BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Newly released court documents in the case of two kids who were found dead in rural Idaho reveal allegations that their mother believed they were zombies and that she was on a mission to rid the world of such creatures.
Police found the remains of 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow on June 9 after months of searching.
Their mother, Lori Vallow-Daybell, and her new husband Chad Daybell, are behind bars. They're fighting their charges.
Both have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the disappearances.
Daybell was charged with concealing evidence and Vallow-Daybell is accused of desertion and nonsupport of children.
Investigators say Lori Vallow-Daybell's longtime friend Melanie Gibb says the mom told her the kids had become zombies with “dark spirits” inhabiting their bodies.
Authorities have not said how the children died.
According to the affidavit, Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, went to Daybell’s property four times in September, and two of those visits came the days after each of the children were last seen.
Cox, who died in December, went to Yellowstone National Park on September 8 with Vallow and the two children. It was the last time Tylee was seen.
Police say that tracking the phone’s location puts Cox in Vallow’s apartment three times immediately after the trip to Yellowstone, with the final visit beginning at 2:42 a.m. on September 9.
At some point the phone was back in Cox’s apartment — in the same complex — then shows up in Daybell’s backyard at 9:21 a.m. The phone registers being there for more than two hours, except for a time it pings in a city five minutes away, the court document says.
About 14 minutes after Cox’s phone last registers being in the backyard, Daybell texts his then-wife Tammy Daybell to tell her he shot a raccoon that morning and buried it in their pet cemetery.
“Well, I’ve had an interesting morning,” he writes.
The investigator, recalling that raccoons are usually nocturnal, notes his suspicion in the affidavit, and says the pet cemetery is where Cox’s phone had been.
In the days before JJ is last seen, a friend and her boyfriend come to stay with Vallow. The friend recounts for authorities that Vallow said JJ was a zombie.
Zombies have dark spirits and a person is in limbo until the body dies, the friend says Vallow told her, according to the affidavit. The friend also tells police that Vallow said she and Daybell are in a church that was to lead the “144,000” mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.
“They also stated their mission was to rid the world of zombies,” the document records.
Vallow had also called Tylee a zombie last year, the friend says, according to the affidavit.
JJ was last seen the night of September 22, and on September 23, Cox’s phone once again pings from Daybell’s backyard in a location where human remains are later found.
On the day of the property search, Daybell was in his SUV watching authorities from his driveway and on property belonging to his daughter, across the road.
About the time remains were found, he drove away and police followed and arrested him, the document says.
Authorities conducted a welfare check on JJ near the end of November at the request of his relatives, who hadn’t heard from him in months. When they arrived, Vallow informed them he was not at the family home because he was staying with a family friend.
Police returned the next day to serve a search warrant after discovering that was not true, but Vallow and Daybell were gone.
They were later found in Hawaii, and despite requests from police did not cooperate and did not present the children.
Shortly before Tylee, JJ and their mother moved from Arizona to Idaho, Vallow’s estranged husband, Charles Vallow, was shot and killed during a fight with Cox. Cox was not charged in the case, and he died in December, the affiliate reported.
Tammy Daybell died on October 19, and a few weeks later, Chad Daybell and Vallow were married. Authorities initially believed Tammy Daybell died of natural causes, but Rexburg police later said her death was suspicious and exhumed her body.