Laurie Wallow’s surviving son, Colby Ryan, testifies in Idaho murder trial – Rolling Stone

After days of testimony from acquaintances about Lori Wallow’s fringe religious beliefs, seen as a motivating factor in the alleged plot with husband Chad Deibel to kill her children Tylee Ryan and JJ Wallow, jurors in Idaho heard testimony from her surviving adult son, Colby Ryan.

“Oh, my dear,” said Wallow, 49, as Ryan, 27, entered Boise’s courtroom. According to East Idaho News reporter Nate Eaton, mostly Ryan avoid contact with eyes with his mother during his appearance on the witness stand, even as she glared at him.

Wallow has pleaded not guilty to murder, conspiracy to commit murder and grand larceny charges related to the deaths of her other two children (Tily was 16, while JJ was seven). The disturbing case began garnering attention after the two were reported missing in late 2019, with law enforcement eventually finding their remains on Daybell’s property in Rexburg, Idaho, the following June. Prosecutors alleged that Wallow and Deibel, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, developed strange and extreme religious concepts while having an intimate relationship, then carried out a large-scale plot to kill their husbands and children of Wallow, all of whom they thought were “zombies” possessed by evil spirits. (Dable was reportedly excommunicated from the Church in 2019; Wallow’s current relationship is unclear.)

Ryan cried when asked to identify his younger siblings (Ryan was legally adopted by Tylee’s father, Joseph Ryan, now deceased, while JJ was adopted by Lori and her fourth husband, Charles Wallow, also deceased) . He then told the court that in 2019 his mother had told him that Charles, his stepfather, had died of a heart attack – in fact he had been shot by Laurie’s brother, Alex Cox, who later died of natural death.

Ryan went on to testify that police contacted him in November 2019 seeking the whereabouts of Tylee and JJ. His text message exchanges with Tiley were terminated at the time, he recalled, “in a different language than Tiley speaks and writes.” He didn’t think he was communicating with his sister. Ryan said he hasn’t been able to get answers from his mother about the children, where she is and the circumstances of her sudden remarriage to Chad Dable.

Under cross-examination, Ryan revealed that his mother never tried to explain her belief that a person could be possessed by an evil spirit that turned them “dark” or into “zombies”. (Vallow’s ex-girlfriend Melanie Gibb testified last week that she called Tylee, JJ and Charles Vallow “zombies.”) Although the defense team did not mention how Ryan was accused of rape by his estranged wife in September — the criminal charges the questions were dropped a week later – they did try to ask about a history of depression and suicidal thoughts. Judge Stephen Boyce dissented on that question.

Asked by defense attorney Jim Archibald if he loved his mother, Ryan said yes. When asked if she loved him, he replied, “I think so.”

But the most dramatic part of Ryan’s court appearance today came when jurors heard an emotional exchange between him and Wallow. She was already in jail and the bodies of JJ and Tylee were found buried on the Dable property.

“You think you can hide from me?” Ryan asks her in the recording. Wallow says he’s the one who didn’t want to talk to her. “Probably because you killed my siblings,” Ryan replies.

“I’ve prayed for you in my worst moments, I’ve prayed for my brothers and sisters that you swore were fine,” Ryan tells Wallow. “I thought I could trust you. I thought you were a completely different person. Vallow says, “You’ve known me your whole life.” Ryan counters, “I don’t know a mother killer.”

In the conversation, Ryan accuses Wallow of repeatedly lying to him and says she plays the victim despite what he knows about her life completely changes when she meets Chad Dable, an author of apocalyptic Mormon literature who is fascinated by near-death experiences and told Wallow they were married in a past life. (Deibel was tried separately for the murders and also pleaded not guilty.)

“I know they’re gone and you knew my little sister was texting me on the phone who’s not even alive,” Ryan says. “My little brother, who is the cutest little kid ever…you tell me it’s God’s will, my whole family, including my stepfather, to be dead – after all you’ve tried to tell me, you can tell me right now that Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, is on your side?” Vallow says he can.

Ryan then yells at Wallow to explain how what happened to JJ and Tylee can be done in the name of Jesus. Vallow replies that no one understands, but her dead children “love me and are well and know the truth and we are the only people who know it.”

“My own mother, my brothers and sisters, my whole family, my father — everyone’s gone except my mother, and you’re in jail because of it,” Ryan tells her. “I personally prayed to Heavenly Father and asked him to help me get through this. Why are you following Chad down the rabbit hole? Why would you follow someone who is no good?” He later adds, “I pray every day, no matter how angry I am with you, no matter how much I want to punch your husband in the face with a shovel, I pray for you, please all about him. You ripped out my heart, you ripped out everyone’s heart.”

Besides hearing Vallow and Daybell’s strange ideas about possession and “casting,” a supposed exorcism process, the jury in this trial has already seen graphic autopsy photos of Tylee and JJ’s remains. Wallow asked to be released from court that day, with her lawyers arguing the evidence and testimony was too emotional, but Judge Boyce denied the request. Alex Cox’s widow, Zulema Pastenes, later testified that in the spiritual belief system taught by Wallow and Deibel, evil spirits could be kept out of the body by binding or fire. JJ was found bound with duct tape while Tylee’s body was partially burned.

This is the third week of the trial against Vallow, which is expected to last about two months. Judge Boyce ruled in March that she would not receive the death penalty if convicted of the murders. She is separately indicted in Arizona on charges of conspiracy to kill ex-husband Charles Wallow.


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