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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Rachel Sharp

‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow appears to smirk in new mugshot after murder conviction

Madison County Sheriff’s Office

Lori Vallow appears to be softly smirking in her new mugshot, released after she was convicted of all charges at her dramatic murder trial.

The doomsday cult mom, 49, was found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft over the deaths of her daughter Tylee Ryan, 16, and son JJ, seven, in Ada County Court in Boise, Idaho, on Friday.

She was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Chad Daybell’s first wife Tammy Daybell, 49.

Vallow is now facing life in prison on the charges when she appears for her sentencing within 90 days’ time.

Separate from the Idaho trial, she is also awaiting trial in Arizona where she is accused of conspiring to murder her fourth husband Charles Vallow.

Prosecutors have since revealed that there are also pursuing charges against her there over a botched shooting attempt on her niece’s ex-husband Brandon Boudreaux.

But, in a new mugshot released by Madison County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, Vallow appeared to be unphased by her current situation as she stared dead ahead at the camera with what appeared to be a wry smile on her face.

Her expression is characteristic of the last three years as she showed no concern and offered no explanation for her murdered children who were killed and buried on her new lover’s property.

She then showed no reaction when the jury returned its verdict in her murder trial on Friday, offering no glimpse of emotion and simply crossing her arms as she stared at the panel.

The twisted case involving murder, mysterious deaths and bizarre cult beliefs began in July 2019 when Vallow’s husband Charles was shot dead by her brother Alex Cox in Arizona.

Two months later in September 2019 – after moving to Rexburg, Idaho to be with new lover Mr Daybell – JJ and Tylee vanished.

For months, Vallow refused to reveal their whereabouts to both authorities and the children’s desperate family members.

Lori Vallow in new mugshot (Madison County Sheriff’s Office)

That October, Tammy – an otherwise healthy 49-year-old – also died suddenly. Her death was initially ruled natural causes.

With Vallow’s children and both of their spouses then out of the way, she and Mr Daybell embarked on a new life together – flying to Hawaii to get married in a fairytale wedding on the beach.

But, with months passing since the last signs of life of Vallow’s children, concerns continued to grow, prompting authorities to exhume Tammy’s body. A subsequent autopsy revealed that she had died of asphyxiation.

In June 2020 – nine months after they were last seen alive – Tylee and JJ’s remains were found buried on the grounds of Mr Daybell’s property in Rexburg, Idaho.

JJ, who had autism, had been smothered with a plastic bag taped over his face, his little body still dressed in a pair of red pyjamas. Tylee’s cause of death meanwhile has been impossible to establish as the teenager’s dismembered, charred bones and body parts were found scattered in the ground on Mr Daybell’s pet cemetery.

Jurors in Ada County Court in Boise, Idaho, took almost seven hours to find Vallow guilty on all charges over the three murders after a grueling six-week trial where the panel heard harrowing details about the doomsday mom’s path of deadly destruction and were shown graphic images of the murdered children’s remains.

The state called over 60 witnesses to lay out its case that Vallow was motivated by both her doomsday cult beliefs but also lust for Mr Daybell and financial greed when she conspired with him and her brother Cox to kill the three victims.

During closing arguments on Thursday, prosecutors argued that Ms Vallow had been driven by “money, power and sex” to kill the three victims.

Lori Vallow crosses arms after verdict is read iut (AP)

Jurors heard how the doomsday couple believed that they were on a religious mission to gather the 144,000 and that there was a “rating system of light and dark” for the spirits of the people around them.

In the weeks and months before the murders, Ms Vallow allegedly told friends that JJ and Tylee had become “demons”.

Prosecutors said that Ms Vallow used these beliefs to “justify” the murders of her children and love rival.

The murders were then “premeditated” and “planned” for months – with Ms Vallow altering her children’s Social Security payments to steal the money after they were killed.

Prosecutor Rob Wood told jurors that Ms Vallow was the ringleader of the murderous plot, and that she “groomed” and “manipulated” both Mr Daybell and Cox to commit the murders.

After sentencing, she will be extradited to Arizona to face charges there.

Vallow’s alleged co-conspirators meanwhile are yet to face justice over the killings.

Mr Daybell was due to stand trial with Vallow but the cases were severed weeks before her day in court.

He is now due to stand trial in 2024 over the three murders.

Meanwhile, the third person accused by state prosecutors as a co-conspirator in the case won’t ever be have his day in court.

On 11 December 2019 – hours after Tammy’s body was exhumed – Cox died suddenly at the age of 51. His death was also ruled natural causes, with indications of a blood clot wedged in the arteries of his lungs. However, the overdose drug Narcan was also found in his system.

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