It’s a tale as old as time: Boy meets girl, boy and girl begin preparing for the end times they have pinpointed to a hilariously specific date, boy and girl’s respective spouses mysteriously die and leave them conveniently free to marry each other. Basically, the story of Lori Vallow, A.K.A. the “Doomsday Mom,” was bonkers even before her children went missing, and it hasn’t gotten less weird from there.

Preparing a Person

Sometime in the mid 2010s, Vallow became obsessed with Daybell’s books and met him through Preparing a People, an organization that, well, prepares a people for the second coming. He told her she was an “eternal being” because doomsday weirdos can’t just say “I think you’re hot,” and she came to believe she was "a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ's second coming in July 2020” and somehow also the reincarnated wife of Joseph Smith. By 2019, she disowned her family and disappeared, which is what finally pushed the apparently incredibly patient Charles Vallow to file for divorce. 

Missing Children

In September, Vallow moved with her daughter, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, and son with Charles, seven-year-old J.J. Vallow, to Idaho to be near Daybell, and no one ever saw the children again. Vallow’s niece’s husband at the time, Brandon Boudreaux, later said Vallow and Daybell believed the children had “become zombies,” which is just true of all children at some point.

On the Run

Two weeks after his wife’s death, Daybell married Vallow, and a few weeks later, the police finally began investigating why nobody had seen Vallow’s children in two months. The night after they questioned Vallow, neighbors saw her and Cox packing a truck, and by morning, Vallow and Daybell had vanished. It was the day before Thanksgiving, so you can imagine this all happening amid a flurry of decorative gourds and the sad turkey they left behind.

Vegas Weddings

Las Vegas

(David Vives/Unsplash)

In the final days of November, while their sister and aunt was supposedly missing, Vallow’s brother, Cox, and her niece, Melani Boudreaux, both went to Vegas to get married (to other people -- it’s not quite that kind of story). Niece-uncle double weddings are pretty unusual, but other than that, the only thing that’s weird about it is the timing, like they were in a real hurry. Especially considering…

No Longer Missing

Idaho wilderness

(Backroad Packers/Unsplash)

In early 2020, Vallow and Daybell were tracked down in Hawaii and Vallow was charged with deserting her children and contempt of court. By June, the police had gotten ahold of cell phone data that indicated Cox had spent a long time in Daybell’s backyard the day after each child went missing, including just before Daybell told his wife he’d buried a raccoon. A search of Daybell’s property revealed the remains of both children, and “desertion” became “murder.”

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