-old daughter Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old son JJ Vallow — with her newest husband, Chad Daybell.
They are both also accused in the the death of Daybell’s previous wife, Tammy.
The jury heard Wednesday from Vallow Daybell’s ex-pal April Raymond, whom she met through her church in Hawaii in 2016, according to an Insider report. The pair kept in touch and reunited in 2019, but Vallow Daybell had changed drastically, she testified.
Gone were the typical religious beliefs Raymond said she and Vallow Daybell shared — instead, the now-accused killer touted beliefs about how she was a “Goddess” and her rivals were “zombies,” according to the report from inside the courtroom.
Vallow Daybell visited Raymond in February 2019 and tried to recruit her to join her new interpretation of the Christian religion, she recalled.
“She had come to gather me,” Raymond told the court. “She said I had fulfilled my role in their lives and I had a greater mission to fulfill with her.”
But the “mission” came with a radical caveat, she said.
“I would need to be separated from my children,” Raymond testified.
Prosecutors allege Lori and Chad Daybell espoused beliefs about zombies and said they were called upon by God to shepherd the 144,000 followers into the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. Vallow Daybell allegedly believed people either represented light or dark — the latter of which were those who had signed contracts with the devil.
According to her alleged beliefs, the only way for some people to lose their “dark” spiritual attachments was through spiritual castings, or their deaths.
Tylee and JJ’s remains were discovered in shallow graves in the backyard of Chad Daybell’s Rexburg, Idaho, home. JJ’s body was found buried under a tree, while Tylee’s charred remains were located in an area that the family called a “pet cemetery.”
Vallow Daybell is being tried separately from her now-husband, Daybell, who is facing similar charges.
In addition to Tylee’s and JJ’s murders, prosecutors have linked the couple to the October 2019 death of Daybell’s former wife, Tammy Daybell, 49.
The couple then collected Social Security benefits and life insurance money related to the three deaths, prosecutors said.
Earlier this week, the panel of 10 male and eight female jurors heard testimony from several law enforcement officials and emotional details from Vallow Daybell’s adult son, Colby Ryan.
They were shown police body-camera footage from November 26, 2019, when police in Rexburg were investigating JJ’s whereabouts. Police were asking around about the 7-year-old after his grandmother, Kay Woodcock, requested a welfare check.
Vallow Daybell can be heard in the footage complaining about threats from her brother and her late husband, Charles Vallow. She tells police her son is with her friend Melanie Gibb, in Arizona, and refers to Chad Daybell only as her brother’s “friend.”
She then gripes about Woodcock and how she feels “like I’m being tracked all the time.”
Vallow Daybell is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and grand theft. She has also been indicted in the Arizona death of her estranged husband, Charles Vallow.
Defense attorneys have appeared to try to pin the blame for Charles’ death on Daybell or Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, who has since died.
Vallow Daybell was arrested in May 2021 and later spent nine months in a mental hospital before she was deemed fit for trial in April 2022.
The trial is in its second week, and is expected to last several more.
Daybell will be tried separately at a later date.
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