Netflix’s true-crime docuseries, Sins of Our Mother, follows the investigation into the disappearance of sixteen-year-old Tylee Ashlyn Ryan and her seven-year-old sibling Joshua Jaxon “J. J.” Vallow in September 2019. They were later confirmed to have been murdered in June 2020 in Rexburg, Idaho with the main culprits turning out to be their mother Lori Vallow and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Sins of Our Mother opens by introducing Lori Vallow (born Lori Norene Cox) AKA the ‘Doomsday Mom’ and her family history. The narrative explains that in 1992 at the age of 19, she married her high school boyfriend Nelson Yanes, but they separated shortly afterwards.
Then, she married William Lagioia in 1995 and had a son named Colby Ryan the next year. This marriage too ended in 1998 and Lori married a third time in 2001 to a man named Joseph Anthony Ryan Jr who legally adopted her son. They had Tylee in 2002.
In the first episode, Colby explains that Joseph turned abusive towards him and sexually assaulted his mom as well as him. This led to Lori’s brother Alexander Lamar “Alex” Cox tasing and threatening to murder him. He pleaded guilty and served 90 days in prison in Austin, Texas.
After this separation, her fourth marriage took place in 2006. She wed Charles Vallow, a catholic man who converted to his new wife’s faith and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). He also had two sons from a previous marriage.
A few years down the line in 2013, the couple also adopted JJ who was Charles’ grand nephew and moved to Kauai, Hawaii. Eventually, Lori would hear about and meet a man named Chad Guy Daybell which would begin the crumbling of her family.
Sins of Our Mother explained in detail:
Who was Chad Daybell?
The family moved back to Arizona in 2016. Two years later, Lori and her friend Melanie Gibb attended a ‘Preparing a People’ event, where the former met Chad for the first time.
Chad was the author of the ‘Standing in Holy Places’ series of books and had strong LDS-influenced apocalyptic beliefs. He had discussed them numerous times in his works as well as on various podcasts.
During their first meeting, Chad mentioned to Lori that the two had been married in seven previous lifetimes and they soon began talking privately. The man even appeared on a podcast with Melanie and Lori called ‘Preparing a People’.
Lori eventually started changing under Chad’s influence and things started falling apart when a few weeks later, Charles left town for a business trip.
What happened to Charles?
The narrative explains that Lori accused Charles of cheating on her and cleared out his stuff when he was away. She even took out $35,000 from their joint bank account and stole his truck.
He called the police and confessed that he was worried about his children as Lori had confessed to not caring about any of them anymore. He later filed for divorce in February 2019 as he claimed Lori had threatened to murder him because he was possessed by a dark entity.
As Charles tried to tell the family that Lori was acting strange, no one believed him as she had convinced everyone that he was cheating. On July 11, 2019, Charles was supposed to come to pick up JJ from their house in Chandler, Arizona. There was an argument between Lori’s brother Alex and him.
This resulted in Alex shooting Charles dead in the name of self defence as the latter attacked him with a baseball bat. After investigating the situation, the case was not probed further and the killing was proved to be in self defence.
However, Lori could not claim the $1 Million insurance policy as Charles had changed the beneficiary before his death. She even brewed different tales about Charles’ death to different people.
How did Lori become a suspect?
After Charles’ passing, Lori took her two kids and moved to Rexburg, Idaho on the pretext of needing a fresh start. Colby had moved out, gotten married and was focused on his own family at the time.
He lost touch with almost everyone but tried to get back in touch with his sister on September 24, 2019 (her birthday). During their text exchange, he noticed that the replies were not like Tylee’s usual texts and asked her to talk on the phone. There was no response from the other side.
Meanwhile, JJ’s grandparents too tried to get in touch with Lori to talk to him but got no response. This is also when Colby’s wife checked the emails that Charles had sent before his death to the entire family and found something horrible.
He had mentioned that Lori had called her own daughter a dark spirit. Furthermore, she had labelled every member of the family as a light or dark spirit based on Chad’s self-curated method of analysing souls.
He believed that 144,000 people would survive an inevitable apocalypse and he will lead them to a new Jerusalem. In addition, he believed that a further 25,000 people were so called zombies who needed to be eliminated.
Meanwhile, Charles’ mom Kay logged into his Amazon account and found an engagement ring order delivered to Rexburg. Since it could not have been from her son (as he had been dead for a while) she sent the police looking for JJ at the address.
What did the Police find in Rexburg?
The location was of an apartment complex and the cops found Chad, Lori, Alex, Melani Boudreaux (Lori’s niece) and a few others there. On being asked about JJ’s whereabouts, Lori said that he’s with her friend Melanie Gibb in Arizona.
The cops tried to get in touch with her but failed so they asked Lori to do so and get back to them. At this moment the narrative depicts a phone call between Lori and Melanie with the latter asking why she lied to the police about JJ being with her.
When no positive response came, the cops returned to the apartment complex to find all the potential suspects gone. The authorities came looking in Arizona and Colby got involved again. The case then became national news as Lori and Chad were on the run.
Meanwhile, December 12, 2019 saw the end of Alex Cox as he died of natural causes due to tumours in his lungs. Since he was involved in Charles’ killing and was a follower of Chad’s cause, a lot of strings died with him.
Every news channel, social media platform and paper had Tylee and JJ’s picture asking for information about the kids.
How did Lori and Chad get arrested?
In January 2020, the authorities located Lori and Chad back in Kauai, Hawaii. The former was served with a court order to present her children within five days.
The news also came out that the duo was married which increased suspicion. Chad’s former wife, Tamara Daybell, had passed away just 13 days before the day of their wedding in November 2019. Their wedding photos which were leaked online saw Lori wearing the same ring that was ordered from Charles’ Amazon account.
After Lori failed to produce the children, she was arrested and incarcerated in Kauai in February till her extradition to Idaho. Furthermore, Chad’s property was searched and human remains were found on the grounds in June 2020.
He was arrested and it was confirmed that the remains were of Tylee and JJ. He remained in custody as Lori was sent to a mental health facility to be competent to stand trial.
In May 2021, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell were charged with the murders of Tamara Daybell, Tylee Ryan, and JJ Vallow.
Where does the case stand now?
Lori was declared competent to stand trial on April 11, 2022. She, along with Chad, is scheduled to have a trial in 2023 in Ada County, Idaho.
In May 2022, the prosecution revealed that they will be seeking death penalty for Lori Vallow, declaring that she qualifies for capital punishment as the killings were extremely horrifying and financially motivated.