Doomsday Mom Lori Vallow’s Best Friend Describes the Moment She Met Her Apocalyptic Lover Chad Daybell

The former best friend of Lori Vallow took the stand on Thursday, describing to jurors their once-shared Doomsday religion—and how the mother-of-two used their faith to justify her allegedly murderous actions.

Testifying to a packed Ada County court, Melanie Gibb described how she first met Vallow at a church event in 2018 and the two became fast friends. Their friendship and shared religion would take them to an Utah conference months later, where Vallow ultimately met Chad Daybell, a former gravedigger who had written several apocalyptic novels aimed at Mormons.

Despite being married to other people, Gibb said, the pair was “flirty” as they discussed their shared beliefs and ultimately revealed that they had been married in a past life and were meant to be together.

Vallow “shared with me that [Daybell] told her that they had been married in another time period,” Gibb said, adding that her friend also told her she had been married to the prophet Moroni from the Book of Mormon. “She believed that. She had already had the belief system…[in] multiple lives, as they would call it, already believed that before she physically met him.”

That initial meeting sparked an affair between Daybell and Vallow, one that prosecutors allege would ultimately lead to the three murders within the next year. Prosecutors claim that, driven by their religious beliefs and a thirst for “money, power, and sex,” Vallow and Daybell orchestrated the September 2019 disappearance and murder of her two children, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow.

Later, prosecutors allege, the pair conspired to kill Daybell’s first wife, Tammy, for insurance and social security funds. While authorities initially deemed that Tammy had died of natural causes, prosecutors this week revealed that Daybell’s former spouse was strangled to death.

Vallow has pleaded not guilty to several charges, including murder and conspiracy, in connection with the deaths of her children and the conspiracy to kill Daybell’s first wife in October 2020. If convicted, Vallow faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, as Judge Steven Boyce took the death penalty off the table last month. Daybell, whose trial will be scheduled after Vallow’s is completed, may face the death penalty.

On Thursday, jurors heard for the first time the details of the Doomsday religion that Vallow and Daybell allegedly used to justify their actions. Gibb explained that despite being married to other people, the pair set up a secret rendezvous at an LDS temple just weeks after meeting—where they allegedly were “sealed” together by Jesus Christ and Moroni.

“That relationship of multiple lives was reunited,” Gibb explained.

After that, Gibb said, her friend began explaining to her different outlandish beliefs, including that Vallow believed she and Daybell were among the 144,000 people who would be on Earth when Jesus Christ returned. Vallow also began to preach about a light and dark scale—and that if a person had turned “dark” they would become a “zombie.”’

Gibb said that among the people Vallow said were considered “dark” were her former husband, Charles, one of her brothers, and her two children.

In July 2019, Charles Vallow was fatally shot by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, who later claimed self-defense. Cox died of a blood clot on December 12, 2019. (Vallow is facing separate charges in connection with Charles’ slaying.) After Charles’ death, Gibb said, Vallow and Daybell were “happy” since they had already been seeing each other for months because it was God’s will.

Eventually, Gibb said, Vallow said her children were affecting her relationship with Daybell. Gibb testified she last saw Tylee around July or August 2019 in Arizona before Vallow moved the children to Idaho to be closer to Daybell.

When she went to visit Vallow in September, Gibb said, she assumed that Tylee was in college with her roommates. During that trip, Gibb said she saw Vallow and Daybell acting “very affectionate” even though he was still married. She said Vallow also tried to tell her that JJ had been having behavior problems.

“Lori tried to explain how he was changing into a more negative type of demeanor,” Gibb said, adding that the last time she saw JJ was the night of Sept. 22.

Authorities believe that JJ and Tylee were murdered around Sept. 22 before their bodies were disposed of in Daybell’s Idaho farm. Two months later, around Thanksgiving, Gibb testified that she received a phone call from Daybell warning her not to answer a call from the Rexburg Police Department looking into JJ’s whereabouts.

Gibb said that at the time she thought the child was with his grandparents. Later, she learned that Vallow had told police that JJ was with Gibb—and that they were watching Frozen. Unsure of what to do, Gibb testified, she complied with her friend’s request and didn’t answer authorities when they called.

“I wasn’t sure what in the world to do,” Gibb said, adding that she eventually spoke with police in December and revealed that JJ had not been with her.

Afterward, Gibb called Vallow demanding answers—prompting Vallow to insist that people were after her.

“I had to move him somewhere else,” Vallow explained during a Dec. 8 phone call played in court on Thursday. “The danger is that there are people after me.”

“If you knew, it would put you in danger,” Daybell interjected, with a laugh. “I’m not telling anybody where he is so I can keep him as safe as possible. So nobody has to be questioned about it, so he can be safe.”

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