‘Cult Mom’ Trial: Lori and Chad Said Demons Need to Be ‘Bound or Burned’

Tylee was found burned, while J.J.’s arms were wrapped in duct tape

On Friday, Alex Cox’s widow testified that Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell’s teachings included burning and binding those deemed impure or corrupted.

Zulema Pastenes, who married Cox two weeks before he died in 2019, said that Daybell and Vallow Daybell performed “casting” sessions to exorcise an evil spirit from someone. Pastenes said that on multiple instances, Charles Vallow, Vallow Daybell’s fourth husband, needed a casting as he was possessed by “dark” spirits, according to KJZZ.

The East Idaho News reported that Daybell and Vallow Daybell taught that once a demon is unconscious, there is a two-minute window for another demon to possess them. To stop this, water or fire could be used to destroy the body. The body could also be bound.

According to prior testimony from Vallow Daybell’s former friend Melanie Gibb, Vallow Daybell described those who are “dark” as “zombies.” Vallow Daybell allegedly described her son and daughter, J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan, 16, as zombies.

Prosecutor Rachel Smith questions Zulema Pastenes on April 4, 2023/Lisa Cheney

Pastenes testified that JJ, who was on the autism spectrum, had a service dog that Vallow Daybell believed the demons entered because the dog was easier to control. She sold the dog after Charles Vallow was killed, Pastenes said.

Pastenes testified that Vallow Daybell also said that Daybell’s wife, Tammy, was possessed by a demon named Viola and that she needed her help to get the demon out of her. Vallow Daybell and Daybell were reportedly among a group of people who performed a casting on Tammy the same day she was shot at.

Under cross examination, Pastenes said that she had not believed the “casting” sessions were evil at the time but that view has changed.

“Two children are dead. A mother of five died. Yes I would consider that evil,” she said.

Pastenes’s husband, Cox, allegedly shot and killed Charles Vallow in Arizona in 2019, and Vallow Daybell is charged with plotting the fatal shooting. Cox died later that year, reportedly of “natural” causes.

Seven-year-old J.J., along with Vallow Daybell’s daughter, Tylee Ryan, 16, were found buried on Chad’s property in Rexburg, Idaho, in 2020 nine months after they vanished. Prosecutors said Ryan was dismembered and burned and her remains were located near a burn pit, while J.J. was in a plastic bag that was wrapped in plastic. His face, arms, wrists, and feet were wrapped with duct tape.

There will be no court session on Monday; Pastenes will return to the stand Tuesday morning.

The trial continues.

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[Featured image: Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell/Rexburg Police Department]