BOISE, Idaho (ABC4) — On the ninth day of Lori Vallow Daybell’s murder trial, her friend, Melanie Gibb, testified about Lori’s beliefs on possession, the first time she met Chad Daybell, and more.
Lori Vallow Daybell was charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Lori, and her husband Chad, allegedly murdered Lori’s children “JJ” Vallow, 7, Tylee Ryan, 16, and Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell.
To better acquaint yourself with the case, you can read the Vallow/Daybell timeline here.
Lori’s friend, Gibb, was the first brought in to be questioned by Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake. When JJ went missing, Lori told officers he was with Gibb at her house in Arizona. Gibb told officers that JJ was not with her and that Lori asked her to lie about it.
Blake began by questioning Gibb about her relationship with Lori. Gibb said she first met Lori at a church event in 2018, a year or two after she met Chad. She and Chad were reportedly not close, but she said she and Lori became friends and saw each other several times a week in the beginning. Gibb said she met Tylee and JJ within a few weeks of meeting Lori, and that Tylee seemed frustrated with Lori “most of the time.” Lori was also reportedly affectionate with JJ, but as time went on she was “distracted a lot,” Gibb said.
Gibb said her and Lori’s relationship changed in January 2019 when Lori started moving around. In January, she moved to Arizona to stay with Alex Cox, Lori’s brother, then she went to Hawaii, Texas, and back to Arizona in July 2019 when her estranged husband Charles Vallow was killed. More on Charles’s history here.
The first time Lori and Chad met was in the presence of Gibb at a general conference in October of 2018. She said they were very friendly to each other and talked a lot about beliefs they had, and there was “definitely an attraction,” Gibb said. She said Lori had read a few of Chad’s books before they met and was very interested in meeting him, “like someone who would meet someone they’re attracted to.”
Lori told Gibb about a conversation she had with Chad when they met, she said Chad told her they had been married in another time period.
“She did believe that. She had already had the belief system that this multiple lives, as they would call it,” Gibb said during Thursday’s trial.
Lori had also once told Gibb that she had been married to the prophet Moroni, a religious figure from The Book of Mormon.
After the conference, Chad and Lori kept in contact, even though they were both married; Chad to Tammy, and Lori to Charles. Lori and Chad would often speak about the belief that you could live multiple times on the earth and called it “multiple probations.” Their definition of multiple probations reportedly changed the longer Lori and Chad knew each other.
A few weeks after their meeting, Chad came to Arizona for another conference, and according to Gibb, Lori and Chad interacted at the conference. Chad even reportedly stayed at Lori’s house over the weekend, as Charles was out of town. Gibb said she believed it was “hook up.”
Lori told Gibb that she had been married 4-5 times as other “characters,” and that Chad had been too. That weekend, Lori told Gibb that she and Chad were sealed together by Moroni and Jesus Christ in the waiting room of the LDS temple and that the relationship of multiple lives was reunited.
Lori claimed that 144,000 people would be on earth during the return of Jesus Christ, and she and Chad would be leading the group. Included “in the group” were those close to Lori, such as Cox and Melani Pawlowski, her niece. Lori told Gibb she and Chad would do a lot of missionary work ahead of the Second Coming.
Lori also reportedly explained the light and dark scale that she and Chad reportedly believed in. She said people who were light had signed contracts with the Savior, and those who were dark signed contracts with Satan before coming to earth. Lori taught her friends and others about the scale and reportedly told them someone could switch from dark to light, and light to dark.
Charles and Brandon Boudreaux, Palowski’s husband, were not present for these meetings or told about the teachings. Lori reportedly told Gibb that she had a dream where Charles was in a car accident in Texas and would not be home by Jan. 1, 2019. However, Charles was never in an accident, and when Gibb asked Lori what happened she said, “He didn’t because Satan interfered with the plan.”
Prior to Charles’ death, Lori and Chad communicated multiple times a day, and Lori had 2-3 cellphones, with one dedicated to her communications with Chad, Gibb reported. According to Gibb, Lori also said she and Chad would meet at hotels, and “they were intimate” while Charles and Tammy were both still alive. Lori told Gibb this was according to God’s will because they had been married in multiple lives and had a mission together.
