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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Cipriano

Lori Vallow: Untangling the Death Web, Part 3

Now that you have a better understanding of Lori's psychological profile, the circumstances surrounding the Vallow and Daybell families in 2018-2019, and the Death Web, this is where the final puzzle pieces will fall into place regarding JJ and Tylee's deaths.

This is Part 3: JJ and Tylee's crime scene reconstruction explained. Part 1 is a deep-dive into Lori Vallow's Psychological Profile, and Part 2 is the Full death web explained.

Warning: This post discusses graphic content.


'JJ and Tylee are Zombies'

Reconstructing the crime scenes of JJ and Tylee was by-far the most difficult part of this research, and to ensure that the prosecution case against Lori and Chad is air-tight, I can see why investigators haven't released a lot of information regarding this part of the case.

But, this case is so extreme, I feel like it's only natural to want to rationalize and understand something that feels so impossible to even occur in the first place.

That is why I've decided to jump headfirst into the deaths of JJ and Tylee. Plus, I want to make sure that the right people are held accountable for their deaths, and after falling through this rabbit hole, I have some recommendations for law enforcement.

But first: more context before we continue. As discussed in Part 1: Lori was open about her radical religious beliefs. This included believing that her own children, JJ and Tylee, were turning into "zombies" — shells of people that worship the Devil and engage in "bad" behavior like watching TV or scrolling endlessly on social media.

Lori confided in Melanie Gibb that she thought Tylee turned into a zombie around 12-13 years old, but then, Lori started to see the same "bad" behavior in JJ, and she expressed to Melanie that she'd have to act to save her children.

Let's look at the sheet.

This part of the story begins on September 8, 2019.

The Rexburg townhouse, via Google Earth.

It had been about a week since Lori, JJ, Tylee, and Alex Cox all moved into a townhouse complex in Rexburg, Idaho, Alex drove the whole family for a Yellowstone National Park day trip.

These photos from the park are the last pics ever taken of Tylee, and it's the last time she's ever seen alive. The boy is JJ, and the man in the grey is Alex Cox.

During that evening, Alex's cell phone pings at Lori's townhouse, which is just a 2-minute walk from his townhouse within the same complex.

His cell phone pings at her townhouse between 10:44 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. Now, this doesn't seem all that concerning — after all, they do live so close by one another, and after spending the entire day as a group at Yellowstone, it's rational to believe maybe someone forgot something in Alex's car and he was walking over to return it — something like that.

But, what IS strange is that Alex's cell phone location is at Lori's house on Sept 9 between 2:42 a.m. and 3:37 a.m. This is a total of roughly 57 minutes, and it's the only time Alex is at Lori's house between midnight and 6:00 a.m. all September.

What was he doing there at that time, and why for about an hour?

Then, the next time his phone pings is from 4:37 a.m. and 8:59 a.m. where he's located back at his own apartment down the road.

Red Pin is Alex Cox's townhouse. Green Pin is Lori Vallow's townhouse address before it's built, via Google Earth.

As the morning of September 9 goes by, Alex's location moves to Chad Daybell's property from 9:21 a.m. to 10:39 a.m. – located at 202 N 1900 E, Rexburg, Idaho.

Daybell property, 202 N 1900 E, Rexburg, Idaho. Photo via Google Earth.

Alex Cox's movement to the Daybell property might not mean much at first glance, but after learning that that is where JJ and Tylee's bodies were found — the events become a lot more chilling.

What I believe happened to Tylee — based on Lori's religious beliefs, Alex's violent past and cell phone locations, and the eventual discovery of Tylee's body at Chad's property — is that Lori wanted Tylee dead to save her soul because she believed Tylee was a zombie.

On the evening of Sept 22, Lori believes that JJ is acting up, so she asks Alex to take him to his townhouse down the block to cool down. y and it wouldn't leave much evidence). Then, Alex removes her body and takes it to Chad's house the following morning after Tammy left to destroy the evidence on his property.

This is when I believe Chad, possibly with the help of Alex, dismembered, burned, and buried Tylee's body.

This is further corroborated by this chain of text messages between Tammy and Chad on Sept 9 — the day after Tylee is last seen alive. They read as followed:

  • Chad to Tammy at 11:53 a.m. – “Well, I've had an interesting morning! felt should bum all of the limb debris by the fire pit before it got too soaked by the coming storms. While did so, spotted big raccoon along the fence. hurried and got my gun, and he was still walking along. got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery. Fun times!”

  • Chad to Tammy at 11:56 a.m. – “Gonna shower now and then go write for while at BYU. Love you!”

