Friend describes why Lori Vallow labeled children, other as ‘zombies’

A friend of Lori Vallow testified in court on Thursday about Vallow's obsession with zombies and concerning fringe religious beliefs.
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 7:48 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 13, 2023 at 7:56 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell described those who stood in their way and questioned their beliefs as zombies, according to one of Vallow’s closest friends.

Melanie Gibb testified in a Boise, Idaho courtroom Thursday about Vallow and Daybell’s system for labeling people. Those who received the zombie label included Vallow’s children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, Vallow’s former husband, Charles and Chad Daybell’s former wife, Tammy. All of them were murdered, according to police. “So the pattern was as soon as they started questioning her, or just thought something’s suspicious going on, all of a sudden that person became dark or a zombie,” said Gibb.

Gibb also testified that Vallow and Daybell asked her to lie to police and say that JJ was staying with her in Arizona when authorities were just starting to look for him. Prosecutors played a recording Gibb made in November or December of 2019 when she confronted Vallow on the phone about why she asked Gibb to lie about JJ’s whereabouts.

“Where is he? I’ve been asking, where is he?” said Gibb. “I could tell everything — where JJ is right now. And that would not be good for JJ. I’m sorry that you don’t want me to protect my children, but I would never ask you to not protect your children,” said Vallow.

At the time, Vallow had told Gibb that she was protecting JJ from people who wanted to hurt him, including Kay Woodcock, Charles Vallow’s sister and JJ’s grandmother.

In reality, JJ and his sister Tylee Ryan had been dead since September of that year, according to police. Charles was shot and killed in Chandler in July 2019, and Tammy Daybell died of asphyxiation in October 2019. Vallow is charged in all of their deaths, although police believe her brother, Alex Cox, carried out the murders of Charles, JJ and Tylee. Prosecutors believe Cox murdered the three at Lori’s command.