REXBURG, Idaho - Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow appeared in court for the first time on May 26, a day after being indicted by an Idaho grand jury in the deaths of Vallow's two kids, JJ and Tylee - along with Daybell's previous wife.
Kay and Larry Woodcock, the grandparents of JJ Vallow, knew something was wrong when Lori Vallow abruptly moved out of Chandler in 2019.
Now, they say they're hoping for the death penalty for the pair.
"Absolutely yes. Yes. Absolutely," the grandparents said, in response to a question about whether prosecutors should pursue capital punishment.
The Woodcocks were in resounding agreement after prosecutors gave them the news they've been waiting a long time for.
Lori Vallow has been accused of killing her children, and so is her husband Chad Daybell, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of the children and his first wife, Tammy.
"The world just stopped and there wasn't a sound," said Kay Woodcock.
"That room got so quiet that you could have heard a spider cough," Larry Woodcock said.
Both defendants appeared in front of a judge Wednesday on Zoom. Daybell wore a red shirt and tie, and Vallow wore blue along with a mask. Her appearance was visibly different than last year.
Lori Vallow's first-born son speaks out
Colby Ryan has not spoken to his mother in a long time, and he does not plan to in the near future.
"She took everything that she could away from all these different people," Ryan said. "Like I said, not just me. She stripped everybody away from other people."
Ryan is still coming to grips with the reality that his mother is now accused of killing his siblings, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee.
Colby says his mother never revealed any details even after investigators found the children dead last June.
"I called her even after and tried to confront her, and she's still not going to sit there and even like even go with me and say, 'Yes, this happened,' " Ryan said.
Before the discovery, Vallow was already in jail on child desertion charges, and never told authorities the whereabouts of JJ and Tylee for several months.
"She's out of her mind…I don't give a frick if you don't want to be a parent, I don't care what your purpose is, I don't care," said Ryan. "You don't go around and take everyone's life to get to where you need to go."
Prosecutors believe Lori and Chad Daybell endorsed religious beliefs to encourage or justify the murders while conspiring to commit the crimes.
Rick Ross, the founder of the Cult Education Institute, has studied the nature of destructive cults for decades. He called Daybell a manipulative leader who preyed on Vallow.
"He convinces his followers - and that would be Lori Vallow, and there were others involved - that he, and he alone, is speaking as a prophet in this time and that everything hinges on him. Everything." said Ross. "Basically it rotates around him and he becomes an object of worship, and I believe that Lori Vallow was intentionally indoctrinated to accept him as an authority figure in her life."
For Ryan, what has transpired over the past two years is unexplainable. He feels anger toward his mother, but now his focus is solely on justice for JJ and Tylee.
"I miss them every single day, like there's never a day I'm not thinking about them," Ryan said.
Authorities found JJ and Tylee's remains in Chad Daybell's backyard last June after the kids were missing for nine months.
Tammy's body was found in the Daybell home in October 2019.
Daybell is also charged with two counts of insurance fraud. Investigators say he capitalized on Tammy's life insurance policy.
Kay and Larry Woodcock believe this bizarre case comes down to greed and lust.
"Lori is not that stupid," Kay said. "I don't know Chad, but I don't think he's that stupid, so if you can tell me that the Lord is telling you to go increase your wife's life insurance so a month later she's dead - okay, that's greed."
"He knew what he was doing," Larry said. "They're not crazy."
Daybell's formal arraignment is scheduled for June 9, where he will enter a plea. That day is the anniversary of when JJ and Tylee's remains were discovered.
Meanwhile, Vallow's attorney motioned for her initial appearance to be continued.
- Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell indicted on murder charges in connection to her children's deaths
- Gilbert Police end investigation into Alex Cox's death
- Autopsy report on Tammy Daybell complete; details won't be released to the public
- Lori Vallow's 3rd husband feared she would kill him, her daughter, or herself
- 1 year later: Dec. 20 marks anniversary of official search for JJ and Tylee, missing kids from Arizona
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