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Mother of children who were found dead is deemed competent to stand trial

Lori Vallow Hawaii court appearance
Posted at 11:01 AM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 10:37:03-04

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho — After nearly 10 months in a mental health facility, Lori Vallow Daybell has been found fit to stand trial and will be arraigned on conspiracy to commit murder charges next week.

Nearly two years ago, after months of searching, investigators found the remains of her children JJ Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, buried in Chad Daybell's backyard.

The original determination that Lori Vallow Daybell was not competent to stand trial was made following a psychological assessment performed by a licensed clinical psychologist. The assessment was ordered March 8, 2021.

Some doubted whether the mother was truly incompetent to stand trial.

"I think that Lori has played her games to where now she can't play them anymore," said Larry Woodcock, the grandfather of JJ Vallow. "We will be (at her next hearing), and I will be sitting as close behind her as I can get, because she's going to look at me this time.... My grandson is in a freezer vault, and Tylee as well. We want some closure."

Since entering the state hospital on June 8, Lori Vallow Daybell's time in the care of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was extended multiple times.

An arraignment for Lori Vallow Daybell will be held April 19 at 1 p.m. at the Fremont County Courthouse. She is scheduled to be transported from the state hospital to the Madison County Jail.

Lori Vallow Daybell will also be charged with conspiracy to commit murder for her husband, Charles Vallow, and conspiracy to commit murder for her current husband's former wife, Tammy Daybell.

Her husband Chad Daybell is also charged in connection with the deaths of the children and his former wife. Both Daybells are set to be tried together starting in January 2023 in Ada County.

Luke Malek, a former Idaho prosecutor not affiliated with the case, said it's entirely possible for the trial to be delayed again, depending on Lori Vallow Daybell's mental state.

"Theres always a chance, when somebody's found not competent to stand trial, that may be a state that lasts their entire lifetime," Malek said. "There's a lot of experts that weigh in on this, and the judge looks at a lot of evidence to make that determination."

This story was first reported by Jeff Tavss at KSTU in Salt Lake City.