Who’s who in the Daybell case
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As of May 25, 2021, Chad and Lori Daybell are now facing murder charges in the deaths of Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow, and Tammy Daybell, and we’ve updated some of the entries accordingly. Click here for more information on the charges.
During our coverage of the disappearance and deaths of Tylee Ryan and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, we have reported the names of many family members, friends and public officials. The following is a who’s who of people connected to the case and their relationships.
The children had been missing since September 2019, when Tylee was 16 and JJ was 7. Their bodies were found in June 2020.
Their mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, and her new husband, Chad Daybell, are in jail on various charges related to the case, including first-degree murder. Note: Earlier reports indicated Tylee was 17, but now that we have a more solid timeline, it’s more likely she was 16 (almost 17) at the time of her death.
Lori Vallow Daybell’s 5 husbands
The children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, has been married five times. Her former husbands are:
- Nelson Yanes. Married 1992. Ends in divorce. No children.
- William Lagioia. Married 1995-1996. Ends in divorce. Children: Colby Ryan
- Joseph Ryan. Married 2001-2004. Ends in divorce. Dies in 2018 of apparent heart attack. Children: Tylee Ryan
- Charles Vallow. Married 2005-2019. Ends in Charles’ death. Children: Joshua “JJ” Vallow (by adoption). Charles had two children through his previous marriage to Cheryl Wheeler. See our interview with Wheeler here.
- Chad Daybell. Married 2019-present. Children: Chad had five children with Tammy Daybell, his now-deceased wife.
The Vallow family
Kay Vallow Woodcock is sister to Charles, Lori’s fourth husband. She and her husband, Larry, are JJ’s grandparents, which makes Charles JJ’s biological great-uncle. Charles adopted JJ.
Kay and Larry have communicated with the media since the early stages of the investigation. Here’s their reaction to the fate of the children. After Chad and Lori were charged with first-degree murder, the Woodcocks said they “want a capital case” against the couple.
Months before his death, Charles told police he was worried about Lori’s mental health and said she wanted him dead. He also expressed worry for JJ’s safety.
Alex Cox shot Charles to death July 11, 2019, in Chandler, Arizona. Lori may be charged with murder in that case.
The Cox family
Alex was Lori’s brother. He maintained he killed Charles in self-defense. Alex died suddenly in December 2019. The medical examiner said he died of blood clots in his lungs, and it was a natural death. Alex had married Zulema Pastenes two weeks before. She has not spoken publicly about the case.
Melani Pawlowski is Lori’s niece through a sister (deceased). She lived next door to Lori in Rexburg when the children disappeared. Melani married Ian Pawlowski and is involved in a custody dispute with her ex-husband, Brandon Boudreaux, regarding their four children. Brandon was shot at in October and believes Alex was the shooter.
Before the children’s bodies were found, Melani, as well as Lori’s mother, Janis Cox, and sister, Summer Shiflet, told the media they did not think Lori was capable of harming JJ and Tylee. They have since issued a statement.
The Ryan family
Annie Cushing is the sister to Lori’s third husband, Joseph Ryan, and is Tylee’s aunt. Cushing wonders if foul play was involved in her brother’s apparent heart attack, but her questions may never be answered as an autopsy was not performed, and Joseph was cremated. See our interview with Cushing here and read her statement when the children’s bodies were found here. After the Daybells were charged with murder, she released this statement.
Although Tylee’s brother Colby shares the Ryan name, Colby’s biological father is William Lagioia. Colby has spoken out on behalf of Tylee and JJ during this ordeal. In an Instagram post after the bodies were found, he called the children his “beautiful, amazing, sweet angels.” Read his full message here.
The Daybell family
Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell, died suddenly on Oct. 19, 2019. Chad married Lori on Nov. 5, 2019. Chad and Lori were allegedly having an affair before Tammy’s death. Tammy’s body was exhumed in December 2019, and autopsy results have not been released to the public, though now Chad and Lori are facing murder charges related to her death.
Tammy’s sister Samantha Gwilliam told police about the pet cemetery on the Daybell property, which led to the discovery of Tylee and JJ’s bodies.
Chad and Tammy’s five children have not spoken directly to the media. However, Tammy’s family, Chad’s brother Matt and other family members of Chad have issued respective statements following the discovery of the children’s remains.
Friends and associates
Melanie Gibb was Lori’s best friend, attended religious-themed conferences where Chad spoke and was with them the moment they met. We did a series of interviews with her. Gibb says Lori tried to get her to lie to police about the children’s whereabouts, which she refused to do. Gibb describes Chad and Lori’s relationship as a “fatal attraction.”
Gibb’s boyfriend is David Warwick, who also knew Chad and Lori.
Julie Rowe is an author whose accounts of her near-death experiences and end-times predictions were published by Chad’s company, Spring Creek Book Company. In 2019, Rowe was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for publicly speaking out against the church, teaching false doctrine, and practicing priestcraft for content in her podcasts and website, she said. After the children’s disappearance, she at first supported Chad and Lori but has since spoken out against the couple.
Suzanne Freeman is also an author published by Spring Creek Book Company. She had a disagreement with Chad on rights for her books and the types of books he was publishing. In 2017, she wrote him an email in which she said, “I know without a shadow of a doubt what you are preaching will not lead to happiness. It will lead to death and sorrow.”
Jefferson County resident Christopher Parrett Sr. operates the Another Voice of Warning or AVOW, which is a paid forum website where some Latter-day Saints have discussions or offer conjecture about their religion, and Chad was an active participant. When news of the children’s disappearance became public, Parrett strongly supported Chad for months, but he publicly denounced him after the bodies were found.
Law enforcement and legal teams
The home where Tammy died and JJ and Tylee were buried is in the Salem area of Fremont County, which is Sheriff Len Humphries’ jurisdiction.
Tylee and JJ lived with their mother in a townhome in Rexburg (in Madison County). Shane Turman is the police chief there. He told EastIdahoNews.com in 2019 — before the bodies were found — that police believed the children were in “pretty serious danger.”
The prosecutor in Madison County is Rob Wood. After the children’s remains were found on Chad’s property, Wood became the special prosecutor in the case against Chad concerning the children as well. Also participating in the prosecution are Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake and Rachel Smith, a special prosecutor from Missouri experienced in homicide cases.
Chad and Lori have both been represented by multiple attorneys. In December 2019, Sean Bartholick, of Rigby, Andrus & Rigby, represented them and told the public, “Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter. Lori Daybell is a devoted mother and resents assertions to the contrary. We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor.”
After Lori was extradited from Hawaii, the couple was represented by Mark Means. Currently, Means only represents Lori, and Chad has retained the services of John Prior.