Arizona police release probable cause statement from investigation into death of Lori Vallow’s former husband

Jul 1, 2021, 5:00 PM | Updated: Apr 2, 2023, 7:20 pm

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Two days after Lori Vallow was indicted on a murder charge in connection with the death of her previous husband, Charles Vallow, officials with the Chandler, Arizona, Police Department released a probable cause statement from their investigation.

A Maricopa County Grand Jury in Arizona indicted Lori Vallow on one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder on June 24.

Police said Charles Vallow was killed on July 11, 2019. He had stopped by to pick up JJ Vallow at the Arizona home where Lori Vallow was living with her children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan when he was shot and killed by Lori Vallow’s older brother, Alex Cox.

Cox claimed he fired in self-defense. However, according to the probable cause statement, investigators expressed concern “about a potential bullet strike on the ground near Charles Vallow’s body.”

During their investigation, police said detectives learned Lori and Charles Vallow were experiencing turmoil in their marriage.

As a result, Lori Vallow and her two children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan moved to Arizona while Charles Vallow stayed in Texas.

Detectives also said Lori Vallow had accused her husband of infidelity, which led to their separation, and she left JJ Vallow with Charles Vallow and disappeared for two months.

“It was also learned that Charles was concerned for Lori’s mental health as she had begun to express that she was selected to prepare 144,000 people for the end of the world,” police said in the probable cause statement. “Concerned for her well-being and that of the children, Charles filed a mental health petition asking for a mental health evaluation.”

Body camera footage released last year showed Charles Vallow attempting to get help for his wife.

New Body Cam Video Shows Another Plea For Help From Charles Vallow

“I’ve tried to support her as much as I could, but it has gotten really, really bad. She’s had a break,” Vallow said.

He also said Lori told him, “I’m going to kill you. You are going to be murdered today or tomorrow.”

Police said Vallow, in the mental health petition, talked about how his wife told him he was possessed by a dark spirit by the name of Ned Schneider.

“Lori would even refer to Charles in conversation and documentation by the name of Ned,” police said. “This turmoil in the relationship can be substantiated through police reports, court orders, police body camera footage, cell phone records and witness testimony.”

Following Charles Vallow’s death, Lori Vallow married Chad Daybell less than a month after the latter’s wife died on Oct. 19, 2019.

While Arizona police were investigating Charles Vallow’s death, they said JJ Vallow’s grandmother reached out and said she had not been able to contact the boy.

According to the probable cause statement, Lori Vallow had relocated to Rexburg, Idaho, in September, and she told Idaho police JJ Vallow was staying with someone in Arizona.

Arizona investigators contacted that person and determined that was not the case.

“As a result, investigators from the Chandler Police Department, Gilbert Police Department, Rexburg Police Department, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations began to coordinate efforts to locate JJ and Tylee and also investigate the respective cases within their jurisdiction,” police said. “This coordinated effort consisted of numerous search warrants on telephone records, social media accounts, bank records, medical records, email accounts, residences and seized electronic devices.

“… the evidence shows that Charles’ death was a planned event and necessary to prevent Charles and others from confronting Lori about her extreme religious beliefs when he came to town on 07/11/2019,” police said. “The death of Charles Vallow was also necessary in order for Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow to marry and fulfill their religious prophecy.”

In the body camera footage released by Arizona police, Charles Vallow was heard warning officers about his wife’s strange behavior months before he died and the children went missing.

“She has lost her mind, I don’t know how else to say it,” he told officers. “We’re LDS (Latter-day Saints). She thinks she’s a resurrected being and a god. She threatened to murder me, kill me.”

Police said witnesses corroborated the belief system, and “it was discovered that Lori and Chad believed that they had extraordinary abilities. 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.”

Police added Lori Vallow and Daybell believed they could tell if someone had a “light” or “dark” scale attached to them, which indicated if the person had demonic spirits attached to them.

“Lori and Chad would often refer to these dark spirits by actual name, by a certain level of spirit or by using the term zombies,” Arizona police said.

Melani Gibb, one of Lori Vallow’s friends in Idaho who has been cooperating with police, told officers she visited Vallow at her new residence between Sept. 19 and 23, where Vallow allegedly told her JJ Vallow had become a “zombie.”

