Netflix's Sins of our Mother tells the story of 'cult mom' Lori Vallow

Netflix's Sins of our Mother tells the story of 'cult mom' Lori Vallow

Chilling case of a ‘devoted mother’ who is accused of killing two of her children after meeting a Doomsday preacher who believed people could be possessed by evil spirits is set to be told in new Netflix true crime series

  • Netflix documentary series  ‘Sins of our Mother’ tells the story of Lori Vallow
  • She’s accused of killing two of her kids – Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17
  • Once described as a ‘devoted’ mother, she changed after meeting Chad Daybell
  • Described as ‘doomsday preacher’, his ideologies are said to have ‘changed her’

A true crime documentary launching on Netflix next week sets out to answer one question: how did a seemingly normal woman become the most notorious mother in America?

The Sins of our Mother, a three-part series which will be available to stream in the UK from September 14, tells the notorious story of Lori Vallow.

She was once ‘devoted mother of three, a loving wife, and a woman of God’, but after meeting her fifth husband Chad Daybell, ‘something went very wrong’.

Now Vallow, 49, is accused of murdering two of her children – Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 17 –  in September 2019 along with the help of Daybell – whose ‘doomsday’ ideologies are said to have ‘changed’ her.

Lori Vallow (centre) pictured here with two of her children (JJ, left) and  Tylee Ryan (right) before the killings

Lori Valley was charged with first degree murder in 2021, and if found guilty of the crimes, could face the death sentence

‘Changed’: according to reports, Lori Vallow changed after meeting doomsday preacher Chad Daybell, who is also accused of murder, and has plead not guilty

The pair are set to face trial in January 2023, with Vallow accused of conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of her fourth husband, her fifth husband’s wife, and her two youngest children. 

Netflix’s series, which features her surviving child Colby Ryan, 26, reveals the details behind the killings, and Lori’s beliefs that convinced her there was a ‘dark spirit’ inside her daughter, and the only way to ‘free the spirit is to kill the body.’

According to Colby, who never knew his biological father, and he and his mother shared a close bond, with his mother ‘leaning on [him] for emotional support’ when he was young, which he says ‘forced him’ to grow up a little bit faster’.

But he says that bond began to fray in 2001, when his mother married her third husband Joseph Ryan.

Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, left, and Tylee Ryan, right, were last seen in September 2019. Their bodies were eventually discovered buried on Chad Daybell’s property after a nine-month search

Vallow married again in 2006, this time tying the knot with Charles Vallow. Around this time, Colby says his mother’s fixation with doomsday cults began to deepen, which eventually led to him moving out.

‘I’m not exactly sure when [the interest in doomsday cults] started but probably when I was around 11,’ said Colby.

‘I was never brought into it, really. I definitely feared it [the end times] because I heard it from her and because I trusted her.

‘But as I grew up, probably around 17 or 18, I was like: ‘I’m just going to live my life the way I can’.

‘I can’t live a life of impending fear of something happening. I can’t live like that. It’s an anxious life. So I never bought into any of the ideas that it was going to happen.’

In this June 9, 2020, aerial photo, investigators search for the human remains of JJ and Tylee at Chad Daybell’s residence in the 200 block of 1900 east, in Salem, Idaho

Tammy and Charles died around the time JJ and Tylee went missing in September 2019. Charles was shot while Tammy died in her sleep

According to reports, Vallow started reading books by Doomsday preacher Chad Daybell in 2017. Daybell had penned several fictional novels about preparing for the end of the world.

She met Daybell in 2018, and the pair started making religious podcasts together.

They were believed to share what’s been described as a ‘cult-like’ belief system, with Daybell claiming he tell if people were ‘light or dark’, and whether they’d made ‘a contract with God or Satan’.

In addition, they believed in ‘zombies’, which they thought of as bodies which had been possessed by evil spirits.  

By 2019, Charles Vallow had become concerned for his own safety, and the safety of his children, and filed for divorce from his wife, who ended up moving closer to closer to Chad Daybell in Idaho in September of that year.

That month, her daughter Tylee Ryan, who Vallow is said to have described as a ‘zombie’, went missing. Days later her son JJ Vallow also disappeared.  

Lori’s doomsday ideologies appeared to have influenced her actions. She picked up her core beliefs from her fifth husband, Chad, who believed he could ‘distinguish evil spirits from good spirits’

Colby Ryan, Lori’s oldest son, and her only surviving child, plays a key role in the documentary, which seeks to unravel the complicated story

Lori Vallow’s husband Charles and Chad’s wife, Tammy Daybell, died under mysterious circumstances around the same time the children went missing.

Tammy died in October 2019, two weeks before Lori Vallow and Daybell secretly married in Hawaii. The couple have been charged with her death.

Lori is charged with conspiring to kill her former estranged husband, Charles Vallow, with the help of her now-deceased brother, Alex Cox. 

According to Colby, after his two younger siblings vanished in September 2019, his mother refused to tell him what happened to them.

But their remains were found in their stepfather’s backyard in shallow graves in 2020. 

Earlier this month, Vallow was in court for a procedural hearing ahead of her capital murder trial. She refused to enter a plea on the murder charges so a judge entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.

Meanwhile Chad Daybell has plead not guilty, and his children have claimed he has been framed for the murders.

Both may face the death penalty if found guilty of the murders.

Timeline of Lori Vallow’s and Chad Daybell’s alleged crimes

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, 2019: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho, close to where her future husband Chad Daybell lives with his wife Tammy.

September 8, 2019: Tylee is seen alive for the last time during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Lori, JJ and Alex. In the following weeks Lori tells people that her daughter is studying at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus.

September 23, 2019: The last time JJ is seen at his school in Rexburg. Lori emails the school the following day claiming she is moving the family to California for a new job. 

October 2, 2019: Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Lori’s niece Melani 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, 2019: 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 due to natural causes.

October 25, 2019: 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, 2019: 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, 2019: 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 Tylee, since September. 

November 27, 2019: Police execute a search warrant related to the children at Lori’s home and discover that she and Chad have fled Idaho.

December 11, 2019: Tammy’s body is exhumed from a Utah cemetery and her death is reclassified as suspicious.

December 12, 2019: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, is found dead in a bathroom in his Arizona home. Months later an autopsy determines that he died of natural causes while he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system. 

December 21, 2019: 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, 2019: 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, 2019: 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, 2020: 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, 2020: Lori misses the court deadline to produce the children to Idaho authorities.

February 20, 2020: 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, 2020: Lori is extradited to Idaho, where she is held on $1million bond at Madison County Jail.

March 17, 2020: 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, 2020: 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, 2020: Authorities reveal they are investigating Lori and Chad for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with Tammy’s death. 

June 9, 2020: 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.

May 25, 2021: Lori and Chad are charged with first degree murder in the deaths of the children. Chad is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Tammy. 

May 27, 2021: Lori is deemed incompetent to stand trial on the murder charges in Idaho. 

August 5, 2021: Prosecution announces it will seek the death penalty for Chad. 

April 11, 2022: Lori is restored competency. Criminal proceedings against her in Ohio are ordered to continue. 

April 14, 2022: Lori is taken to the Madison County Jail in Rexburg, Idaho, by Fremont County Sheriff officers

Sins of Our Mother will be available to stream on Netflix in the UK from September 14. 

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