  • Tammy to Chad at 2:47 p.m. – “Good for you!”

  • Chad to Tammy at 2:48 p.m. – “I’m back home now”

Mark McClish, a federal expert on statement analysis and deceptive language, says in his teachings that you should believe and trust everything that someone says because people don't like to lie. McClish says a liar will always reveal their secrets, it's just a matter of listening.

“People will always word their statements based on their complete knowledge,” he says. “The statements they provide will be true, but the words they use will give away a lie.”

It is because of what McClish teaches that I immediately zeroed in on Chad's choice to write: "limb debris."

Assuming he's trying to make her believe he was burning tree limbs, why not just say that? The omission of proper characteristics here make me believe he's clearly talking about the limbs of Tylee — which we know they burned based on the condition her remains were found in.

Chad says this, and that he buried a raccoon, so that she wouldn't be suspicious of the used firepit and newly unearthed dirt in the pet cemetery.

Investigators tearing up the Daybell property, June 2020.

10 Days later, September 19

Melanie Gibb and her boyfriend travel to Rexburg, Idaho to stay with Lori and her family for a long weekend. Upon arrival, Melanie immediately notices that Tylee is missing, but Lori quickly diverts the conversation by saying that Tylee is away at Brigham Young University.

Then, Lori confides in Melanie that JJ has been "acting like a zombie" and that his behavior has changed.

September 22 - 23

In the evening of Sept 22, Lori believes that JJ is acting up, so she asks Alex to take him to his townhouse down the block to cool down.

Melanie Gibb says they were gone for some time, but when the returned, JJ appeared to be asleep, resting his head on Alex's shoulder and he carreid JJ.

Melanie says she remembers that moment particularly because she believed it was a sweet and innocent thing to witness.

However, that may not be the case in hindsight, considering when Melanie woke up at Lori's house on the morning of September 23, JJ was gone.

Melanie asked Lori where he was, and she said that JJ was acting like a zombie last night — that he had climbed up on the kitchen counter and knocked a fridge magnet depicting Jesus onto the floor, so he spent the night with Alex. Lori also said that JJ is going to be away with his Grandma Kay until Chad and Lori can "complete their mission."

While Melanie and her boyfriend finish their stay at Lori's house on the morning of Sept 23, Alex Cox is already across town at Chad Daybell's property from 9:55 a.m. until 10:12 a.m.

Bottom Left, Alex's Townhouse. Top Right, Chad's Property, via Google Earth.

What I believe happened to JJ — based on Lori's religious beliefs, Alex's violent past and cell phone locations, and the eventual discovery of JJ's body at Chad's property — is that Lori wanted JJ dead to save his soul because she believed JJ was a zombie.

So, Alex took JJ to his townhouse night, possibly to give him a lot of melatonin to knock him out, and bring him back around Melanie so they could have deniability. Then, I believe that Alex killed JJ (COD: I again speculate strangulation, considering it's not physically messy and it wouldn't leave much evidence). Then, Alex took JJ to Chad's house the following morning after Tammy left to burry him on Chad's property.

In total, Alex Cox makes 4 trips to Chad Daybell's property during the month of September:

  • Sept. 6: Trip lasts 12 minutes.

  • Sept. 9: Trip lasts 2.5-hours.

  • Sept. 23: Trip lasts 17 minutes.

  • Sept 25: Trip lasts 17 minutes.

I believe these trips are a mix of set-up, burning and burying to destroy evidence of Tylee's death, hand-off JJ's remains, and a final check-up.

Why are the children's cases so different?

Three of the six deaths, (Joseph Ryan, Tammy Daybell, and Alex Cox) are all "mysterious death investigations," and a big part of that is because they all seemed to die of sudden and deadly 'health issues' like blood clots and breathing issues ruled as natural causes manifested from poisons.

Furthermore, we know Charles Vallow was shot to death by Alex Cox, and we also know that the self-defense story is bogus fiction in an attempt to dissuade law enforcement.

So this leaves the murders of JJ and Tylee. Why were their cases so different?

I think a big reason for their differences in methodology and level of gore is that the deaths of her children were personal — and in Lori's mind, this was her way of saving them from being "zombies." Rationally, Lori knew that she would've had to end Tylee's life first because she was older, and she would ask questions if JJ disappeared.

JJ, on the other hand, was younger and on the autism spectrum, so Lori probably believed she could tell him any fabricated story.

All of the other deaths in this case, Charles, Tammy, and was like these were a part of a laundry list, designed to be simply checked off and erased so that Lori could mold her life into the one she wanted to live.