Police Release Gruesome Details In Investigation Of Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell

“Gibb further reports that the term ‘zombie’ refers to an individual whose mortal spirit has left their body and that their body is now the host of another spirit,” Idaho police said in a probable cause statement released in June 2020. “The new spirit in (a) ‘zombie’ is always considered ‘dark spirit.’ While the ‘dark spirit’ inhabits the host body, the person’s true spirit goes into ‘limbo’ and is stuck there until the host body is physically killed.”

Arizona police said Tylee Ryan and JJ and Charles Vallow had dark scales attached to them by Lori Vallow and Daybell.

“Coincidentally, if you shared their belief system, your score was favorable,” police said. “If you offered any opposition to their belief or their destiny, you were seen as possessed.”

Police also said Charles Vallow discovered a fictitious letter his wife sent to Daybell “written as if it was from Charles Vallow asking Chad Daybell to come to Arizona to assist him with writing a book.”

Officers said Vallow confronted his wife about the letter and said he would contact Tamara Daybell and inform her of the relationship between Lori and Chad Daybell.

Charles Vallow expressed concern about that message to Adam Cox, Lori Vallow and Alex Cox’s other brother, saying, “I’m not sure of the relationship with her and Chad Daybell but they are up to something…She will not explain it…I am going to send it to Chad Daybell’s wife. Her name is Tammy and I found her email address on their website too…I’ve got her cell number too.”


Police also said there is no direct evidence Chad Daybell was directly involved in the alleged planning of Charles Vallow’s death.

When Charles Vallow arrived at the Arizona home on July 11, 2019, police said a confrontation ensued and Vallow was shot and killed less than 15 minutes after he arrived.

“Lori, Tylee and Alex told investigators about a physical altercation that was started by Charles. During this altercation, Lori left the residence with Tylee and JJ. As they were leaving, Tylee and Lori reported hearing a gunshot,” police said in the probable cause statement.

Police said Alex Cox waited for nearly 45 minutes before calling 911 to report the shooting and he acted as if he was performing life-saving measures while paramedics were en route.

“It was not until emergency personnel began life saving measures that they saw blood coming from Charles’ body. This would indicate that Alex performed no emergency aid,” police said.

During the investigation, police said Cox performed a walkthrough of the shooting, saying he shot Charles Vallow twice as he was “coming at him.”

Investigators said one of the shots matched that trajectory, but a second shot caused a different type of wound than would be expected if Vallow was shot while standing, and the bullet left a defect in the floor where Vallow’s body was found.

“This angle would indicate that Charles was already laying on the floor when this second shot was fired,” police said.

Cox died on Dec. 12, 2019, in Gilbert, Arizona, under what police said were suspicious circumstances.

However, the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner later ruled that Cox died from natural causes.

Two witnesses told police they were told long before July 2019 that Charles Vallow had died and his body was taken over by an evil spirit.

They also told investigators they gathered with Lori Vallow and Daybell to “try and pray the spirits out of his body so Charles’ spirit would no longer be in limbo.”

Additionally, the witnesses said Vallow got her advice and direction from Daybell, who “was aware of the work with zombies” and the work being performed on Charles Vallow by his wife before July 11, 2019.

Arizona authorities said any trial in the Grand Canyon State would come after ongoing trials wrap up in Idaho.

The probable cause also outlined a financial motive for Charles Vallow’s $1 million life insurance policy.

Detectives found that Lori Vallow’s web history included a search into Social Security disability and benefits. Detectives said Vallow then followed a link to a form for a free benefits evaluation.

Then, a week after Charles Vallow’s death, Lori Vallow texted Daybell, saying, “So I talked to the insurance company. He changed it in March… So it was probably Ned before we got rid of him… I’ll still get the 4000 a month from (Social Security).”

Court Documents Raise New Questions About Daybell’s Finances


Detectives said Lori Vallow would not have known this without completing the online benefit evaluation, and she did not contact the Social Security Administration until an appointment on Aug. 12. 2019.

The documents also include the involvement of several people, whose names were redacted. Chandler police could not comment on future charges or persons of interest but said the case remains active.

“The Chandler Police Department investigation has not been closed with the recent indictment of Lori Vallow. It is still open and active,” said Sgt. Jason McClimans, Chandler Police Spokesperson, in an email response.

See more of KSL TV’s extensive coverage of the case here.

Read the full probable cause statement here.

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Arizona police release probable cause statement from investigation into death of Lori Vallow’s former husband