Chad and Lori Daybell's Friend Pens Letter Saying 'Prepper Pride' Led Her to Be Deceived by the Couple
Melanie Gibb said she once shared Chad and Lori Daybell's beliefs and considered both of them close friends.
A woman who was once close friends with Lori and Chad Daybell is urging other people on an end-times preparedness website to turn away from the couple's beliefs following their arrests in the case of Lori's missing children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
"I felt I needed to pay the price of my sins by confessing them all to the whole world. I have helped the police, FBI, prosecuting attorney and detectives with this tragic case. I admire these men so much for being a strength of truth and to bring justice for all," Melanie Gibb wrote in a seven-page letter to the other users of Latter-day Saints AVOW. Gibb also shared a copy of the letter with EastIdahoNews.com, which published it in full.
In the letter, Gibb wrote that "Prepper Pride" was part of what had led her to be deceived by Chad and Lori's end-times religious beliefs.
"We often think that because we are aware that we are awake. This is not true," Gibb wrote.
"My heart is so broken because of what happened to all those who were murdered and those who I once called my friends," she added.
The deaths of three people close to the couple are currently under investigation: Chad's first wife, Tammy Daybell; Lori's fourth husband, Charles Vallow; and Lori's brother, Alex Cox. The couple has not been charged with a crime in any of the three deaths. Chad and Lori are currently under investigation by the Idaho Attorney General's office for "conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder" in Tammy's death, and both deny all allegations of wrongdoing.
AVOW stands for Another Voice of Warning, and the site's stated mission is "to help the saints begin to prepare" for the second coming of Jesus Christ. AVOW describes itself as "a whole community dedicated to preparedness and spiritual insights" with 13,000 members. Access to the forum is restricted to members, who pay a fee to enter.
Chad frequently wrote on the site, and a message claiming to be from him was posted on his behalf by a user identified as the site's owner and webmaster, Christopher Parrett, in February. In the post, which was shared with Inside Edition Digital, Chad called the situation he and Lori faced over her missing children "a legal mess" he "will be back" from.
The message was posted Feb. 10, less than two weeks before Lori was arrested in Hawaii on felony charges of deserting 8-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, according to a screenshot of the post shared with Inside Edition Digital.
"Lori and I have been absolutely silent for three months. I am constrained by my lawyers from saying more until the legal mess is complete, but be assured I will be back," the message from Chad read in part. "Hopefully the subscribers will be there when I can fully return to GRI [an AVOW forum] and tell my experiences. I appreciate your support."
The February message had an introduction written by Parrett, which referenced the controversy surrounding the couple.
"Over the past week I have been forwarding many of the accusations that have been leveled against Chad Daybell to him and asking for a 'Public' comment. He replied back to me this morning with a short text message. This is an EDITED copy of what he sent me. I have removed content that ought not to be shared in public until his legal issues are resolved. Like it or not, Anything he says in public can and will be used against him," Parrett wrote.
In another AVOW post titled "Vindicated" that was shared with Inside Edition Digital, Parrett wrote that "Chad and Lori called me tonight and we spoke for almost a full hour. Finally they were able to lay out the ENTIRE SAGA from their side of the story. From the beginning all the way to today. And I am here to tell you I feel TOTALLY VINDICATED in standing up for Chad."
Parett defended the couple in another AVOW post, writing: "Yes, there is a plan, and [Chad and Lori] are following it through to the end. Yes, there really is a compelling reason for them NOT to offer up a photo or video or voice recording of either of the kids. Yes, I still stand by all my previous comments that the kids are just fine, alive and well."
Chad was arrested on June 9 after investigators executing a search warrant at his Rexburg, Idaho home found two sets of human remains. Rexburg Police Department Assistant Chief Gary Hagen said autopsy results confirmed the remains are those of JJ and Tylee. Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty to willfully destroying, concealing or altering evidence and has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
In her letter, Gibb addressed Parrett, writing, "Brother, I feel for your journey. I too know what it's like to be deceived by Chad Daybell. I wanted to believe him too, he's soft spoken and comes across as sincere and humble. I get it. There is nothing like letting the world see you be deceived and then stand up for him—I'm so sorry you had to experience that. I know what that feels like."
On Thursday, a reporter from KSTU said he spoke with Parrett and his wife, Sue Parrett, who said they feel terrible and had no idea that the kids were dead, adding that their hearts and prayers were with the family and that they had nothing to do with the case. KSTU reported the couple declined to comment further because it is an ongoing investigation, but told the reporter: "Obviously, Chad lied to us."
Parrett did not respond to Inside Edition Digital's request for comment.
Chad is being held on $1 million bond at the Fremont County jail, and is due to appear in court on July 1 for a preliminary hearing.
Lori is also being held on $1 million bond on felony charges of deserting JJ and Tylee, as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt, according to the Madison County, Idaho prosecutor's office. Lori has pleaded not guilty, and is due to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on July 9.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding the case to contact the department at 1-208-359-3000.
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