On another day in January 2019, Lori told Gibb that Charles was taken over by an evil spirit and was now dark, at least that’s what Chad told her. Lori said they could perform “castings” to get an evil spirit out of someone with prayer. Lori and a group of women performed a casting for Charles, to cast an evil spirit named “Ned” out of his body. Charles stayed alive, so the teachings changed and a spirit named “Garrick,” or “Garret” entered his body. Lori cast this spirit out, but then the final spirit “Heblows” entered Charles’ body.
The night before Charles died, shot and killed by Cox, Lori allegedly told Gibb that Cox was spending the night because she believed Charles was going to kill her. When Gibb asked why Charles would want to kill her, Lori said it was because she had a million-dollar life insurance policy. Gibb asked why Lori didn’t get a divorce from Charles, and Lori said it wasn’t the Lord’s plan. Lori told Gibb that if Chad got a divorce from Tammy, he would be “penalized” and “lose his exaltation or standing with God.”
Lori told Gibb that Charles was argumentative with her that night, and he threatened her. Cox then shot Charles “in self-defense,” but it was later ruled as a homicide. Gibb said after Charles died, Lori and Chad seemed happy.
Many were considered dark by Lori, according to Gibb, including Charles, Boudreaux, Tylee, Lori’s dad, JJ, and JJ’s grandma Kay Woodcock, as well as random people. Lori reportedly told Gibb that sometime between February-June 2019 that Tylee was Dark, and in September 2019 Lori told Gibb JJ was possessed. For how this fits in the timeline, read here.
Lori was present for all the castings, and Chad was present for one shortly after Charles’ death, she said it was possibly a casting for Boudreaux after Lori told her niece that her husband was dark and had an evil spirit. According to Lori, Boudreaux was part of Hitler’s group and was considered a “very high dark.” Gibb said a few weeks after the idea of spirits taking over bodies, Lori started using the term “zombie.”
In late September 2019, Gibb and her boyfriend went to a seminar in Rexburg and stayed with Lori. During their stay, Gibb said that Chad and Lori were very affectionate and that Chad asked Gibb’s boyfriend not to tell anyone about his relationship with Lori.
Gibb said she did not see Tylee during the visit, as she was “at BYU-Idaho with her roommates.” It was later revealed that Tylee was never enrolled at BYU-Idaho or any other school in Idaho. When Gibb asked Lori about Tylee’s belongings, she said they had been put in storage. The last time Gibb saw Tylee was in July-August 2019 before Lori and Alex Cox moved with the kids to Idaho.
It was during the September 2019 visit that Lori told Gibb that JJ had an evil spirit in him, which she had learned from Chad. Lori said JJ’s behavior was more difficult and he would say things like “I love Satan.” Lori told Gibb JJ would climb on the fridge and act aggressively, but Gibb said she did not notice any changes in JJ, as he appeared to be a typical 7-year-old with autism. Lori told her he was difficult to handle, and that it was hard for her to take care of him and be with Chad. Lori said she was going to ask Kay to take care of JJ going forward.
Lori also allegedly told Gibb that Moroni appeared to her in a temple on September 22, which is also the last day Gibb saw JJ. According to Gibb, she stayed in Tylee’s room, and her boyfriend stayed in JJ’s room. At one point her boyfriend woke up “very troubled” and Gibb went to Loris room, but the door was locked, and neither Lori nor Chad responded to her texts.
Gibb said she saw Cox taking JJ upstairs that day, but on Sept. 23, when they left, they did not see him. Gibb said after that she occasionally spoke with Lori on the phone, but Lori never told Gibb where JJ was from that point forward.
Chad contacted Gibb around Thanksgiving 2019, told her the Rexburg, Idaho, police would be calling, and asked her not to answer the phone. Chad told her the police are looking for JJ and that Lori would be calling her. Gibb said she thought JJ was with his grandmother Kay because Lori told her she met Kay at an airport and asked her to take care of JJ.
Lori called Gibb and told her the Rexburg police came by, and that she told them JJ was with Gibb watching a movie. Lori asked Gibb to take photos of random kids at the movie theater and send them to the police. Lori told her the police were dark, JJ’s life was in danger and Kay was trying to kidnap him.
