Lori Vallow Ruled Unfit to Stand Trial for Alleged Murder of Her Children

After undergoing a psychological evaluation, a judge ruled Lori Vallow is not "competent” to stand trial for the murder of her children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

By Cydney Contreras May 27, 2021 8:58 PMTags
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A Fremont County judge has determined Idaho woman Lori Vallow is unfit to stand trial in the murder of her two childrenJoshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

According to court documents obtained by E! News on Thursday, May 27, Lori underwent a psychological examination after her counsel expressed concern for her mental wellbeing. Following an evaluation by a court-approved psychologist, judge Steven Boyce states in the filing that Lori was determined "not competent to proceed, and recommends restorative treatment."

According to the documents, the prosecution "contests the findings of the report" and a hearing will be scheduled to further address the issue.

In the meantime, the court has halted further legal proceedings until Lori's "issue of competency" is decided, the filing states. If Lori is unfit to stand trial at this time, the trial will be postponed temporarily or indefinitely. 

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News of the psychological evaluation comes two days after a Fremont County Grand Jury indicted Lori and her husband, Chad Daybell, on 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. 

In addition, a spokesperson for Arizona's Chandler Police Department confirmed Lori could possibly face additional charges after their investigators submitted a charge of conspiracy to commit first degree murder to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office on April 1. They additionally said the findings are "currently under review."

Dennis Fujimoto/AP/Shutterstock

This possible new charge is related to the death of Lori's fourth husband, Charles Vallow. On July 11, 2019, Lori's late brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Charles during a dispute at the Vallow family home. According to NBC News, Alex, who died of unknown causes six months later, claimed he acted in self defense and was never charged.

Lori went on to relocate herself and her two kids to Idaho, where Chad lived with his wife Tammy Daybell.

Tammy died in October 2019, but Chad declined an autopsy examination at the time and she was laid to rest. However, investigators later had her body exhumed in December 2019, mere months into the search for JJ and Tylee. 

Now, in addition to the aforementioned charges, both Lori and Chad are facing charges of conspiracy to commit first degree murder in Tammy's death, while Chad alone is charged with first degree murder and two counts of insurance fraud related to the life insurance policies he benefited from.


Lori is also facing grand theft related to social security survivor benefits in connection to her deceased children.

The search for JJ and Tylee began in September 2019, when JJ's paternal grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock, reported their grandchild missing to the Idaho authorities. Nine months later, the authorities discovered the children's remains in Chad's backyard.

Lori previously pleaded not guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to destroy, alter or conceal evidence and for misdemeanor charges of resisting or obstructing officers, solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court, while Chad has pleaded not guilty to felony destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence and conspiracy to commit those acts.

Chad will appear in court for his arraignment on the remaining charges on June 9. 

For more details on this case, including Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison's thoughts on the shocking events, click here.