Lori Vallow, who was charged this week with murdering two of her children, has been declared mentally unfit to stand trial for separate concealment of evidence charges she faces.
Vallow was evaluated for competency in March, according to an Idaho judge’s Thursday order to stay the case. A psychologist performed the assessment, which “determined that at this time, the defendant is not competent to proceed, and recommends restorative treatment,” Judge Steven Boyce wrote in the order.
Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell were indicted Tuesday on first-degree murder charges and other counts in the deaths of her two children, Tylee and Joshua, who were 16 and 7 respectively when they were last seen in September 2019.
The stay is for two concealment of evidence counts that Vallow was charged with in June 2020 after the bodies of the children were found on Daybell’s property.
But the ruling could influence the murder case against her. On Wednesday, Daybell appeared for his first court appearance while Vallow’s was cut short after Judge Faren Eddins said the hearing would be postponed at the request of Vallow’s attorney based on “information provided to the court.” Eddins didn’t elaborate or set a new date.
Multiple people close to Vallow have raised red flags about her bizarre doomsday beliefs and mental state.
Indictments released Tuesday said the couple “did endorse and espouse religious beliefs for the purpose of encouraging and/or justifying the homicides” of Tylee, Joshua and Daybell’s wife Tammy Daybell, who he is accused of murdering.
Prosecutors said that Daybell and Vallow had exchanged text messages saying they believed that Tammy was “in limbo” and “possessed by a spirit named Viola” before she was killed.
Vallow’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, claimed in divorce documents that Vallow believed she was reincarnated and was a god sent to lead people during the second coming of Christ in July 2020, and she told her husband that if he got in her way, she would kill him.
Charles Vallow was fatally shot by Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, in 2019. Cox died later that year.
Vallow’s third husband and Tylee’s father, Joseph Ryan, also expressed “real and serious concerns” in court documents in the midst of their divorce and custody battle.
The documents said Vallow was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after she told social workers that “death would be an option before giving Tylee to her father, Mr. Joseph Ryan, even for a visit.” Ryan died of an apparent heart attack in 2018.
Idaho does not allow for an “insanity defense,” but mandates that a defendant must be able to understand the charges they face.
If the court determines the defendant is not fit to stand trial, they will usually be treated for their mental health issues in jail or a mental health hospital or facility. The case will only go forward if assessors determine that the defendant has regained competency.