Lori Vallow Daybell believed a natural disaster would distract investigators from the disappearance of her two children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 8, and Tylee Ryan, 17, a woman who describes herself as Lori's close friend said in a new interview.
"[Lori] believed there was going to be an earthquake that was going to hit so large in Utah by the end of 2019 that they wouldn’t notice anything in her personal life going on," Melanie Gibb told EastIdahoNews.com's Nate Eaton in a wide-ranging interview.
Gibb said she once shared Lori and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell's, end-times religious beliefs but became disillusioned amid the ongoing search for Lori's missing children and the investigations into three deaths surrounding the couple: their former spouses, Tammy Daybell and Charles Vallow, and Lori's brother, Alex Cox.
"When you look at the circle of people that surround Chad and Lori, there are five people dead or either missing," Gibb said.
Gibb called Chad and Lori's relationship "a fatal attraction" that was formed over their shared beliefs.
"I often see [Chad] as the hand and [Lori] as the puppet on the hand," Gibb said. "They’re two people who have a lot of passion for a lot of things and they think a lot alike, as far as spiritual ideas go."
Those ideas include the existence of past lives, Gibb said, and that Chad and Lori have a special role to play in the end of the world.
"They did believe they were the head of the 144,000," Gibb said, referring to a Bible passage from the book of Revelations about a group of people chosen by God. "They believed that that was what their assignment was."
Gibb said she met Lori in October 2018 when Lori came to an evening class Gibb was teaching at her Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building in Gilbert, Arizona.
A few weeks later, Gibb and Lori attended the same conference in St. George, Utah, where Chad was a speaker, Gibb said, and Lori approached Chad and struck up a conversation.
Gibb said soon after they met, Chad told Lori they had been married in past lives. But in this life, Chad and Lori were also married — to different people. Still, Chad and Lori quickly became close, Gibb said, and one of the three cellphones Lori used was just for Chad.
"She had one special phone that her and Chad would communicate with and he had a special phone outside of his cellphone number, so it was just for their personal communication," Gibb said.
Gibb said Chad also told her he had made a "portal" in Lori's closet so the two could "interact spiritually."
"A portal is something that he created for her, I don't know exactly how he did it," Gibb said. "It's just a spot where he maybe said a prayer, or however the words he uses to create this portal."
A document written by Lori's niece's husband, Ian Pawlowski, also describes Lori's alleged belief in the existence of "zombies," "teleportation" and people who have been "possessed by a demon."
Both Lori and Chad believed their spouses, Charles and Tammy, would die in car accidents, allowing them to be together, Gibb said. But while neither Charles nor Tammy died in a car accident, both passed away within months of each other.
Lori's fourth husband, Charles, was shot and killed by Lori's brother, Alex, while he was picking up JJ on July 11. Alex claimed he fired in self-defense and wasn't charged in the incident. Charles' death remains under investigation.
Lori moved to Rexburg two months later, and Gibb said she came to stay with her friend from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23. During that time, Gibb said she took walks with Chad and Lori during which they were openly affectionate with each other, despite the fact that Chad was still married to Tammy.
A few weeks later, Tammy was found dead in her home on Oct. 19. Chad and Lori wed weeks later in Hawaii.
Gibb said she learned of Tammy's death through a friend who had seen it on Facebook.
"I didn’t know how they did it, but I knew it was part of the plan, that [Tammy] was supposed to pass away," Gibb said. "I mean, other people knew she was supposed to pass away because Chad knew this information for quite awhile."
That's consistent with what Chad's former friend, Julie Rowe, told InsideEdition.com. Rowe published several books with Chad.
"Three weeks before Tammy dies, he said to me, and he was in this frustrated voice, 'My plan can't move forward until Tammy's dead,' or 'until Tammy dies,'" Rowe told InsideEdition.com, explaining she believes Chad was referring to his "life plan," or the plan that God had for him.
"I was disheartened, I was very disturbed by that," said Rowe, an author who writes about her own visions and near-death experiences. "Because if anyone understands how a person's plan works, people don't get in the way of our plans. Our plans are our plans, especially our spouses, and we are married to them for a reason."
While Tammy's death was ruled to be from natural causes, her body was exhumed and the results of an autopsy are still pending, according to authorities. Tammy's death remains under investigation.
Chad and Lori are now under investigation by the Idaho Attorney General's office for "conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder." Neither Chad nor Lori have been charged with any crime in connection to Tammy's death and both deny any wrongdoing.
Gibb said she believes Lori and Chad's desire to be together trump everything else.
"Sometimes, when we really want something, that’s how we fall," Gibb said. "Sometimes the answer is no, wait, but boy did [Lori] not have patience. That’s one thing she did not have was patience. And it led to a fatal attraction, unfortunately."
More than seven months later, the FBI's multi-state investigation into JJ and Tylee's whereabouts continues. Police have repeatedly said Lori knows where the children are or what happened to them but has refused to tell authorities.
Lori is currently being held on $1 million bond at the jail in Rexburg and faces two counts of felony desertion of a child, 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 denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
Her attorney, Mark Means, has until next week to inform prosecutors whether he "intends to raise any issue of mental condition" while defending her in the case.
Lori is due to appear in court on July 9 and 10 for a preliminary hearing. Means did not respond to InsideEdition.com's requests for comment.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding JJ and Tylee's whereabouts or welfare to contact the department at 1-208-359-3000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST.
JJ has brown hair and brown eyes, is 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. He has autism and "may be in need of medical attention," according to authorities. Tylee has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.