Lori Vallow’s best friend is speaking out for the first time, revealing how the ‘cult’ mom plotted to convince police that her children weren’t missing two months after they were last seen.
Melanie Gibb sat down for an interview with journalist Nate Eaton last week after spending five months ‘in hiding’ following an unsealed arrest warrant alleged that Lori had asked her to lie about her kids’ whereabouts.
Lori is currently behind bars on charges of child neglect and desertion in connection with the disappearance of her daughter Tylee Ryan, 17, and her son Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, who turned eight on Monday.
In the second portion of Gibb’s three-part interview aired Wednesday, she describes how both Lori and her husband Chad Daybell called her on the day the children were reported missing and asked for her help.
Lori Vallow’s best friend Melanie Gibb has revealed how the ‘cult mom’ enlisted her help in convincing police that her children weren’t missing two months after they were last seen
Gibb met Lori (above together) in October 2018 through the Church of Latter-day Saints
Gibb said she learned Lori’s children, Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, were missing on the same day police did, November 26. The kids were last seen in Idaho in September
Lori married Chad Daybell last November – two months after Tylee and JJ disappeared. Gibb claims that both Lori and Chad asked her to lie to police about where the kids were
Gibb said she learned JJ and Tylee were missing on the same day police did, November 26.
She was in Utah for the Thanksgiving holiday when Chad called her out of the blue and sounded ‘scared and nervous’.
‘I still get emotional about it. He said: “Melanie, It’s Chad. When the police call, don’t pick up the phone,”‘ Gibb said.
‘My heart just dropped. I was so confused. … He said: “Yeah, the police are at Lori’s house checking on JJ.”‘
Tylee was last seen on September 8 when she visited Yellowstone National Park with her family (pictured). JJ was last seen two weeks later on September 24
Gibb had been under the impression that JJ was staying with his grandmother, but Chad said that wasn’t the case.
‘My heart dropped deeper, and I just knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know. I didn’t understand,’ she said.
Gibb said Lori contacted her soon after and asked her to tell police that she was driving JJ to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with her.
‘She had made it sound like we had arranged it or something … she was going to come down there later and pick him up. It was a foreign idea. … I can’t even tell you how uncomfortable (it was),’ Gibb said.
Then Lori made an even more bizarre request.
‘She said: “I told the police that you were at Frozen 2 with JJ. Get your cell phone out and take a picture of random kids running around to make it look like you (have) him with you,”‘ Gibb claimed.
She said that she refused to comply with Lori’s request and had a gut feeling that ‘something was terribly wrong’.
‘I wanted to believe her. I didn’t want to think that she would do anything like that. I really, really wanted to believe her,’ Gibb said.
Gibb said she spoke with police the same day, but did not specify what she told them.
Lori is currently behind bars on charges of child neglect and desertion in connection with the children’s disappearance. She is pictured in court on May 1
Gibb first became concerned about JJ two months earlier she visited the family in Idaho and Lori told her she believed the boy was a zombie.
‘She said that he had turned into a zombie the day before I got there, and she was pointing out behaviors of his,’ she said.
‘She was trying to create uncertainty in me about what I saw. I was looking at him and thought, “I don’t know. He looks just like JJ to me.”‘
Timeline of JJ and Tylee’s disappearance
July 11 2019: Lori Vallow’s husband, Charles Vallow, is killed by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona
August: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho
September 23: The last time JJ was seen at his school in Idaho
October 19: Chad Daybell’s wife Tammy dies at their Idaho home
October 25: A friend of Tylee receives a text from her phone
November 5: Lori and Chad marry
November 26: Out-of-state relatives ask Idaho police to perform a welfare check on JJ. Lori and Chad claim he is in Arizona with relatives. Police also learn Tylee has not been seen since September, either
November 27: Police execute a search warrant at Lori and Chad’s home, discovering the couple have fled Idaho
December 11: Tammy Daybell’s body is exhumed from the Utah cemetery
December 12: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, believed to have died in Arizona
December 21: Police issue a press release about JJ and Tylee, revealing they believe their disappearance is linked to Tammy’s death
December 24: Lori and Chad issue a statement through an attorney saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing ‘allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor’
December 30: Police accuse Lori and Chad of lying to investigators and say they believe the couple know where the kids are or what happened to them
January 26 2020: Lori and Chad are seen for the first time in months as police serve two search warrants in Kaua’i
January 30 Lori misses court deadline to produce the children to authorities
February 20: Lori is arrested in Kauai
Gibb’s visit came just days before JJ was last seen at school on September 24.
By that point, Tylee had already been missing for almost two weeks. The 17-year-old was last seen at Yellowstone National Park with Lori, Cox and JJ on September 8.
Gibb said Lori told her Tylee was studying at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus.
