Tylee & JJ’s Cause of Death: How Did Lori Vallow’s Children Die?

JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan

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Tylee Ryan and Joshua “JJ” Vallow died grisly deaths, and police allege their mother, Lori Vallow, was behind the murders. Some details of their last moments and autopsy have not been made public as Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, await trial in their death penalty case. But court documents reveal the allegations of law enforcement in how Vallow killed her children.

Tylee and JJ were last seen in September 2019, and their bodies were found June 9, 2020, in Rexburg, Idaho, on Daybell’s property, the affidavit of probable cause filed in Daybell’s case says. Read the court documents in full here.

The children were last seen together on a trip to Yellowstone National Park with their mom and uncle, Alex Cox, the affidavit says.

Here’s what you need to know:

JJ’s Body Was Found Duct Taped in a Garbage Bag & Tylee’s Body Was Found Dismembered & Burned

Vallow told her friend, Melanie Gibb, that she believed her children had become “zombies,” according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case. Vallow believed that being a “zombie” meant their spirits had left their bodies, and they had become “dark spirits.” The “death of the physical body is seen as the mechanism by which the body’s original spirit can be released,” the affidavit said, citing Vallow’s beliefs.

FBI agents used text message exchanges between Daybell and Vallow to determine locations on his property to search, and executed search warrants June 9, 2020, according to court documents. While they were searching the property, they found a round object covered in black plastic and noticed a strong odor. Beneath the black plastic was a layer of white plastic.

“An incision was made into the white layer of plastic exposing what appeared to be human remains, the crown of a head covered in light brown hair,” agents wrote.

The remains were later determined to be the body of JJ Vallow, court documents said.

In another part of the property, in a pet cemetery, investigators found charred, human remains, that were later determined to be the dismembered body of Tylee, investigators wrote.

Vallow Sent a Text to Chad Saying She Shot a Raccoon on Their Property & Buried It in the Pet Cemetery

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow exchanged text messages September 9, 2019, which law enforcement quoted in the affidavit of probable cause filed in Daybell’s case. That was the day after Ryan was last seen alive, police said. Read the court document in full here.

The texts said:

Chad to Tammy at 11:53 a.m.: Well, I’ve had an interesting morning! I felt I should burn all of the limb debris by the fire pit before it got too soaked by the coming storms. While I did so, I spotted a big raccoon along the fence. I hurried and got my gun, and he was still walking along. I got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery. Fun times!

Chad to Tammy at 11:56 a.m.: Gonna shower now and then go write for a while at BYU. Love you!

Tammy to Chad at 2:47 p.m.: Good for you!

FBI agents elaborated on why those text seemed suspicious. The affidavit said:

I found the text suspicious because raccoons are normally nocturnal animals and are not regularly out during the day. It should be noted that from interviewing neighbors of Chad Daybell, we are aware that in mid-July of 2019, Garth Daybell, Chad’s son, told their neighbors that Chad had shot a raccoon out of a tree on their property during the day. Garth told (a neighbor) about the raccoon in response to a question from (a neighbor) about hearing a gunshot. (Neighbors) informed me that the fire pit in the back of the Daybell property was hardly ever used until the last few months.

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