CHANDLER, Arizona — Text messages between Chad and Lori Daybell paint a picture of a romantic relationship long before Tammy Daybell died two years ago.
The messages were included in a large file released from the Chandler Arizona Police regarding Charles Vallow’s death. Charles was married to Lori Vallow before her brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed him on July 11, 2019.
“I am heading to bed so that I can come snuggle tightly against you,” Chad texted Lori two days later. “I adore you! You are truly my best friend on earth and throughout eternity. See you in a minute!”
Chad, an author of Latter-day Saint fiction books, began writing his own story to Lori the next day in a series of text messages, according to police documents. A detective described the writings as “a romance novel of sorts” and noted that it follows the relationship between the couple but names were changed to “James” and “Elena.”
The story begins with James arriving in St. George, Utah, where he had a voice tell him he would meet a woman who would change his life forever. While at an event, James was introduced to Elena by someone Chad wrote was MG.
“When their hands touched, he felt a shock pass through him, and his heart started beating fast,” the texts read. “Elena was gorgeous and vivacious, and James was a little intimidated yet honored that she would talk to him.”
In a previous interview with EastIdahoNews.com, Lori’s former best friend Melanie Gibb said the couple met at a conference where Chad was speaking and selling his books in St. George. According to Gibb, Chad told Lori the two had met in a previous life and were married multiple times in prior existences.
The story Chad continued to send to Lori took an R-rated turn, with him describing in detail a sexual relationship between James and Elena. Throughout the story, James is obsessed with the clothes Elena wore and her physical features, calling her “an exalted goddess” who had come to earth to perform “a special mission.” The mission included Elena being with James.
In police reports, investigators wrote that Chad and Lori would refer to themselves as James and Elena or Raphael and Lili in other text messages. In one of them, Chad calls Lori his “goddess lover” while Lori listed Chad in her phone as “Bubby.”
“Tonight I figured out who I feel like,” Chad texted Lori. “I’m a grown-up version of Harry Potter, who has to live with the Dudleys in his little space under the stairs. Every few weeks I get to escape and have amazing adventures with my Goddess lover, but then I have to return to my place under the stairs, feeling trapped. But I sense permanent freedom is coming!”
After Vallow was shot, Alex Cox and Lori claimed it was in self-defense, but Lori is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in connection to her fourth husband’s death. Cox died on Dec. 12, 2019, in what a medical examiner called natural causes.
As the relationship progressed, Chad was still married to his wife of 29 years. The couple lived in Salem, a rural community just north of Rexburg. Chandler detectives wrote that through August 2019, Chad and Lori appeared to have a difficult time maintaining their relationship due to him still being married.
“U should give all of you (sic) love and your attention to your wife and family,” Lori texted Chad on Aug. 11, 2019. “I’m just a distraction. Go have fun with your family. I really do want you to. I just can’t be in the way anymore. If things change we can talk. But we have nothing until things change anyway.”
Despite the difficulties, Lori packed up her belongings and moved to Rexburg from Arizona by the end of August. The text messages continued with the saying they would fight off “evil spirits” attaching to people around them.
“Hello, sweet angel. Big news about Tammy. Please let me know if you are awake and can talk. I love you!” Chad texted Lori on Oct 5, 2019.
The news was Tammy had been taken over by a “demonic entity” named Viola. Chad claimed Tammy’s sister was responsible for her being possessed and Tammy’s personality would change quickly because of this spirit attaching itself to her.
“Not fully sure of the timing for removal, but once her actions verify the differences, I don’t want to wait,” Chad said.
Chad called 911 on Oct. 19, 2019, saying his wife Tammy had died in her sleep. She was buried in a Utah cemetery days later. In December 2019, her body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed. Authorities have not released her cause of death but multiple sources close to the investigation tell EastIdahoNews.com she died from asphyxiation.
Within two weeks of her death, Chad and Lori married in Hawaii.
Shortly before Tammy’s death, Lori’s two children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, vanished. Their bodies were found buried in Chad’s backyard on June 9, 2020.
The couple was charged with multiple crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder. The charges are in relation to the deaths of JJ, Tylee and Tammy. Lori was also indicted in Arizona on a conspiracy to murder charge in connection to Charles Vallow’s death.
No trial is scheduled for the couple and Lori is currently committed to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare after a mental health professional deemed her not competent for trial.