It's possible the intense and overwhelming graphic conditions of JJ and Tylee's remains are a reflection of Lori and Chad's disordered beliefs, something like: "If their bodies are destroyed, no other dark souls can enter so their spirits will be safe."

Or, if Lori's idea of zombies also meant resurrection from the dead, is it possible the post-mortem overkill is a reflection of fear that they would come back to life?

Digging for JJ and Tylee's remains on Chad's property.

This might also explain the layer of bricks that investigators found, entombing in the children's individual remains.

That, or this could all simply be chalked up to dark sadistic desires of monstrous people, envious for lives they didn't have, using religion and outlandish beliefs as a smokescreen to "justify" their killing.

In this narrative, the overkill of Lori's children is nothing more than capital-E Evil. It's excessive macabre that's unexplainable.

Concluding Thoughts

I haven’t been able to wrap my head around the horror if the case. I think this is the most intricate case I've covered yet, mainly due to the fact that there are so many people involved, an intense and fast-paced timeline, and just so many victims.

And, of course, I still have unanswered questions, but there's one thing I know for sure: Alex Cox is the thread that holds all of these crimes together. As much as it is Lori Vallow's Death Web in that she called the shots, Alex Cox was her violent henchman.

Think about it — Alex is the common thread among all of the deaths. Alex is the one that assaults Joe Ryan with a stun gun over Lori's custody battle. Alex is the one who shoots and kills Charles Vallow. Alex is at Lori's house constantly around the days the children are last seen alive.

But the reason this is Lori's 'Death Web' and not Alex's is simple — Alex was only following orders. Lori was the mastermind, essentially inspiring and pulling the trigger for every death. Lori is the one with all the motives, and she never gets her hands dirty.

Lastly, Lori is the only one still alive, proving that she is the head of the snake.

Because of this, I suggest that Law Enforcement Officers should zero-in on any/all documented communication between Lori and her brother, Alex.

This could be text messages, emails, social media messages, etc. It's my belief that there would be a record somewhere of discussions with keywords like: poison, killing, zombies, cleanup, body, burry, and Chad.

My point is here is that if the police and prosecutors can prove that there were these behind-the-scenes conversations, it would also prove premeditation to do harm to others and the children. This way, Lori, and possibly even Chad, can finally pay the price.

In My Opinion

What sickens me the most is Lori and Chad's behavior throughout all of this.

I simply cannot fathom how detached a mother must be from her own life if she's shopping on Amazon in October (on her dead husband Charles Vallow's account, might I add) for a $39.99 wedding ring only weeks after her children are killed, and weeks before Tammy dies.

I feel like I want to scream into a void.

I must be honest — doing this amateur investigation this was no easy feat. Every waking and sleeping moment of my life these past few weeks have been spent thinking about this case. I've fallen down nearly every rabbit hole, and every time I tripped into another one, a part of me said, "I don't want to try and understand this case anymore because it's just too painful."

But then I remember what JJ and Tylee's innocent families are going through, and I think about the unimaginable turmoil they're drifting through. This helps me to realize that details about this case are important to share because there are clear warning signs in Lori's behavior.

Warning signs that friends, like Melanie Gibb and Annie Cushing saw, — like talking about wanting to drive off a cliff with the children in the car —, red flags that Charles Vallow alerted the police to, — like Lori threatening to kill him if he got in her way for the 'End of the World Plan' —, and countless court hearings and a competency test that Lori had to undergo — and yet, Lori Vallow fooled everyone.

My hope is that by sharing this story and outlining the brutality and complexity of it, someone might be inspired to look a little closer the next time red flags pop up in their life.

If anything, walk away from this article and tell your family that you love them. Support your children, text your parents, reach out to your friends — and just tell them you love them. Too often these brutal crimes leave me feeling helpless and all I can do with my pent up sad energy is remind those closest to me that they're meaningful in my life.

And, as always, if you know something about what happened to JJ and Tylee, or any of the other victims discussed in this case, please reach out to law enforcement.


Additional article sources that are not hyperlinked within the 3 parts:

1 comentário

Trina Littlefield
Trina Littlefield
12 de set. de 2022

Great write up! I love that you included the details about psychopathy in women; I think a lot of people assume Lori fell victim to Chad's weird beliefs but honestly she was evil and selfish LONG before he came into the picture.

Another factor in helping me decide Lori isn't crazy, but an evil mastermind, is how easily she can turn it on and off when it suits her. For example, when questioned by police or reporting for the psych eval requested by her husband, she turned it off pretty damn quick. Why not tell them of her religious convictions if she believes so strongly? I think she liked the attention she got from Chad's following, more than she truly…

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