As Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell face charges in relation to the deaths of her two children, 7-year-old JJ and 17-year-old Tylee, more bizarre details have surfaced about the couple's beliefs and actions in the days leading up to the disappearance of the two kids in September 2019. Monday, Dateline special What Happened to Tylee and JJ? broke down some of the more disturbing new aspects of the case, much of which came from Vallow's former best friend, Melanie Gibb.
The update came just days after the remains of Tylee and JJ were found on Daybell's property. Vallow's children were last seen alive just weeks before she and Daybell wed in Hawaii, which came weeks after the death of his wife, Tammy Daybell. Her death, initially attributed to natural causes, came just months after Vallow's fourth husband, Charles, was shot and killed by her brother, Alex Cox, on July 11. Charles' death is under investigation now after initially being attributed to self-defense, but Cox died in December of a pulmonary blood clot.
Vallow is currently facing charges on two counts of desertion and nonsupport of a dependent child, while Daybell has been charged with two felony counts of concealment or destruction of evidence, to which he's pleaded not guilty. Keep scrolling to see some of the more disturbing details about the case revealed on Dateline's update.
Daybell and Vallow meet
During her first on-camera interview, Vallow's former best friend described her first impression of Daybell as a "humble, softspoken, meek individual." A doomsday fiction author, Daybell first met Vallow at a talk he was giving, during which Gibb said he told her about the second coming, which he said he was given special insight into after his own near-death experience, which allowed him to see into the "beyond." Gibb said that both Daybell and Vallow seemed very sincere about these beliefs.prevnext
Gibb added that Vallow's faith in Daybell's belief appeared to be wholehearted, although she admitted her former friend was known to be "manipulative." As she talked about her ongoing spiritual journey with Gibb, Vallow could make you "feel like what she was saying was true because she'd give you amazing experiences that she had and they sounded really believable." She added that Vallow often told her what was going on with "other side of the veil" and that she had an "ongoing voice she would hear."prevnext
The end times
As the couple grew closer, despite Daybell's marriage, both became convinced that they were "the head of the 144,000," Gibb said. This is in reference to a Bible passage from the book of Revelations about a group of people chosen in the end times to ascend to heaven by God. The two wholeheartedly believed they had been called upon to usher this group of people during what they thought was an imminent apocalypse.prevnext
"Gasoline and fire"
Both Vallow and Daybell were known as liars, Gibb said, which became a "common threat." She added, "They were really good lying to each other." Playing off of each other, the two became like "gasoline and fire," she told Keith Morrison, adding that they were "equally destructive to each other" as they got wrapped up more in their beliefs. These beliefs got more bizarre over time as well.prevnext
As Daybell prepared for the end of the world, Gibb said he preached not only ideas of reincarnation, but that Oprah Winfrey was some kind of dark spirit that was destined to usher in the end times. More details weren't given about Winfrey's involvement in Daybell and Vallow's belief system, but that quick bit of information was enough to strike the audience as deeply strange.prevnext
Vallow also began to speak about zombies, Gibb said, and began to refer to her children as zombies after learning about the concept from Daybell. Gibb said that she first heard her friend refer to Tylee as a zombie when the teen didn't want to babysit her little brother, but that she also referred to JJ as a zombie later. Gibb said that according to Daybell, a zombie was a person "whose mortal spirit has left their body and that their body is now the host of another spirit." The new spirit in the "zombie" is a "dark spirit."prevnext
In new court documents, Gibb further explained the zombie concept, which investigators believe played a part in Tylee and JJ's death. When the dark spirit takes over the person's body, Daybell and Vallow believed "the person's true spirit goes into ‘limbo’ and is stuck there until the host body is physically killed. As such, death of the physical body is seen as the mechanism by which the body's original spirit can be released from limbo."prevnext
There was also talk of a large earthquake from Vallow and Daybell, who predicted Utah would be hit so hard by a quake at the end of 2019 that people would be distracted from whatever strangeness was occurring in their personal lives, Gibb said.
Charlene Campbell, a former member of Avow, expanded on the idea to The Daily Mail: "He convinced Lori [the Tylee and JJ were zombies], and then they destroyed the children. They were convinced they would not have to deal with the consequences because the fallout of that earthquake would be so monumental, all the way into Idaho. It would be such a huge distraction; no one would know that they buried the kids."prev