‘I knew that Tylee had her GED, which she got when she was 16 or 17, [but] there were definitely question marks,’ Gibb said.
‘It didn’t feel real. It didn’t feel like the truth. I didn’t know what to say about it. I wouldn’t assume that she had done something to her. It was unusual.’
Gibb met Lori and Chad separately several years ago, and witnessed the moment the pair met at a religious conference where Chad, a self-published Doomsday author, was speaking about his beliefs, visions and the end of the world.
She knows their relationship perhaps better than anyone, giving her a unique insight into the complicated case that gripped the nation as JJ and Tylee’s disappearance was linked to at least three mysterious deaths of family members, including both of Lori and Chad’s previous spouses.
Lori’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, was shot dead by her brother Alex Cox last July in Arizona.
Police initially ruled that Cox acted in self-defense but reopened the investigation after JJ and Tylee went missing.
Lori moved the children up to Idaho, where Chad lived with his wife Tammy Daybell, a few weeks after Charles’ death.
Tammy died aged 49 in October. Her death was initially ruled as natural but was reclassified as suspicious following the children’s disappearance.
Cox died in December while police were investigating his involvement in Charles’ death. A medical examiner determined earlier this month that he died of natural causes while he had the overdose drug Narcan in his system.
The three deaths came to light late last year when police asked for the public’s help in finding Tylee and JJ.
In her interview with Eaton, Gibb said fear motivated her to go into hiding back when the case began making headlines.
‘When you realize the people that you know and you’re close to and love have been involved in something that has to do with people dying, you start to think: ‘Oh my gosh, are they going to come after me?” Gibb said.
‘Everything closes in, and you start to think about your own safety … [and] what really happened, and could this really be true?’
Nearly nine months after the children vanished, Gibb decided to come forward on behalf of the ‘innocent victims’ affected by Lori and Chad’s actions.
‘I think it’s fair to Charles and JJ and Tammy and Tylee that somebody is standing up for what happened to them. I do care for them and the families that are involved,’ Gibb said.
‘I decided that the truth was more important than what I wanted. My goal is to speak to the things that have gone on and to those who have believed Chad and Lori’s story.’
Police began searching for JJ and Tylee in November after concerned relatives requested a welfare check at Lori’s home in Idaho
Four people with links to Lori Vallow have suffered untimely deaths(top in court on March 6). Those deaths are: Lori’s brother Alex Cox (left), her new husband Chad Daybell’s previous wife Tammy Daybell (second left), her fourth husband Charles Vallow (center), her third husband Joseph Ryan (second right). Her sister Stacey Cox Cope (right) died in 1998. It’s not clear what the cause of Cope’s death was
Gibb said regularly speaks with investigators to this day but does not have an attorney because she says she doesn’t need one as she is telling the truth and: ‘God is on my side.’
She first met Chad a few years ago at a religious conference in northern Utah, where he was a guest speaker.
She was already familiar with the books Chad had self-published, many of them about his dreams, near-death experiences and the end of times.
‘I wanted to meet him because I thought his dreams were interesting, and when I met him, I thought he was a really nice guy,’ Gibb said.
She met Lori later, in October 2018, while teaching a class at her Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Gilbert, Arizona.
‘[Lori] was very excited to hear the things I was teaching, so when I went out to the hallway, she came up to me and introduced herself,’ Gibb recalled.
‘She told me about a lot of personal experiences she had that were spiritual in nature, and we just hit it off.’
Gibb and Lori became friends instantly, bonding over everything from religion to motherhood.
A few weeks later, they traveled together to St George, Utah, for a conference where Chad was speaking and selling his books.
Gibb described watching Lori approach Chad and struck up a conversation.
She said Chad told Lori that they had met in a previous life and had been married multiple times in prior existences.
‘They started talking about these different beliefs that are not something you learn in church,’ Gibb said, adding that many of the things they discussed were deeply personal and private.
Lori and Chad then exchanged phone numbers and began talking on a daily basis.
Gibb said Lori was aware that Chad was married, but his wife Tammy and their five children were not at the conference.
Weeks later when Chad visited Arizona for another event, Lori invited him, Gibb and others to stay at her home while her then-husband, Charles, was out of town.
Gibb said Chad and Lori would frequently go out on walks and jogs together, and they talked about things that were ‘so personal, it’s so hard to share with the world’.
‘He was teaching us about some of his understandings about multiple lives and things of that nature,’ Gibb said.
‘It was definitely different. The idea was definitely a new concept. Did I 100 percent believe any of it, ever? No, not 100 percent, no.
‘When you get introduced to something, you kind of let it marinate. I just listened to them talk about it.’
Gibb said Chad’s teachings did not represent the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
‘It’s not doctrine that comes from Jesus Christ – it comes from the Adversary [devil],’ she said.
