Lori Vallow Ordered to Enter Mental Health Facility as She Faces Charges of Murder of Her Children

Idaho woman Lori Vallow must undergo treatment at a mental health facility after being declared unfit for trial following her indictment in the suspected murders of her children, a judge has ruled.

By Corinne Heller, Cydney Contreras Jun 09, 2021 6:39 PMTags
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Lori Vallow has been ordered to be committed to a mental health treatment facility after being declared unfit for trial following her indictment in the suspected murders of her two children, Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua Jaxon "JJ" Vallow, 7.

In May, an Idaho grand jury indicted Lori and husband Chad Daybell on first-degree murder charges in connection with the deaths. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges related to the September 2019 disappearances of the children, whose remains were found buried on Chad's property in June 2020.

This past March, Lori was given a psychological assessment and a judge later determined that based on the results, she was not competent to proceed to trial and ordered her to undergo "restorative treatment."

Court records filed on Tuesday, June 8, and obtained by E! News state that Lori "was committed to the custody of the Director of Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for care and treatment at an appropriate facility for a period not exceeding 90 days." The filing also states that while Lori "does lack capacity to make informed decisions about treatment," she is "not dangerously mentally ill."

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According to the papers, an evaluation of Lori's mental condition is to be performed at the time of her admission to the facility and a progress report will be prepared on her mental condition, which will "include an opinion as to whether she is fit to proceed, or if not, whether there is a substantial probability she will be fit to proceed within the foreseeable future."

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The documents add that "if at any time the director of the facility to which Lori is committed determines that she is fit to proceed, such determination shall be reported immediately to the court."

Dateline correspondent and Mommy Doomsday podcast host Keith Morrison spoke to E! News exclusively about the developments in the case, saying he questions how she "managed" her mental illness as well as she did in the real world. He shared, "It's fascinating to me that she had several medical evaluations over the years, requested by a couple of her spouses, and she passed them with flying colors."

The seasoned journalist pondered if this could be the prosecutor's way of "buying time," as they contemplate whether they will seek the death penalty. 

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Lori and Chad were indicted on the charges of Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder and Grand Theft by Deception for the death of Tylee, First Degree Murder for the death of Tylee, Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder and Grand Theft by Deception for the death of JJ and First Degree Murder for the death of JJ. 

Additionally, Chad was indicted on the charge of First Degree Murder in the death of his previous wife, Tammy Daybell, whose body was exhumed in December 2019, after authorities began investigating JJ and Tylee's disappearance. Lori and Chad were both indicted on the charge of Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder in Tammy's death.

They have pleaded not guilty to all these charges. Chad entered his pleas at an arraignment on Wednesday, June 9.


Morrison and the Dateline team have followed the case since J.J. and Tylee were first reported missing, and they continue to follow along with every development. Morrison said they've been doing their own "digging and interviewing," which has left them with a "ton of material" to put out more podcast episodes. That material includes interviews with people who knew Lori, Chad and her late husband Charles Vallow

The Dateline correspondent couldn't divulge the details of those conversations, but he said, "They've all gone through a pretty tough time."

While it seems there's nothing more to be learned about the deaths of J.J. and Tylee, Morrison said their research will help people "understand how this all came to be."

Additionally, he "fully anticipates" a Dateline special on the case. 

As for timing, Morrison revealed they will release new episodes when the "time is right." In the meantime, readers can binge all six episodes of Mommy Doomsday wherever they get their podcasts and watch all new episodes of Dateline on Fridays at 10 p.m. ET.

—Reporting by Holly Passalaqua

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