‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow confessed that she wanted to kill her third husband in a resurfaced audio recording from six months after he died, a new report claims.
Joseph Ryan died of an apparent heart attack aged 58 in April 2018 in Phoenix – 14 years after he and Lori divorced in 2004.
Ryan’s sister, Annie Cushing, came forward to the Post Register this week with an audio clip from October 2018 in which she claims Lori can be heard telling friends that she considered murdering Ryan because of a custody battle over their daughter, Tylee, years earlier.
Cushing gave little detail about where she got the audio, which she said was recorded at a meeting of a doomsday cult Lori was allegedly involved in with her fifth husband, Chad Daybell.
In the audio, a voice that Cushing identified as Lori’s is heard explaining how turning to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stopped her from acting on her desire to kill her ex-husband.
‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow confessed that she wanted to kill her third husband Joseph Ryan (pictured together at their wedding in 2001) in a resurfaced audio recording from six months after he died, a new report claims
Ryan is pictured with his and Lori’s daughter Tylee, who was found murdered alongside her brother JJ in June. Lori and her current husband Chad Daybell are currently awaiting trial on charges for conspiracy to hide the children’s remains
Ryan’s sister, Annie Cushing (pictured), came forward this week with an audio clip from October 2018 in which she claims Lori can be heard telling friends that she considering murdering Ryan because of a custody battle over Tylee years earlier
It is unclear whether the audio has been presented to law enforcement for authentication.
It came to light as Lori and Chad remain behind bars awaiting a joint trial on charges of conspiracy to hide the remains of her children, Tylee and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow.
Tylee, 16, and JJ, seven, disappeared in Rexburg, Idaho, in September 2019 but were never reported missing by their mother.
A multi-state search was launched two months later after relatives contacted police and said they hadn’t heard from the children in months.
The search came to a devastating end in June when JJ and Tylee’s bodies were found buried on Chad’s property in Salem, Idaho.
The case gained national attention with the revelations that Lori and Chad had also been linked to at least three mysterious deaths.
Lori’s fourth husband, with whom she adopted JJ, was shot dead by her brother Alex Cox in July 2019, in Chandler, Arizona. Police have said they plan to bring charges against Lori in that case before the end of the year.
Chad’s first wife of 29 years, Tammy Daybell, died aged 49 in October of last year, just two weeks before he tied the knot with Lori. Her body was exhumed after Tylee and JJ were reported missing last November but the results of her autopsy have not yet been released.
Cox died aged 51 on December 12, one day after Tammy’s body was exhumed. Months later an autopsy determined that he died of natural causes while he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system.
Friends and family of Lori and Chad have speculated that the string of deaths surrounding the couple may have been linked to their extreme religious beliefs and alleged involvement in a doomsday cult.
The recording brought forward by Cushing purportedly came from a meeting of that supposed cult, Preparing A People.
The sexual abuse allegations came to light almost a month after Tylee, 17, and her brother Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow (pictured) were found buried on the property of Lori’s husband Chad Daybell
Lori and Chad (left and right in their mugshots) are both behind bars on charges of conspiracy to destroy evidence
In April of this year an FBI official confirmed to People that Ryan’s death had ‘become part of the investigation into Lori Vallow’.
Cushing and other relatives have urged Phoenix police to open a formal investigation into Ryan’s death, asserting that Lori may have had something to do with it.
Ryan was ruled to have died of a heart attack on April 3, 2018. His body wasn’t discovered until a week later and an autopsy was never performed. Lori had reportedly told police that she hadn’t seen Ryan for two years before his death.
Cushing told the Post Register this week that officials with the Phoenix Police Department have indicated that the case will remain closed.
She hopes that perhaps the audio recording could change that, as she claims it provides proof of Lori wanting her ex-husband dead.
Ryan (pictured) was ruled to have died of a heart attack on April 3, 2018. His body wasn’t discovered until a week later and an autopsy was never performed
Cushing did not disclose who gave her the audio but said she verified the source and she is ‘100 percent’ sure it is authentic.
She said she consulted with lawyers and a law professor before giving the Post Register a version of the clip, which she had edited to ‘remove parts of the audio that gave information about people in the recording who are not involved in the case’, the outlet said.
The audio was recorded on October 19, 2018, roughly six months after Ryan died. Cushing said she was informed that it was recorded during a Preparing A People gathering at the home of Melanie Gibb, Lori’s best friend, in Gilbert, Arizona.
