Lori Vallow-Daybell was upbeat behind bars — while reveling in media attention over her case, a former inmate at her jail said in a report on Tuesday.
A woman who was jailed on a parole violation at the time Vallow was booked in Idaho’s Madison County Jail in March, and who spent four days in the cell adjacent to Vallow’s, described her interactions with the “Doomsday” cult mom to EastIdahoNews.com.
“She knew she was the main story and she liked it,” said the woman, who spoke anonymously for safety reasons and was referred to as Missy Cook by the outlet.
“She was totally aware of all of it,” Cook told the outlet. “She said, ‘We have the death of Kobe Bryant and COVID but no – there’s me. I’m the lead story. I’m more important than all that stuff.’”
Vallow-Daybell remains in the jail on $1 million bail. She and her husband Chad Daybell each face multiple felony counts for conspiring to destroy or conceal evidence in the death of her children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan.
But Cook said she didn’t want to spook Vallow-Daybell by quizzing her about the children.
“I made it a point not to ask about her kids. I wanted to gain her trust and see if she would tell me anything.”
Cook said that despite the weight of the charges, Vallow-Daybell maintained a sunny disposition and was friendly — she never cried or appeared disappointed.
One thing Vallow-Daybell did seem concerned about, Cook said, was being camera-ready for her court appearances in the sordid case, which has drawn national attention.
She was proud of her blue toenail polish but whined about her dry skin and worried about how she would look during the hearing, said Cook, adding that she lent Vallow-Daybell lotion, deodorant and makeup she had purchased from the commissary.
“So she comes to the door and has on this bright pink lipstick. She said, ‘How does it look?’ I hesitantly paused and said, ‘Oh … you look good,’” Cook recalled.
“I gave her some tips and said she could use a regular led pencil to draw in her eyebrows and helped her get ready for court.”
Vallow-Daybell apparently “knew how big of a deal” her first appearance in Rexburg, Idaho, court was and looked forward to it. When she returned to her cell a couple hours later, she wanted to watch coverage of the hearing.
“As the news came on, she said, ‘Here it comes! Here’s my story. Turn it up. Let’s see what they say about me now,’” Cook said.
When Vallow-Daybell wasn’t with her attorneys, she was talking to her hubby — while diligently taking notes — or speaking to her son, Colby, said Cook.
Cook said the calls between the cult mom and Daybell were “nauseating,” as Vallow-Daybell made sure to primp before their video chats and wanted reassurance from her husband that he loved her.
She also “talked on the phone with her son literally almost two days straight,” said Cook.
“After the big entrance at her arraignment, she got on the phone with her son and said, ‘I didn’t see you (in the courtroom). There were just so many people,’” Cook said. “He kept saying, ‘Mom, where are JJ and Tylee? Why won’t you tell us? What’s going on?’”
Instead of answering, Vallow-Daybell would talk about the past or about Colby’s child — while maintaining that she was “being tested like Job” from the Old Testament, Cook said.
“She would say, ‘Colby, just listen to me. Everyone wants to know but it’s none of their business. God doesn’t judge me and they shouldn’t judge me. The prophet says to stay off social media so don’t go on there.’”
Throughout their time locked up together, Vallow-Daybell would repeat that “Everything has a purpose. God has a plan for everyone. His plan will be accomplished,” Cook recalled.
The married couple are slated to go on trial in January. They’re not charged with the children’s deaths and officials haven’t publicly disclosed how the two kids died.
Authorities found the decomposing remains in June buried in a pet cemetery on Daybell’s property in Rexburg. The children were last seen alive in September.
Vallow-Daybell, a member of the doomsday cult Preparing a People, allegedly told a friend that the children had become zombies and the only way to expel the evil spirits from their bodies was to kill them. She is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
Daybell, also an adherent of the prepper group, has written several books on the Apocalypse and the Second Coming of Christ.