Lori Vallow, the Idaho woman charged with murder in the deaths of her two children, pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
Vallow entered the plea at her arraignment at the Fremont County Courthouse, about 40 miles north of Idaho Falls.
She answered softly, “Yes, I do,” when 7th District Judge Steven Boyce asked her whether she remembered signing her advisement rights, NBC affiliate KTVB of Boise reported.
Vallow remained silent when the charges were read and not guilty pleas were entered on her behalf by Boyce, KTVB reported.
Vallow was “restored to competency and fit to proceed” to stand trial this month, nearly a year after she was declared mentally unfit to stand trial on separate charges of concealment of evidence. The murder case at the time was stayed.
Idaho does not allow for an “insanity defense,” but it mandates that defendants must be able to understand the charges they face.
Vallow was transferred last week from the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to an eastern Idaho jail.
Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, were indicted last year on first-degree murder charges and other counts in the deaths of her children, Tylee and Joshua, who were 16 and 7 when they were last seen in September 2019. They also face charges related to the death of Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.
Vallow’s attorney, Jim Archibald, asked Boyce on Tuesday to refer to her as Mrs. Daybell, instead of Vallow, according to KTVB.
Joshua’s grandparents were in the courtroom and wiped away tears when charges related to his death were mentioned, KTVB reported.
Daybell has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of conspiracy. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Vallow is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of conspiracy. If she is convicted, she could face the death penalty or a life sentence, KTVB reported.
The children’s bodies were found on Daybell’s property in June 2020.
Multiple people close to Vallow have raised red flags about her mental state and bizarre doomsday beliefs.
Indictments said the couple “did endorse and espouse religious beliefs for the purpose of encouraging and/or justifying the homicides” of Tylee, Joshua and Tammy Daybell.
Tylee was last seen on Sept. 8, 2019. Police were able to find a photo from that day of Tylee on a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Vallow, Vallow’s brother Alex Cox and Joshua, according to authorities.
Joshua, who had special needs, was last seen alive on Sept. 23, 2019, at Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg. When police went to Vallow’s home to conduct a welfare check at the prompting of his grandmother that November, Joshua was nowhere to be found.
Vallow and Daybell had never reported the children missing, and they did not cooperate with investigators before they fled the state, Rexburg police said.
They were found in Hawaii in January 2020, at which point authorities gave Vallow until the end of the month to “physically produce her children.” She did not, and she was charged with two counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children.
In June 2020, Daybell was taken into custody after the remains of Vallow’s children were found on his property.
Daybell had been charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, a count of alteration or concealment of evidence and two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. He pleaded not guilty.
Vallow had been charged with misdemeanor resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court. She pleaded not guilty.
Daybell and Vallow married weeks after Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, was found dead in her home in 2019. She was 49.
Tammy Daybell’s death was initially ruled as natural, but it has since been classified as suspicious, and her remains were exhumed so an autopsy could be conducted. The autopsy ruled that her death was a homicide.
Vallow’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, also died in 2019. He was shot to death by Vallow’s brother Alex Cox during a confrontation in Chandler, Arizona. Cox claimed self-defense. The Maricopa County, Arizona, medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
Vallow and Cox were questioned by police but not charged.
Cox died in December 2019 of an apparent blood clot in his lung, The Associated Press reported. He was named by prosecutors Tuesday as a co-conspirator in the murders of Joshua, Tylee and Tammy Daybell.
Before Charles Vallow died, he filed for divorce, claiming in documents that his wife believed she was reincarnated and was a god sent to lead people during the second coming of Jesus in July 2020 and that she told him that if he got in her way, she would kill him.
Vallow’s third husband, Joseph Ryan, Tylee’s father, also expressed “real and serious concerns” in court documents during 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. An online obituary said he was 59.