At the start of the 46-minute clip a voice identified as Lori’s is heard describing a ‘turning point’ in her life that propelled her to deepen her involvement in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
‘When people hear my story, they’re like: “I can’t believe you did that. I can’t believe you lived through that. I can’t believe that you’re still here,”‘ Lori says.
‘I had been married to someone who was very awful, who raped my children, and I had divorced him and gotten away from him,’ she continues, in apparent reference to Ryan.
Lori’s fraught relationship with Ryan has been described at length in court documents from their custody battle over Tylee, and in interviews with the couple’s eldest son, Colby Ryan.
A court filing unearthed over the summer describes how Tylee, then five, told a therapist that she was afraid to stay the night with her dad ‘because Joe molested me and Colby’.
Colby validated Tylee’s claims in a Dateline interview in May, saying that Ryan ‘was sexually abusive’ and that he had confided in Lori about the abuse.
Other court documents revealed that Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, threatened to kill Ryan during an altercation following a custody hearing regarding Tylee in 2007. Cox served three months in jail for aggravated assault after he used a stun gun on Ryan during that altercation.
Lori’s fraught relationship with Ryan has been described at length in court documents from their custody battle over Tylee, and in interviews with the couple’s eldest son, Colby (left). Lori’s brother Alex Cox (right) was arrested for using a stun gun on Ryan and threatening to kill him in 2007
In the audio clip from the Preparing A People meeting, Lori talks about how Ryan tried to get custody of Tylee, then three years old, after they divorced ‘just to rub it in my face’.
She goes into chilling detail about wanting to kill Ryan after he was granted partial custody of Tylee even after she told the court about his abuse.
‘I was going to murder him. I was going to kill him. Like the scriptures say,’ Lori says.
‘Just to stop the pain and to stop him coming after me and to stop him coming after my children. I just thought I couldn’t take it anymore.
‘I would go through the scriptures and find all the things. Like: “If he comes against you once, if he comes against you twice, if he comes against you three times then you can kill him.” It says it in the scriptures in the Book of Mormon.
‘I was like there it is. There’s my answer. I don’t want to do anything that’s wrong. I did not have a murderous heart. I just wanted to stop the bleeding and stop the pain.’
Lori then describes how she turned to her faith to ease her pain.
‘Someone wise was speaking to me and said: “You need to go to the temple,”‘ she says. ‘So I went and met with my bishop, and I was like: “I’m either going to turn my life to the temple or I’m going to commit murder. So do you want to give me a temple recommend?”
A temple recommend is a card that gives LDS members access to temples, which are considered the church’s holiest buildings.
‘I was perfectly honest because at that point I had nothing left to lose,’ Lori concluded.
Cushing claimed the audio was recorded during a Preparing A People gathering at the home of Melanie Gibb, Lori’s best friend (pictured together), in Gilbert, Arizona
Later in the recording Lori and a few other people at the meeting share their belief that the end of the world is coming.
‘The Lord is gathering his people. He is calling people to the 144,000. They’re already being called. They’re already being sent on their missions. They’re already going full circle. The time is now. He is coming,’ Lori says.
Gibb lifted the lid on Lori’s beliefs about the end of the world taking place in July 2020 in an interview with the East Idaho News back in May.
She charged that Lori had adopted those extreme beliefs from Chad, who believed he was a prophet sent to lead the ‘chosen people’ through the apocalypse.
Gibb acknowledged that she too held some of those beliefs, but said she had since come to realize that Chad’s ‘teachings’ are not supported by the LDS church.
In the recording, Gibb is heard echoing Lori’s comments about the end of the world and reminding that that was why they formed their group.
‘Preparing a People. That’s what we’re trying to do with them,’ Gibb says.
‘We’re trying to help people realize that things are really happening like they did a long time ago. In the old day, people had visions and dreams. This is not rocket, new science, this is like old.’
Lori is heard saying that she was surprised to have been chosen by God to help lead ‘the 144,000’ because she is ‘sweet and innocent’.
But, she claims God sent her a ‘pre-mortal memory’ of herself that showed her she was up to the task.
‘I got to see myself as a warrior fighting for the savior in the pre-mortal world,’ Lori says. ‘I went to other worlds and I fought. And I was one of his strongest warriors.
‘He showed me so I could never deny it again. I was not sweet and I was not innocent. I am old. I have fought. I have fought in this war for millennia. And that’s who I am. And I came down here to be a warrior and fight. And I only thought that I was sweet and innocent.’
Lori’s descriptions of herself as ‘sweet and innocent’ bear stark contrast to those portrayed in the media in the 10 months since news broke that her kids were missing
In this aerial photo, investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell’s residence in the 200 block of 1900 East in Salem, Idaho on June 9
Lori’s descriptions of herself as ‘sweet and innocent’ bear stark contrast to those portrayed in the media in the 10 months since news broke that her kids were missing.
