'Cult mom' Lori Vallow made panicked prison call to husband Chad Daybell hours before kids' bodies were found

An audio recording of the phone call was played in court by Fremont prosecutors during Daybell's preliminary hearing last week

                            'Cult mom' Lori Vallow made panicked prison call to husband Chad Daybell hours before kids' bodies were found
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow (Rexburg Police Department)

Investigators have released the audio of a phone call between 'cult mom' Lori Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell that took place just hours before they uncovered the bodies of Vallow's two missing children in the latter's yard. Vallow called Daybell from the Madison County Jail, where she has been incarcerated for the last five months, and in the three-minute call that transpired, expressed concern about the search and said she would pray for him. The call, a recording of which has been obtained by the Daily Mail, opens with Daybell greeting his wife and sounding worried as he tells her that the authorities were "searching the property."

When Vallow asks if he meant "right now?" he answers in the affirmative and says something unintelligible before telling her that her attorney Mark Means will be contacting her soon. "Okay. What, are they in the house?" Vallow ventures. "No, they're out in the property," Daybell responds. She sounds noticeably tenser as she then asks, "Are they seizing stuff again?" Daybell tells her they're "searching" before going silent for a few moments and thanking his wife for calling him during such a difficult time.

Joshua “J.J.” Vallow, at left, and Tylee Ryan (Rexburg Police Department)

Vallow offers to pray for her husband and the next few seconds are difficult to transcribe as both talk over each other. Eventually, he tells her to speak to her attorney and says he needs to answer another call.  "I love you so much," he can be heard saying, with Vallow replying in kind. They exchange a few more "love yous" before they end the call. Vallow reportedly made the call around 11 am on June 9, just hours before Fremont County Sheriff's deputies, Rexburg Police officers, and FBI agents who were searching Daybell's Salem, Idaho, home found remains that have since been confirmed belonging to Vallow's children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua 'JJ' Vallow.

Tylee, 17, and Joshua, seven, were last seen in September 2019 but were only reported missing more than two months later after concerned relatives told the police they had not seen or heard from the children for a long time. After an investigation into their disappearance was opened, both Vallow and Daybell went on the run. The former was eventually arrested in February and charged with two felony counts of desertion and non-support of dependent children, as well as resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, and contempt of court. During a hearing in July, she was also charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.

Daybell was arrested on June 9 and charged with two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence after investigators found Tylee's and Joshua's remains. The recording of his call with his wife earlier that morning was played by Fremont County prosecutors in court during his preliminary hearing last week. After his hearing, Vallow waived her right to a preliminary hearing and agreed to go straight to trial on charges of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence. She will still have to face her other charges in Madison County.

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