Cult mom Lori Vallow’s former in-laws and friends remember her prepping for the apocalypse


Friends and the former in-laws of cult mom Lori Vallow have revealed she was preparing for the end of the world by storing food, water and medical supplies.

Vallow, 47, believed she was one of 144,000 people that would survive Doomsday – on what they believed would be July 22 last year – and was actively stocking up on things she could lose access to in an apocalyptic event.

Her friend April Raymond spoke to ABC’s ‘20/20’ for a two-hour special on Vallow and her husband, Doomsday author Chad Daybell, which will air on Friday night.

‘They were actively preparing for the end which was inevitably coming very soon,’ Raymond says of the couple.

‘Storing food, storing water, medical supplies, all the things you would need if you weren’t able to access them for whatever reason.’ 

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Lori Vallow’s friend April Raymond spoke to ABC’s ‘20/20’ about how the cult mom was preparing for the end of the world by storing food, water, and medical supplies

Vallow's former in-laws, pictured, also spoke to 20/20 about her Doomsday beliefs

Vallow’s former in-laws, pictured, also spoke to 20/20 about her Doomsday beliefs

Vallow and Daybell are currently behind bars awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to hide the remains of her children JJ and Tylee, whose disappearance sparked a wider investigation into the mysterious deaths surrounding the couple. 

Their bodies were found on Daybell’s property in Salem, Idaho, in June – months after Vallow had been arrested for failing to provide them with support – after JJ’s grandparents reported them missing in September 2019.    

Lori Vallow is facing two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, as well as three misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing officers, solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court

Lori Vallow is facing two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, as well as three misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing officers, solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court

Vallow and Daybell married in November 2019, just two weeks after the sudden death of his wife and a few months after the death of her husband.

However, Raymond said that Vallow was a ‘superfan’ of Daybell long before their marriage. 

‘She started talking about this new group that she was a part of, she would bring it up more and more often and I could see that she was becoming more involved in it and it was kind of becoming more of the focal point in her life,’ she told 20/20. 

‘Lori had always been a fan of Chad’s books and that’s how I first heard about Chad, from Lori. She would talk about this author that she was really interested in and really connected with his work,’ Raymond continued. 

‘Kind of like a super fan, I would describe her as a superfan.’

Raymond said that Vallow’s brother Alex Cox also became involved in Daybell’s Doombday group, and the pair would attempt to ‘recruit’ members of the 144,000 they believed would survive. 

Vallow's children JJ, left, and Tylee Ryan, right, went missing in September 2020

Vallow’s children JJ, left, and Tylee Ryan, right, went missing in September 2020

She said that Vallow believed she would survive but never mentioned the fate of her kids.

‘What they basically said is that we’re here to gather the 144,000 and you are one of them,’ Raymond said of the moment Vallow tried to recruit her.

‘I’m pretty familiar with Revelations and so I knew what she was referring to. These are the people that will be here at the second coming. It was just too far out there for me. It wasn’t something that connected with me on any level.’

Raymond said that she felt she needed to distance herself from Vallow at this point and added that her friend had always been fascinated with death.

‘Even before she started displaying changes in her personality that was something that was always interesting to her,’ she told 20/20.

Vallow was arrested in February 2020 in Hawaii over the disappearance of her two children who had been reported missing by grandparents in September. 

JJ’s grandparents also spoke to 20/20, claiming that Vallow and Daybell ‘just fed off each other’.

‘I actually think they like their Kool-aid, they’re drinking their own Kool-aid,’ Larry Vallow said.

The disappearance of JJ and Tylee in 2019 sparked a wider investigation into the mysterious events that have surround Vallow and Daybell over the past few years.

Chad Daybell is also charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, along with two other felony counts for destruction or concealment of evidence

Chad Daybell is also charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, along with two other felony counts for destruction or concealment of evidence

They are currently being investigated by the Idaho Attorney General for conspiracy, murder and/or attempted murder in the death of Chad’s wife Tammy in October 2019.

Tammy reportedly died in her sleep after going to bed coughing, according to an obituary. Yet she was in training for a 5K run to be held a few days after her death. 

Mormon Doomsday author Chad reportedly declined an autopsy, and her death was ruled to be from natural causes.

Two weeks later, he was married to Vallow.

Investigators now believe that Tammy’s death could now be linked to the deaths of Vallow’s children. 

Her body was exhumed, and an autopsy completed earlier this month, but the results are currently being held under wraps as evidence.

DailyMail.com revealed exclusively in January 2020 that police were investigating whether Tammy may have been poisoned.

No charges have been filed so far in connection with Tammy’s death.

Vallow and Daybell are preparing to face a joint trial in June 2021 on charges related to the disappearance of JJ and Tylee.

She is facing two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, as well as three misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing officers, solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court. 

Pictured: Map showing the suspicious deaths Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow are linked to

Pictured: Map showing the suspicious deaths Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow are linked to 

Tylee Ryan (left) and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow (right) had not been seen or heard from since September 2019 but cops only realized they were missing two days before Thanksgiving. A search was launched and their bodies were found on Daybell's property in June

Tylee Ryan (left) and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow (right) had not been seen or heard from since September 2019 but cops only realized they were missing two days before Thanksgiving. A search was launched and their bodies were found on Daybell’s property in June

Investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell's residence in 2020

Investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell’s residence in 2020

Daybell is also charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, along with two other felony counts for destruction or concealment of evidence.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty and have maintained their innocence.

Neither Daybell nor Vallow have been accused of harming Tylee or JJ. Authorities have yet to say how the children died, or whether homicide charges will be filed in the future.

However, the couple are linked to at least four suspicious deaths and one attempted murder in just the last two years, including Tammy.

Vallow’s husband Joseph Ryan was just 59 when he died of an apparent heart attack in 2018. He was cremated so his body cannot be exhumed.

She then married Charles Vallow, who was shot dead by her brother Cox after the three got into an argument when he went to pick up JJ in July 2019. Vallow was 62.

After Charles’ death, Lori moved her children to Idaho, and Cox went with them, renting an apartment in the same complex. The kids disappeared a few weeks later.

Police believe Tammy Daybell's death was caused  by poison, DailyMail.com revealed in January 2020. She is pictured above

Police believe Tammy Daybell’s death was caused  by poison, DailyMail.com revealed in January 2020. She is pictured above

Family members have speculated that Lori and her brother moved to Idaho to be close to Chad, who allegedly led a ‘doomsday cult’ called Preparing a People. Members of the group have said both Lori and Cox were involved.

Cox, who had been charged in both Texas and Utah for violent assaults, also died on December 12, 2019, the day after Tammy’s body was dug up. He was 51.

An autopsy determined he died of natural causes with blood clots in his lungs and the overdose drug Narcan in his system.

Cox left Idaho for Arizona weeks before his death and married a woman named Zulema Pastenes on November 29, 2019.

Earlier this month authorities released a 59-page report with new details about Cox’s death. The report, which was heavily redacted, said that Cox had been feeling short of breath for days, and that he got a ‘blessing over the phone’ from a ‘friend’ just hours before he died.

The East Idaho News identified that friend as Chad.

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

The couple is also allegedly linked to the death Brandon Boudreaux was shot at as he drove in Gilbert, Arizona, on October 2. The Jeep that his would-be killer was driving was registered to Charles Vallow, who had died three months earlier, court papers show.

Boudreaux told the Arizona Republic that his wife, Melani — Lori Vallow’s niece — had joined Daybell’s cult and suddenly asked for a divorce over the summer. 

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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