Lori Vallow’s chilling internet searches and trove of burner phones revealed at murder trial
Chilling internet searches have revealed that “doomsday cult mom” Lori Vallow shopped for life insurance policies for her children two months before they were murdered and buried on her new lover Chad Daybell’s property.
FBI analyst Nicole Heideman took the stand at Ms Vallow’s murder trial in Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho, on Monday to testify about the shocking discoveries on the 49-year-old’s cellphones, email addresses and online search history.
Jurors heard how Ms Vallow’s “lollytime4ever” Gmail account was used in July 2019 to google “gerber life insurance policy” and “life insurance for children – the Grow-Up Plan”.
Gerber Life Insurance’s Grow-Up Plan is advertised on its website as a plan with “locked-in childhood premium”, with coverage that “will automatically double at no extra cost”.
“Give them $50,000 in coverage today and watch it become $100,000 during age 18,” it reads.
Agent Heideman testified that – a few days after the search – the same Gmail account searched for how to sell a service dog.
At the time, Ms Vallow’s two youngest children Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, seven, were still alive and well. JJ, who had autism, used a service dog.
Two months later, in September 2019, the children vanished without a trace.
Tylee was last seen alive on 8 September 2019 when she, JJ, Ms Vallow and Ms Vallow’s brother Alex Cox went to Yellowstone National Park. JJ then disappeared weeks later on 22 September 2019, when he suddenly vanished from his mother’s house overnight.
In June 2020, the remains of the two children were found buried on Mr Daybell’s property.
Now, Ms Vallow is facing life in prison charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and grand theft in the deaths of JJ and Tylee.
She is also charged with conspiracy to murder Mr Daybell’s first wife Tammy Daybell.
Mr Daybell is due to stand trial at a later date over all three murders.
As well as the chilling searches for child life insurance policies, jurors heard how Ms Vallow appeared to begin making plans to marry Mr Daybell as far back as May 2019 – while both of their spouses were still alive.
In July 2019 – two months before the children’s disappearance – Ms Vallow’s fourth husband Charles Vallow was shot dead by Cox.
At the time, Cox claimed Vallow attacked him with a baseball bat and it was ruled self-defence. Now, Ms Vallow is also facing charges in Arizona of conspiring with Cox to murder Vallow. Cox mysteriously died before he could face charges.
In August 2019, Ms Vallow’s Gmail account searched for “malachite wedding rings”, Rexburg Police Detective David Stubbs testified.
The same account would later order two such rings for $808 on 2 October 2019 – days before Tammy was killed.
Tammy, 49, died suddenly on 19 October 2019 – just one month after the children disappeared and weeks before Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell married.
At the time, her death was ruled natural causes before her body was exhumed and an autopsy determined she died by asphyxiation.
On 22 October – the same day that Tammy’s funeral took place – Ms Vallow’s account then looked up “wedding dresses” and “wedding dresses in Kauai”.
Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell got married on a beach in Hawaii on 5 November 2019, with photos showing them both sporting rings that matched those ordered online.
As well as the chilling internet searches, jurors heard how Ms Vallow and her alleged co-conspirators were using a trove of burner phones around the time of the murders.
In total, Ms Vallow, Mr Daybell and Cox used a total of 21 burner phones over an 18-month period – 18 of them billed to a PO BOX in Sugar City, Idaho.
Only one phone belonging to Cox pinged at both Ms Vallow’s apartment and the fire pet and pet cemetery on Mr Daybell’s property on 9 September and 23 September – the days when prosecutors say Tylee and JJ were buried there.
Meanwhile, Mr Daybell allegedly searched on 8 September what the wind direction was going to be the following day – “the day Chad Daybell had said he was going to burn limbs and killed a raccoon in his yard”, Det Stubbs said.
Jurors have heard previously how Mr Daybell text his wife saying he shot a “raccoon” on 8 September and buried it in the pet cemetery.
In reality, prosecutors say Tylee was murdered and buried there that day, with her charred remains found there nine months later.
Prosecutors allege that Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell conspired with Ms Vallow’s brother Alex Cox to murder Tammy, JJ and Tylee as part of their doomsday cult beliefs – but also for financial purposes so that they could collect Tammy’s life insurance money and the children’s social security and survivor benefits.
As part of their cult beliefs, the couple believed in a “rating system of light and dark” for how they ranked the spirits of the people around them.
Over time, this evolved into the belief that some people – including the children – were “zombies” and the only way to get rid of the zombies was for the human body to be destroyed.