Chad Daybell’s former sister-in-law reveals his bizarre behavior when his first wife died


Chad Daybell’s former sister-in-law has opened up about the alleged cult leader’s bizarre behavior in the wake of his first wife Tammy’s sudden death in 2019 as authorities continue to investigate the possibility that she was murdered. 

Tammy Daybell died aged 49 on October 19, 2019, at the home she shared with Chad in Salem, Idaho. Chad refused an autopsy at the time, despite the fact that she was said to be in excellent health. 

Just two weeks later he married Lori Vallow, the so-called ‘cult mom’ who shot to infamy after the disappearance of her children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, who vanished in September 2019 and were found murdered and buried on Chad’s property last summer. 

Lori and Chad, who were allegedly enmeshed in a dangerous doomsday cult, are currently behind bars awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to hide the kids’ remains. No one has been charged with the murders as the investigation remains ongoing. 

Meanwhile, authorities are also still investigating allegations that the couple may have also played a role in Tammy’s death. 

Tammy’s sister Samantha Gwilliam broke her silence about the twisted case in a new Dateline special airing on Friday. 

In a preview for the episode, Gwilliam described the moment Chad called to tell her that his wife of 29 years and the mother of his five children was gone. 

 ‘[Chad said] that she’d been sick and had a coughing fit and passed away,’ Gwilliam recalled. ‘He sounded upset and devastated. I mean, I was crying and he was crying. It was a really hard moment.’ 

Chad Daybell’s former sister-in-law has opened up about the alleged cult leader’s bizarre behavior in the wake of his first wife Tammy’s sudden death in 2019 as authorities continue to investigate the possibility that she was murdered. Pictured: Tammy and Chad

Tammy's sister Samantha Gwilliam broke her silence about the twisted case in a new Dateline special airing on Friday (pictured)

Tammy’s sister Samantha Gwilliam broke her silence about the twisted case in a new Dateline special airing on Friday (pictured)

‘There’s just so many thoughts running through your head,’ Gwilliam added. ‘And a lot of it was, like: “No. That didn’t happen.”‘  

Just 17 days later, Chad was on a beach in Hawaii tying the knot with Lori, whom he’d met in the fall of 2018 at a church conference.  

‘I was shocked because at that point, Tammy had only been gone for a month,’ Gwilliam said. 

‘I just thought: “Is the grief clouding his judgment?” I mean, who goes and does that? It didn’t make sense to me. And obviously, I was really upset.’ 

Gwilliam said she felt betrayed, adding: ‘That was too soon for anybody to get over my sister.’ 

Chad Daybell

Lori Vallow

 Chad (left) and his second wife Lori Vallow (right) are currently behind bars awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to hide the remains of her children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow

Lori's kids Tylee and JJ (pictured) were found buried on Chad's property last June, nine months after they disappeared. An investigation into the children's deaths remains ongoing as Lori and Chad face charges for conspiring to hide their bodies

Lori’s kids Tylee and JJ (pictured) were found buried on Chad’s property last June, nine months after they disappeared. An investigation into the children’s deaths remains ongoing as Lori and Chad face charges for conspiring to hide their bodies

An obituary stated that Tammy died in her sleep and her cause of death was ruled as natural after Chad declined an autopsy.

Many friends of Tammy have insisted that she was in great shape and was even training for a marathon in the weeks leading up to her death.  

‘She was into healthy living, very fit — and then all of a sudden we hear she has died,’ a friend told DailyMail.com last year. ‘It didn’t make sense then and it doesn’t make sense now.’

Tammy had also visited with her siblings and parents two weeks earlier in Utah and showed no sign of sickness, according to the East Idaho News.

The case was reopened weeks later when authorities mounted a search for Lori’s children, who had vanished three months earlier but were never reported missing by their mother.  

Investigators began to suspect that Tammy’s death could be linked to the kids’ disappearance after learning about the abrupt marriage of Chad and Lori, who fled from Idaho the day after police first questioned the mother about JJ and Tylee’s whereabouts.  

An obituary stated that Tammy (pictured) died in her sleep and her cause of death was ruled as natural after Chad declined an autopsy

An obituary stated that Tammy (pictured) died in her sleep and her cause of death was ruled as natural after Chad declined an autopsy

Tammy’s body was exhumed from the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville, Utah – where Chad had once worked – on December 11, 2019. 

But over 17 months later, authorities have yet to release the results of Tammy’s autopsy and toxicology tests. 

In February the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho, which is leading the death investigation, announced that the medical examiner had completed the autopsy.   

Sheriff Len Humphries said information from the autopsy would not be released because it is being used as evidence in the ‘open and ongoing investigation’. 

It was previously revealed that Chad and Lori were being investigated in Tammy’s case for conspiracy, murder and/or attempted murder.  

Tammy’s death is one of at least five linked to the couple, who were allegedly members of a dangerous cult devoted to preparing for the end of the world. 

