CHANDLER, Ariz. — More than two years after Charles Vallow's death, the Chandler Police Department is revealing what his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, initially told investigators in July 2019 after he was shot and killed.
It's the latest twist in a case involving multiple murders including the disappearance and deaths of Lori's children, Tylee and JJ.
Lori Vallow Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell, are currently in custody in Idaho facing murder and conspiracy charges connected to the deaths of Tylee and JJ, along with Chad Daybell's first wife, Tammy Daybell.
Lori Vallow Daybell was indicted in Maricopa County in late June for allegedly conspiring to murder Charles Vallow in Chandler. He died on July 11, 2019, after Chandler police say Lori's brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed him.
Cox told police he shot Charles Vallow in self-defense after Charles hit him with a baseball bat during an argument.
Lori's interview with Chandler Police
The 2019 interview between Lori Vallow Daybell and a Chandler officer, released Wednesday by the department along with its entire investigation file, shows Lori walking the officer through the morning of Charles Vallow's death.
When they walk into the interview room, Lori Vallow Daybell appears to be talking about Tylee and her schooling. She even laughs as the officer starts to question her.
>> Watch the full interview below
She told the officer that she recently moved into the house and that she and Charles Vallow were planning to separate. He wasn't staying at the home with them, but he was planning to travel from Texas on the day of his death and take JJ to school that morning.
"He said 'I’ll pay for a house for you and JJ or whatever,' because he’s all about JJ, he’s never about Tylee," Lori Vallow Daybell told the investigator. "He’s all about JJ. We adopted him together."
Lori Vallow Daybell told the officer that she asked her brother, Cox, to come and stay over the night before in case Charles Vallow came over early.
"I was expecting kind of an ambush for him to come over," Lori Vallow Daybell told the investigator. "Be just mean. 'It’s my house, I’m on the lease. I’m going to stay here.'"
When Charles Vallow arrived at the home the following morning, Lori Vallow Daybell said he left his phone inside after he went to put JJ in the car. When he came back in, Lori told the detective she took it and wouldn't give it to him.
"He’s acting really weird like he’s plotting something," Lori Vallow Daybell said to the officer. "Why are you even here? What did you come here for?"
Chandler police evidence revealed that Charles Vallow had been talking with one of Lori Vallow Daybell's relatives about planning an intervention for her because he was scared of her darkening religious beliefs.
Court records show that by this point Lori Vallow Daybell had already connected with Chad Daybell, a doomsday author in Rexburg, Idaho, and was part of a group that followed his alleged "end of times" teachings.
Charles Vallow reportedly confronted Lori about her relationship with Chad Daybell on June 29, 2019, and told her he'd tell Chad Daybell's wife Tammy if she didn't come clean.
Records show investigators believe Lori Vallow Daybell found out about the intervention before Charles Vallow arrived that morning and reached out to her brother, Cox, and two other unnamed people to warn them about Charles Vallow's plan.
Lori Vallow Daybell said things took a turn when she wouldn't give Charles Vallow his phone back.
"He was screaming at me to give him his phone," she told the investigator. "He was very worried with what was on his texts that he did not want me to see. He was screaming at me."
At this point, Lori Vallow Daybell said Tylee came out of her room with a baseball bat. Tylee told investigators that she didn't plan to use it, but wanted to have it on her for protection after she heard yelling.
"Obviously, I didn’t ever hit him with the bat or anything like that," Tylee told an investigator in a separate interview. "It was kind of just for like security. To know that I had it. I didn’t do anything with it. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have brought it out at all because it caused more trouble."
>> Watch the full interview with Tylee below
Both Tylee and Lori Vallow Daybell told the investigator that Charles Vallow took the bat from Tylee and held it up. Lori Vallow Daybell remembered him starting to struggle with her brother. Lori then told Tylee to go outside with JJ while she moved into a different room. That's when Lori said she heard the gunshot.
"I didn’t see the shot but I heard it and then I saw he was on the ground and was freaking out," Lori Vallow Daybell told the investigator.
After that, she said she walked outside and took JJ to Burger King for breakfast and then dropped him off at school. When the officer asked if she or her brother talked about calling for help, Lori Vallow Daybell said her brother called her first after she had left the house.
"Yeah he called me," Lori Vallow Daybell said. "And he said, 'are you taking JJ to school?' And I said, 'Yeah, we need to call police.'"
The probable cause statement released by Chandler police details that Cox, Lori Vallow Daybell's brother, was the one to call 911 after shooting Charles Vallow, but says he made no attempt to provide aid despite a dispatcher giving him CPR instructions on the phone. Chandler police say Charles Vallow "would have laid dead or dying for approximately 43 minutes before Alex called 911."
