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IDAHO FALLS — Gerry Vallow wasn't sure what to say when his 9-year-old granddaughter asked, "What happened to Uncle Charles?"
It was another reminder that his older brother was gone – shot and killed in a Chandler, Arizona, home two years ago this month.
"I just lost it. And anytime anyone talks about it, I kind of lose it. It's an emotional thing, and we're supposed to be macho guys, but this is beyond that," Gerry Vallow tells EastIdahoNews.com during a Zoom interview with his wife, Melanie Vallow, from their Texas home.
Gerry has not spoken publicly about his brother's death or the criminal cases involving Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell. Both are facing multiple charges in Idaho for the deaths of Lori's children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan, and Chad's wife, Tammy Daybell. A grand jury in Arizona indicted Lori on Thursday for conspiracy to commit the murder of Charles Vallow. Her brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Charles. Cox died — of natural causes — five months later in December 2019.
"I would just like to sit down and look Lori in the eyes and talk to her. I really would. I'd like to ask her a couple of questions," Gerry says. "I would tell her she is not some reincarnated deity. She's not some god on earth that's going to lead people to the end of the world when Jesus comes."
Charles was two years older than Gerry, and the two brothers grew up playing baseball together. Charles was funny, positive and a "pleasure to be around," according to Gerry and Melanie. They admit he wasn't perfect, but he was a good guy who was "crazy in love" with Lori.
Melanie and Gerry knew Lori and Charles were experiencing some marital problems but said Charles was determined to make things work. About a month before he was killed, he and JJ visited Melanie, who was recovering from a serious illness.
"Charles traveled a lot to Houston where we live, and he stayed with us, so I had a lot of time with him," Melanie recalls. "This has been very difficult for me because he and I got along very, very well. He said Lori was going to move to Houston and try to work it out. I asked him if he thought it was a good idea, and he said, 'I gotta make it work.' He loved her."
Gerry learned Charles was dead when his sister, Kay Woodcock, phoned him and another brother on a conference call. He said he couldn't comprehend the news and did not want to talk about it with anyone.
Three or four months ago, as he was sitting on the back porch thinking about the chain of events, he says he lost it.
"It just hit me. I'm not a mad guy or angry, but I went into a rage. An anger got to me that I didn't understand. I've never felt that mad before," he says. "I called a friend, and she told me I have to talk about it. I always hold things in, but she said to let people hear about my brother and start talking about it."
Melanie and Gerry have followed the events of the past two years – from Lori and Chad fleeing to Hawaii, their arrests, the discovery of JJ and Tylee's bodies in Chad's backyard, murder charges and now a court decision that Lori is incompetent for trial.
When asked for his reaction to the competency ruling, Gerry is blunt.
"She ain't crazy. That (expletive) knew exactly what she was doing. And that's the truth," he says.
Melanie adds, "I'm hoping she becomes competent really soon. I'm going to let the Lord handle that. I'd rather not judge her competency even though I know full well she knew what she was doing."
Melanie says she prays for Lori every night, and despite being a death penalty advocate, she and Gerry hope Lori and Chad spend the rest of their lives in prison as death "is an easy way out." Idaho prosecutors have not yet indicated if they plan to pursue the death penalty.
The Vallows know "justice takes time" and are being patient with the court system. They say they don't hate Lori, and regardless of how the complicated criminal cases are resolved, they trust in a higher power.
"The creator of the universe will judge her. Not me. That gives me comfort because I'm not a judge," Gerry says. "I don't hate. I don't allow that emotion in my heart. In a way, I feel sorry for her."