Lori Vallow, convicted of killing her kids, sentenced to life

  • Lori Vallow was convicted in May of killing her two youngest kids 
  • Tylee Ryan, 16, and JJ Vallow, 7, went missing in September 2019
  • More than 60 witnesses spoke during the weeks-long murder trial

(NewsNation) — Lori Vallow, the Idaho mom convicted earlier this year in the murder of her two youngest children, received multiple life sentences on Monday.

Her son, JJ Vallow, 7 and daughter Tylee Ryan, almost 17 at the time, went missing in September 2019. Their bodies were later found on the Idaho property of Vallow’s husband, Chad Daybell.

Vallow was also charged in May with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the case of Tammy Daybell, Chad’s late wife.

At the sentencing hearing, several people gave victim impact statements, including Tammy Daybell’s sister, her aunt and JJ’s grandmother. Colby Ryan, Vallow’s oldest son, had his victim impact statement read by prosecutor Rob Wood.

In these statements, the family members of JJ, Tylee and Tammy Daybell talked about their loved ones.

Tammy Daybell was described as a “beloved” librarian and teacher who helped underserved children by her sister. Tylee was remembered as sweet, funny and a loving sister to JJ, an energetic, smart boy who touched many lives, according to his grandmother.

Ryan mourned that his sister Tylee “will never have the opportunity to become a mother, wife or have the career she was destined to have,” and that JJ “will never be able to grow and spread his light with the world the way he did.”

Kay and Larry Woodcock, the grandparents of JJ Vallow, embrace each other after Lori gave her victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing of Lori Vallow Daybell at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony, Idaho, Monday, July 31, 2023. Idaho mother Vallow Daybell has been sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday in the murders of her two youngest children and a romantic rival in a case that included bizarre claims that her son and daughter were zombies and that she was a goddess sent to usher in the Biblical apocalypse. (Tony Blakeslee/EastIdahoNews.com via AP, Pool)

“My siblings and father deserve so much more than this,” Ryan wrote. “I want them to be remembered for who they were, not just a spectacle.”

Woodcock also spoke about her own grief.

“There have been too many situations in the past few years where we get slammed with the fact that JJ won’t hit another milestone in his life, all because his materialistic, self-centered mother cruelly and brutally stole his life,” Woodcock said.

During the highly publicized trial, where more than 60 witnesses were called to testify, more information emerged about Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell’s “doomsday” beliefs.

Chad Daybell, a follower of “Preparing a People,” took their teachings to an extreme, and would talk about the world ending. Texts between Vallow and Chad Daybell revealed the two spoke about demons “possessing” Tylee and JJ, and even called the two “zombies.”

Tammy Daybell’s sister, Samantha Gwilliam, while giving her statement at the sentencing referenced some of these beliefs, telling Vallow she and Chad Daybell are not “exalted beings.”

“No angels are coming to rescue you,” Gwilliam said.

Addressing Vallow directly, Gwilliam called her a “liar,” “adulteress” and murderer.

Gwilliam described for the court how Tammy Daybell’s mother had leukemia, and spent the last months of her life watching the trial.

“I miss my sister every day. I will grieve her, and the loss of my mother, every single day of my life,” Gwilliam said. “As for you, I choose to forget you and as I leave the courtroom here today, I choose to never think of you again.”

Although Vallow had been committed multiple times for treatment to make her mentally competent for court proceedings, Wood said there’s no evidence her “alleged mental illness” affected her crimes, and that she knew right from wrong.

Wood asked for the maximum sentence on all charges for Vallow, who also faces felony charges for conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Public Defender John Thomas asked for a 20-year fixed term with an indeterminate life sentence, arguing that Vallow was a loving mother before meeting Chad Daybell, and that life in prison would not incentivize her to become a better person.

Chad Daybell remains behind bars and is set to stand trial in April 2024.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Lori Vallow

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