She noted how he always met one-on-one with people rather than holding official gatherings or group meetings to discuss his concepts.
‘A lot of people have different ideas. ‘Is this a cult? Is this not a cult?’ I would just say from the beginning, it felt like he was talking to individuals,’ Gibb said.
Chad’s wife Tammy Daybell (pictured together) was found dead under suspicious circumstances at their home in Idaho in October
Lori’s fourth husband Charles Vallow (pictured together) was shot dead by her brother, Alex Cox, in July 2019
Lori and Chad’s bond intensified following the Arizona event. Gibb said they both had a separate phone that they used just for each other.
Gibb claimed that Lori became increasingly obsessed with Chad’s ‘dangerous teachings’ the more they spoke.
The couple believed they were meant to lead the 144,000 chosen people in preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Gibb admitted that she found their beliefs to be ‘little unusual’, but they made her feel special by telling her she was one of the chosen and insisting that they’d known each other in previous lives.
‘When [Lori] taught me, she was always leading me to believe they were true, and there would be times I would say: ‘Do you think that’s a good idea?’ I didn’t voice much opposition to it, but just more listened,’ Gibb said.
She said she always had a ‘little bit of doubt’ about what Chad was teaching, and Lori did as well.
‘Two to three times, [Lori] said to me: ‘If Chad is Satan, he sure is a good one,” Gibb said. ‘That tends to lead me to believe she wasn’t 100 percent convinced either.’
Gibb first met Chad a few years ago at a religious conference in northern Utah, where he was a guest speaker
At one point, Gibb suggested to Lori that she and Chad divorce their spouses so they could be together.
Lori told her they were ‘not allowed to’ do that because of information they were receiving ‘from the other side of the veil’.
Gibb said that she never had a problem with Lori’s husband at the time, but knew their marriage was on the rocks.
Describing the first time she met Charles, at a barbecue at the Vallows’ home, she said: ‘He seemed like a nice guy – happy to see us, happy to meet us. He was talking a little bit about his conversion to the church, and he seemed to be pretty excited about it.’
She said she saw Lori and Charles argue on many occasions, and Lori had confided in her about their marital problems.
‘He was trying to do things to help her and please her, and she seemed like she was struggling to be happy by that,’ Gibb said.
‘She seemed a little frustrated with him. They had something going on that I didn’t quite understand.’
Gibb later met Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, and her niece, Melani Boudreaux (now Pawlowski), at the Vallows’ home.
‘It was fun and enjoyable,’ she said of the time she spent with the group.
‘Alex was fun. He was a comedian kind of guy. We talked about all kinds of stuff – sometimes spiritual stuff, sometimes nonspiritual stuff. In the beginning, it was just more casual.
‘[Melani] was fun. I really love Melani. She seemed that she had a lot of strife going on in her life, and she was really worried about her family.’
Gibb said the group didn’t get together often but remained close through Chad’s teachings.
She said Lori eventually stopped going to regular LDS church services but would still visit the temple – a separate building reserved for rituals – as often as she could with Chad.
And one day, Lori told Gibb she was sealed to Chad.
Latter-day Saints believe that relationships continue after death if a husband and wife are sealed in the temple by an officiant. People cannot be sealed to a second spouse if they are already legally married to a living person.
‘[Lori said] they felt they were sealed by those on the other side of the veil that had the authority to do that,’ Gibb said.
‘She said it was okay they did this because they had been married so many times before, that their [current] spouses would understand someday.’
Lori and Chad are seen gleefully celebrating their wedding in Kauai weeks after her children vanished and Chad’s previous wife died
Gibb mentioned several other portions of Chad’s teachings that alarmed her, including when he created a spiritual ‘portal’ in Lori’s closet.
‘A portal is a spot where he said a prayer or something to create the portal. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know. [But] it was a way for them to interact spiritually,’ Gibb explained.
‘I thought it was different. I thought: ‘How do you do that?’ It was pretty extreme, but to me, everything was new.’
Gibb also described an extensive chart Chad made that ranked people based on their spiritual level.
It was four pages and included Biblical apostles, the current Latter-day Saint 12 apostles, family members, friends and celebrities.
The chart detailed how many lives each person had lives, whether they were ‘dark’ or ‘light’ spirits, their previous names and other unusual information.
It stated that Lori was on her 21st life, Chad was on his 31st, and both had lived five lives on this earth. Chad was identified as a Holy Ghost.
Gibb said that Lori and Chad only seemed to share their extreme beliefs with the people close to them.
In hindsight, she thinks they kept them private to protect their membership in the church.
‘When you go in the temple, there are certain questions they ask you to see if your belief systems are consistent with the doctrine,’ Gibb said.
‘They were inconsistent, so that’s the reason they’re going to be secretive about it.’
Source: dailymail US