Chandler police said a text message from Lori Vallow Daybell to Chad Daybell after the shooting talked about death percentages in relation to Charles Vallow and Chad Daybell's first wife, Tammy Daybell, who would be killed later that year.
Charles warned police he was worried about Lori
Court records show the marriage between Lori Vallow Daybell and Charles Vallow grew rocky by the end of 2018.
At the end of January 2019, Charles Vallow called the Gilbert Police Department after he returned home from a business trip and told officers he thought Lori Vallow Daybell's religious beliefs turned radical and that he feared for his own life and their children.
Charles Vallow was trying to locate Lori so police could serve her with a mental health petition he filed.
"She needs help," he said to officers. "She needs some serious help. I want her to get help. I’m worried about her."
The probable cause statement from Chandler police noted that Charles Vallow claimed in the petition that Lori Vallow Daybell thought he had been taken over by a dark spirit.
Investigators later uncovered this belief in "dark" sprits was linked to Chad Daybell's religious teachings, according to the probable cause statement:
"It was discovered that Lori and Chad believed that they had extraordinary abilities," documents say. "Some of these abilities included the power to teleport and cause harm to others, the ability to call up natural disasters, the ability to pray away demonic spirits attached to others and also visionary capabilities. Because of these abilities provided to them, they felt that they were qualified to tell whether someone had a “light” or “dark” scale associated with them."
The records go on to say Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell would refer to people who were "dark" as zombies. Testimony from the case in Idaho shows that Lori referred to her children, Tylee and JJ, as "zombies" that needed to die.
After Charles Vallow asked Gilbert police for help, records show Lori Vallow Daybell gave Gilbert police her side of the story hours later, claiming she wanted Charles Vallow out of their home because she allegedly caught him cheating. She told the same to Chandler police when they questioned her about the estranged marriage.
Police said she did get the mental health evaluation and was released.
Charles Vallow filed for divorce, but in the months that followed, the couple reportedly reconciled. They were estranged but still married when Chandler police say Cox shot and killed Charles Vallow.
Early evidence of a conspiracy
Police said the first sign of a conspiracy to harm Charles Vallow came in November 2018, when Lori Vallow Daybell was texting with Zulema Pastenes, who would later become Cox's wife.
Lori Vallow Daybell reportedly told Pastenes that Charles Vallow was "blocking her gifts" and had a conversation, which was redacted from the released statement, that talked about "causing harm to Charles Vallow."
Pastenes is a witness listed in the cases against Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell in Idaho. In an Idaho court hearing earlier this year, Pastenes' attorney indicated she'd been offered an immunity deal in this case, but didn't elaborate on what that meant or if she took the deal.
Other text messages recovered by Chandler police showed Lori Vallow Daybell would text others in her religious circle about time to "work on" Charles Vallow before his death.
Chandler police said a search of Lori Vallow Daybell's web history also revealed she spent time researching a Social Security Disability application on June 6, 2019 -- more than a month before Charles Vallow's death.
Police later linked this to a text between Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell one week after Charles Vallow's death. The message detailed that Lori Vallow Daybell learned Charles Vallow changed his life insurance policy before he died, making the beneficiary his sister rather than Lori.
She went on to tell Chad Daybell she'd still get $4,000 in Social Security money after Charles Vallow's death, something police said she only could have known through that online search before Charles died.
Chandler police said they also submitted charges to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for Chad Daybell in this case, but MCAO declined to prosecute Daybell on the conspiracy charge due to "no reasonable likelihood of conviction."
Lori found 'not competent' for trial in Idaho
The conspiracy to commit murder charge in Charles Vallow's case is the first Lori Vallow Daybell faces in Arizona. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said any court proceedings in Arizona would begin after the cases in Idaho were resolved.
Last month, just days after new charges were announced for Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell, court documents were filed saying Lori was "not competent" to continue on with her court proceedings.
Records show the psychological assessment was taken before Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell were indicted on murder and conspiracy charges connected to the deaths of her children along with Chad's first wife.
"She is simply not competent to go forward and proceed at this time” David Leroy, former Idaho Attorney General said.
The trial is paused for an additional 180 days after doctors deemed she still wasn't competent at an update hearing in September.
The case against Chad Daybell is still ongoing, but he's waived his right to a speedy trial. It was originally set to start in November 2021, but that date has been vacated and a new date hasn't been scheduled at this time.
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