The first death is that of Lori’s estranged fourth husband Charles Vallow, who was shot dead by her brother Alex Cox in Arizona on July 10.  

Charles and Lori had gotten into an argument when the father came to pick up JJ at the mother’s home in Chandler. Lori’s brother intervened and fatally shot Charles. 

Police initially determined that Cox acted in self defense – but the case was reopened amid the multi-state search for JJ and Tylee, who had moved to Idaho, where Chad lived, with their mother in August.    

Cox himself died aged 51 on December 12, 2019, in Gilbert, Arizona. An autopsy determined he died of natural causes with blood clots in his lungs and the overdose drug Narcan in his system. 

At the time of his death Cox was under investigation for both the deaths of Charles and Tammy, according to police reports. 

Months after he died, Cox was implicated in two more deaths as the bodies of his niece and nephew, Tylee and JJ, were found buried on Chad’s property. 

Tylee, 16, and JJ, seven, disappeared in September 2019 but were never reported missing by their mother, their uncle or Chad. 

Investigators believe Cox helped bury the bodies hours after the children vanished, according to affidavits for Lori and Chad’s arrests. 

The couple are jailed in Idaho while they await a June trial on charges of conspiracy to hide the kids’ remains.  

Timeline of JJ and Tylee’s disappearance

July 11, 2019: Lori Vallow’s husband, Charles Vallow, is killed by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona. Police initially rule that Alex acted in self defense but reopen the case months later after the children are reported missing. 

August: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho, where her future husband Chad Daybell lives with his wife Tammy.

September 8: The last time Tylee is seen during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Lori, JJ and Alex. In the following weeks she tells people who ask where Tylee is that she’s studying at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus.

September 23: The last time JJ is seen at his school in Rexburg. Lori emailed the school the following day and claims she is moving the family to California for a new job. 

October 2: Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Lori’s niece Melanie Pawlowski, is targeted in a drive-by shooting in Arizona. Police identify the vehicle carrying the shooter as a Jeep registered to Charles Vallow, Lori’s late husband. 

October 19: Chad’s wife Tammy, 49, dies at their Idaho home. An obituary states that she passed away peacefully in her sleep. Chad declines an autopsy and her death is listed as natural causes.

October 25: A friend of Tylee receives a vague ‘miss you’ text from her phone but says that it didn’t sound like the teen.   

November 5: Lori and Chad tie the knot on a beach in Kauai. Receipts indicate that Lori purchased her own wedding ring from Amazon nearly three weeks prior to Tammy’s death. 

November 26: Out-of-state relatives ask Idaho police to perform a welfare check on JJ. Lori and Chad claim he is in Arizona with relatives and ask their friend, Melanie Gibb, to lie and say she took the boy there for Thanksgiving. Police soon learn that no one has seen JJ, or his older sister Tylee, since September. 

November 27: Police execute a search warrant related to the children at Lori’s home and discover that she and Chad have fled Idaho.

December 11: Tammy’s body is exhumed from a Utah cemetery and her death is reclassified as suspicious.

December 12: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, is found unresponsive in a bathroom in Arizona and dies. Months later an autopsy determines that he died of natural causes while he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system. 

December 21: Rexburg police issue the first press release about JJ and Tylee, revealing they believe their disappearance could be linked to Tammy’s death and asking the public for information.

December 24: Lori and Chad issue a statement through an attorney saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing ‘allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor’.

December 30: Police accuse Lori and Chad of lying to investigators and say they believe the couple know where the kids are or what happened to them.

January 3, 2020: Police search Chad’s home in Salem and remove 43 items, including tech devices and journals. They also comb over sections of the snow-covered yard with rakes and metal detectors.

January 26: Lori and Chad are seen for the first time in months as police serve them with two search warrants in Kauai. Lori is also served with a court order to produce the children to authorities in Idaho in five days. The couple are approached by the media while officers serve the documents and refuse to say anything about the children.

January 30: Lori misses the court deadline to produce the children to Idaho authorities.

February 20: Lori is arrested in Kauai and charged with two felony counts for desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, and one misdemeanor count each for resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt of court. 

March 5: Lori is extradited to Idaho, where she is held on $1million bond at Madison County Jail.

March 17: Lori professes her innocence in a statement through her attorney as two other members of her defense team quit and the judge removes himself from the case. 

March 24: Court documents filed in the divorce of Lori’s niece Melani and her husband Brandon Boudreaux allege that Lori told people she believed her children were zombies before they disappeared. 

April 9: Authorities reveal they are investigating Lori and Chad for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with Tammy’s death.

May 25: Idaho police issue a statement expressing hope that the kids will be found safe on what would have been JJ’s eighth birthday. 

June 9: Police search Chad’s home in Salem for the second time and discover human remains in the backyard. Chad is taken into police custody and charged with destruction or concealment of evidence.



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