She is now gearing up to face trial alongside Chad after a judge ruled that their cases should be combined last week. A trial date yet to be determined.
Lori is facing two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, as well as three misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing officers, solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court.
Chad is also charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, along with two other felony counts for destruction or concealment of evidence.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty and have maintained their innocence.
Neither Chad nor Lori have been accused of harming Tylee or JJ. Authorities have yet to say how the children died, or whether homicide charges will be filed in the future.
Tylee vanished on September 8, 2019, just days before her 17th birthday. Investigators said her body was burned and dismembered before being buried sometime the following day.
JJ was last seen two weeks later on September 23. His body was wrapped in duct tape and plastic and buried the same day, investigators said.
Authorities believe Lori’s brother, Cox, brought the children’s bodies to Chad’s home to dispose of them.
Timeline of JJ and Tylee’s disappearance
July 11, 2019: Lori Vallow’s husband, Charles Vallow, is killed by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona. Police initially rule that Alex acted in self defense but reopen the case months later after the children are reported missing.
August: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho, where her future husband Chad Daybell lives with his wife Tammy.
September 8: The last time Tylee is seen during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Lori, JJ and Alex. In the following weeks she tells people who ask where Tylee is that she’s studying at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus.
September 23: The last time JJ is seen at his school in Rexburg. Lori emailed the school the following day and claims she is moving the family to California for a new job.
October 2: Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Lori’s niece Melanie Pawlowski, is targeted in a drive-by shooting in Arizona. Police identify the vehicle carrying the shooter as a Jeep registered to Charles Vallow, Lori’s late husband.
October 19: Chad’s wife Tammy, 49, dies at their Idaho home. An obituary states that she passed away peacefully in her sleep. Chad declines an autopsy and her death is listed as natural causes.
October 25: A friend of Tylee receives a vague ‘miss you’ text from her phone but says that it didn’t sound like the teen.
November 5: Lori and Chad tie the knot on a beach in Kauai. Receipts indicate that Lori purchased her own wedding ring from Amazon nearly three weeks prior to Tammy’s death.
November 26: Out-of-state relatives ask Idaho police to perform a welfare check on JJ. Lori and Chad claim he is in Arizona with relatives and ask their friend, Melanie Gibb, to lie and say she took the boy there for Thanksgiving. Police soon learn that no one has seen JJ, or his older sister Tylee, since September.
November 27: Police execute a search warrant related to the children at Lori’s home and discover that she and Chad have fled Idaho.
December 11: Tammy’s body is exhumed from a Utah cemetery and her death is reclassified as suspicious.
December 12: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, is found unresponsive in a bathroom in Arizona and dies. Months later an autopsy determines that he died of natural causes while he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system.
December 21: Rexburg police issue the first press release about JJ and Tylee, revealing they believe their disappearance could be linked to Tammy’s death and asking the public for information.
December 24: Lori and Chad issue a statement through an attorney saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing ‘allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor’.
December 30: Police accuse Lori and Chad of lying to investigators and say they believe the couple know where the kids are or what happened to them.
January 3, 2020: Police search Chad’s home in Salem and remove 43 items, including tech devices and journals. They also comb over sections of the snow-covered yard with rakes and metal detectors.
January 26: Lori and Chad are seen for the first time in months as police serve them with two search warrants in Kauai. Lori is also served with a court order to produce the children to authorities in Idaho in five days. The couple are approached by the media while officers serve the documents and refuse to say anything about the children.
January 30: Lori misses the court deadline to produce the children to Idaho authorities.
February 20: Lori is arrested in Kauai and charged with two felony counts for desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, and one misdemeanor count each for resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt of court.
March 5: Lori is extradited to Idaho, where she is held on $1million bond at Madison County Jail.
March 17: Lori professes her innocence in a statement through her attorney as two other members of her defense team quit and the judge removes himself from the case.
March 24: Court documents filed in the divorce of Lori’s niece Melani and her husband Brandon Boudreaux allege that Lori told people she believed her children were zombies before they disappeared.
April 9: Authorities reveal they are investigating Lori and Chad for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with Tammy’s death.
May 25: Idaho police issue a statement expressing hope that the kids will be found safe on what would have been JJ’s eighth birthday.
June 9: Police search Chad’s home in Salem for the second time and discover human remains in the backyard. Chad is taken into police custody and charged with destruction or concealment of evidence.