A former inmate is speaking out about her time in jail with Lori Vallow Daybell, the mother of two Idaho children who were found dead and buried on her husband's land in June. The woman, who said she spent four days in the cell next to Lori's in March, said she never spoke about her missing children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan, during their time together, but was fixated on her appearance and the media attention her case was receiving.
"[Lori] was totally aware of all of it. She said, ‘We have the death of Kobe Bryant and COVID but no – there's me. I'm the lead story. I’m more important than all that stuff,'" the former inmate, referred to by the pseudonym Missy Cook, told EastIdahoNews.com. "She knew she was the main story and she liked it."
The former inmate asked journalists not to use her real name, but EastIdahoNews.com reported that jail officials confirmed the woman had been held in the cell next to Lori's on the dates she claimed. The two were incarcerated together at the Madison County jail from March 5 to March 8 after Lori was extradited from Hawaii, the site reported.
Cook told the EastIdahoNews.com she gave Lori lotion, deodorant and makeup she had purchased from the commissary so she could use them before her first court appearance in Idaho.
"So she comes to the door and has on this bright pink lipstick. She said, 'How does it look?' I hesitantly paused and said, 'Oh …. you look good,'" Cook said. "I gave her some tips and said she could use a regular led pencil to draw in her eyebrows and helped her get ready for court."
Cook also said she overheard conversations between Lori and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, as well as her oldest son, Colby Ryan.
"After the big entrance at her arraignment, [Lori] got on the phone with her son and said, 'I didn’t see you [in the courtroom]. There were just so many people,'" Cook told EastIdahoNews.com. "He kept saying, 'Mom, where are JJ and Tylee? Why won’t you tell us? What’s going on?'"
Investigators believe the children had been dead for months at that point, killed shortly after they were last seen in September 2019 and buried in Chad's backyard. Cook said during those March days months before Chad's own arrest, Lori also frequently spoke with him from jail.
Lori was also fixated on whether she would be able to come up with the $1 million in bond she needed to get out of jail, Cook said.
"Every day she’s going out with her lawyers and I’d say, 'Are you bonding out?' She would say, 'I hope so,'" Cook told the site. "I remember before one of those meetings, she ran her fingers from her head down her body and said, 'We’ll see if all of this is worth $1 million.'"
Cook said she was transferred out of the jail where Lori was being held and eventually released in August. She told EastIdahoNews.com she tried to keep in touch with Lori and had asked to visit her. Cook said Lori responded that she would like to see her, but hasn't heard back from her since.
Lori is set to be arraigned on felony charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence on Thursday. She has previously pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
In addition to the two felony charges in Fremont County, Lori also faces misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt in nearby Madison County. A trial has been set on those charges for Jan. 25 to Jan. 29, 2021 before Judge Michelle Radford Mallard, according to court documents. Lori has previously pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Chad is set to go on trial in Fremont County, Idaho in January after pleading not guilty to felony charges of willfully destroying, concealing or altering evidence and conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence of JJ and Tylee's remains. He has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Lori's attorney, Mark Means, did not respond to Inside Edition Digital's request for comment for this story.
Chad and Lori remain in jail on $1 million bond.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding the case to contact them at 1-208-359-3000.