FILE – In this March 6, 2020, file photo, Lori Vallow Daybell, left, glances at the camera during her hearing, in Rexburg, Idaho. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)
UPDATED 6:26 PM PT – Wednesday, May 26, 2021
An infamous doomsday cult couple, Chad and Lori Daybell, appeared in court on Wednesday after being indicted on first-degree murder charges for the deaths of their children.
The couple virtually attended a hearing in which the judge read the charges against Chad. However, Lori’s hearing was postponed indefinitely due to unspecified exigent circumstances.
On Tuesday, prosecutors announced the murder and conspiracy charges against the couple in connection with the deaths of Lori’s two children Joshua (JJ) Vallow and Tylee Ryan, as well as Chad’s ex-wife Tammy Daybell.
FILE – In this Aug. 4, 2020, file photo, Chad Daybell listens during his preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)
They are accused of using their religious beliefs to justify the children’s deaths and exchanged disturbing text messages regarding all three deaths.
Friends told investigators the couple believed they were part of a cult known as the “Church of the First Born,” whose mission was to rid the world of zombies. At least one friend reported Lori believed her children had turned into zombies.
“Ever since she’s been involved in this doomsday cult, that is not the same Lori that we knew for 13 years,” said a former acquaintance of Lori.
Chad Daybell also faces charges of life insurance fraud tied to the murder of his ex-wife. While Lori has been charged with theft of social security benefits allocated to the care of her children after their deaths.
The pair could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted. However, prosecutors did not specify which penalties they would be seeking.