Police: Discovery may have led to murder in Daybell case

Chad and Lori Daybell are pictured after they were served with two search warrants Jan. 26, 2020. Detectives suspect Charles Vallow's discovery of his wife Lori Vallow's affair with Chad Daybell led to his murder. (Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews)



Estimated read time: 6-7 minutes

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Detectives suspect Charles Vallow's discovery of his wife Lori Vallow's affair with Chad Daybell led to his murder.

On Wednesday, the Chandler Police Department released its entire investigation, albeit redacted, in the death of Charles Vallow.

In their investigation detectives determined, "the catalyst which led to the murder of Charles Vallow was a fictitious email that Charles discovered on his computer."

The investigation includes more than 1,100 pages of police reports, more than a dozen interviews and body camera footage.

The email allegedly exposed Lori Vallow's affair with Chad Daybell. Detectives believe Charles Vallow then confronted Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow and threatened to expose them.

On the same day Charles Vallow discovered the infidelity, June 29, 2019, detectives say he also sent an email to Tammy Daybell.

"Did you think that Chad and Lori had done something to Tammy?" detectives asked Zulema Pastenes, a member of Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow's inner circle, in an April 29, 2021, interview at the Chandler, Arizona Police Department.

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow were married about two weeks after the Oct. 19, 2019, death of Chad Daybell's wife, Tammy Daybell.

Detectives were already investigating the death of Charles Vallow, Lori Vallow's husband, but it wasn't until Tammy Daybell's body was exhumed in December of the same year that Pastenes told detectives she also became suspicious.

"Lori and Chad had called that (the day Tammy's body was exhumed) day and they were the ones that told us that they were exhuming her body," Pastenes said to detectives.

Zulema Pastenes married Alex Cox in November of 2019. Alex Cox is Lori Vallow's brother.

Shortly before Tammy Daybell's untimely death, Zulema told detectives, Chad Daybell had a vision that Tammy Daybell would die.

"Tammy was supposed to die on her trip to Utah. She was supposed to, he had seen it in a vision that she was going to die in a car accident on the way there or something like that," Pastenes told detectives.

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But when Tammy didn't die as predicted, Chad then claimed Tammy had become a zombie, according to Pastenes.

"They were saying she actually did pass away but she was taken over by an evil spirit and she had become a zombie," Pastenes said.

Pastenes also told detectives she questioned Alex Cox about his involvement in the death of Tammy Daybell.

"In the back of my mind, here I am thinking 'OK, they said the same thing about Charles, right?' and then Charles ended up being shot," Pastenes said, "I'm thinking OK, you guys aren't trying to say you are going to do something physically to people who are turning into zombies, according to them."

Pastenes told detectives Alex Cox denied being involved in Tammy Daybell's death. When Pastenes pressed him for more she said he responded "I think I'm being their fall guy."

When Pastenes pressed him again, she told detectives Alex Cox said, "Either I am a man of God or I am not."

Pastenes felt the answer meant, "they were telling him to do certain things and he in his mind was either following what God was telling me or I am not."

Charles Vallow's Murder

According to detectives, Charles Vallow discovered Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow's infidelity just 12 days before he was shot and killed by Alex Cox.

The same day Charles Vallow discovered the infidelity, detectives discovered he confronted Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell. It appears Charles Vallow sent Chad Daybell an email telling him to come clean or he would "expose them."

According to detectives, Charles Vallow also told Chad Daybell he was aware of dance videos Lori had sent him and this was not appropriate.

In confronting Lori Vallow, detectives say, Charles Vallow told her he had obtained Tammy Daybell's email address and cell number. He threatened to contact Tammy Daybell if Lori Vallow didn't tell him what was going on.

Then detectives discovered another email Charles Vallow wrote to Tammy Daybell saying, in part, "I have some disturbing information regarding your husband and my wife."

Police: Discovery may have led to murder in Daybell case
Photo: KSL-TV

Charles Vallow wrote he would wait for Tammy Daybell's reply before sending her "the evidence."

The email read:

"Tammy my name is Charles Vallow. I have some vital and disturbing information regarding your husband and my wife, Lori. This is your work email so I'll wait to send you the 'evidence' that is very disturbing. You may call or email me from the address where you can receive the information. I apologize to be the one sending this but something has to be done. I feel it's best if I shed some light on the 'issue.' Regards Charles Vallow."

On July 1, Charles Vallow also sent Lori Vallow a text message stating he had plans of going to Idaho to meet with Tammy Daybell.

Detectives said Lori responded, "She won't see you. She is my friend. She won't listen to you. Go ahead. You are ridiculous! R u coming to jj for the 4th or not?"

Police: Discovery may have led to murder in Daybell case
Photo: KSL-TV

It is unclear if Charles Vallow and Tammy Daybell ever met in person or if Tammy Daybell received his e-mail.

A grand jury in Fremont County, Idaho, indicted Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell in Tammy Daybell's murder. Her cause of death and autopsy results remain under lock and key in that investigation.

Furthermore, detectives discovered Charles Vallow had plans to confront Lori Vallow on the day he was murdered.

According to the police reports, Lori Vallow's other brother, Adam Cox, had become a trusted confidante of Charles Vallow. Adam Cox shared Charles Vallow's concerns about Lori Vallow's radical religious beliefs and recent affair.

Charles Vallow and Adam Cox both flew into town with plans for an intervention.

However, detectives suspect, Lori Vallow got wind of the plans and sabotaged the intervention.

Adam Cox told detectives he suspected Lori Vallow convinced her brother Alex Cox to help her murder Charles Vallow for fear of being exposed.

According to text messages recovered by Chandler police, Charles Vallow texted Adam Cox after arriving to Lori Vallow's home informing him Alex Cox was at the home. Adam Cox said he was surprised to learn Alex Cox was staying at Lori Vallow's house.

"My theory is that Lori and Alex got together and Lori convinced Alex that Charles is not Charles anymore, that he is a guy named Ned, that he shot him. I don't even think there was a fight," Adam Cox told police.


This is my brother and sister and I love them with all my heart. But I'm telling you there is something wrong with Lori and Alex and this belief they have.

–Adam Cox statement to detectives


According to Adam Cox, none of his family members told him about the shooting and he found out through the news after doing a Google search. He was concerned Charles Vallow was not responding to his text messages.

"None of my family has talked to me because supposedly I was on Charles' side to get Lori help," Adam Cox told detectives.

Adam Cox also said his mother kicked him out of her house a few days after the shooting for "siding with Charles."

"My mom told me on Friday when I was at their house she said, 'I know that you and Charles were texting and emailing. I saw every text and every email that you were trying to get Lori in trouble at the church.'" Adam Cox told police.

Adam Cox told also told police he did not believe Tylee Ryan was outside the house at the time of the shooting and didn't witness it.

"This is my brother and sister and I love them with all my heart but I'm telling you there is something wrong with Lori and Alex and this belief they have," Adam Cox told detectives.

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Garna Mejia

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