Gibb said at first she didn’t answer the phone to the police, “I wasn’t sure what in the world to do.”
However, Gibb later on reportedly told Gilbert, Arizona, police, “I had him, but I don’t have him anymore.” But she called them a few weeks later and told them JJ had not been with her.
A 20-minute phone call where Gibb confronted Chad and Lori was admitted into evidence. The conversation goes as follows. You can listen to it here.
On Oct. 19, 2019, Tammy reportedly died in her home in Salem, Utah. Investigators later determined her cause of death to be asphyxiation.
When Gibb asked Lori about it, she reportedly told her, “She had a dark entity in her, and [we] had to do what [we] could to get that spirit out of her.” Lori also told Gibb that Tammy was starting to get suspicious that Chad was having an affair the last few weeks, this is also when she “turned dark.” When Tammy passed away, Gibb said Lori was very happy to get married to Chad, and never expressed any sadness or sorrow, the same as after Charles died.
Gibb also told Lori about “vibrations,” that were equal to one’s level of spirituality. According to Lori, if you were at 1,000, you were at the terrestrial level (which is the lowest tier of heaven in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith.) Lori told Gibb the more your vibrations increased, the closer your body was to being translated. Lori even claimed that her vibration level was so high that she didn’t need to eat, and her menstrual cycle could change. Lori did not claim she had visions but had revelatory dreams here or there.
Gibb said these teachings were shared with Lori’s brother, Cox, and he believed the people Chad and Lori were hoping would pass away — Charles, Tylee, JJ, Tammy — were zombies. Gibb said she never fully believed the zombie teachings and told Cox that. And when Gibb asked Cox what happened to JJ, he said, “You don’t want to know.”
John Thomas, who conducted a cross-examination of Gibb, asked if she thought it was odd that Jesus Christ and Moroni had sealed Chad and Lori in the temple, she said it was, but never asked Lori to show her the place in the temple where they were married. Gibb said Lori and Chad tried to convince her she was part of the 144,00, but she never felt that was her calling.
Thomas said that “casting” sounds like witchcraft, but Gibb said she didn’t feel like that, as it was supposed to be more similar to what Jesus did in the Bible. Gibb said it felt “very unusual,” and also “very innocent,” because it was just like prayer. Gibb said she believed the light and dark scale somewhat, but not completely.
Thomas then asked Gibb about zombies, “When Lori talked about zombies, did you immediately think they were going to die?” Gibb said, “No, it was a bizarre teaching, and Lori thought it was bizarre too in the context of how it was explained to her by Chad.”
Chad reportedly told Lori, who told Gibb, that Tylee became a zombie when she was 12-13 years old, but they only found out when she was 16. Gibb told Thomas that Tylee didn’t like her from the beginning, even though she tried to be kind.
According to Gibb, Chad taught Lori how to make a portal. She said that Lori would be in her closet, and Chad would be on his bed, or in his room somewhere, and they could communicate through their portal. Thomas asked Gibb who Korihor is, she said he is an anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon, and that Lori had become an anti-Christ. Thomas asked a few more questions, but Gibb did not provide any important information.
Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake then took the stand with some follow-up questions. And Gibb revealed that when she went to visit Lori in February 2019, Lori was in daily contact with Chad, even though Tammy and Charles were both alive at this time.
Blake asked, “Did you want to believe Lori?” Gibb said, “Sometimes, she’s very convincing.”
Four days after Charles died, on July 15, 2020, Lori contacted Gibb. Gibb said she was afraid Chad and Lori would try to accuse her of something, which is why she recorded her phone call with them. Gibb said at the time she no longer believed the things Lori had taught her and believed Lori was teaching false things for her own personal gain.
Blake asked if Gibb observed a pattern once someone was deemed a zombie, and she said yes. Gibb said once people started questioning Lori or thought something was suspicious, that person became dark or a zombie. Gibb said Lori referred to Tylee, JJ and Charles as a zombie. Lori said Tammy was possessed. Gibb also said Cox was designated as the protector of Lori.