LORI Vallow's only surviving child says he wanted to "kill" the so-called cult mom and her doomsday author husband after they allegedly murdered his two younger siblings to free them of their "dark spirits."
In an exclusive interview with The US Sun, Colby Ryan, 26, said he was hellbent on getting revenge on Lori and her husband Chad Daybell after his sister, Tylee, and little brother, JJ, were found buried in shallow graves.
The horrifying discovery was made on June 9, 2020, when investigators served a search warrant at Daybell's home in Salem, Idaho.
Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, had been missing for nine months having both vanished without a trace just days apart in September 2019.
Lori had long maintained the children were safe and living with unspecified family members in Arizona. But she and Chad allegedly had the two children murdered as part of a depraved doomsday ritual, believing their bodies had been overtaken by evil spirits.
Colby told The US Sun how pleaded with his mom for information about where his siblings were for months on end but to no avail.
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He said learning of their tragic fates and the horrific circumstances in which they were killed left him consumed by "dark thoughts" and determined to enact revenge.
"I was having the darkest thoughts about hurting them," Colby said.
"[I was thinking] 'You want to hurt and kill my family? Then I'm going to kill you.'
"It was so, so dark. But that's how you feel when you want revenge."
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'SHE WAS A PART OF IT'
Tylee and JJ were officially reported missing in November 2019, but neither of the two children had been seen or heard from for several weeks by that point.
The last known sighting of Tylee came on Sept. 8 during a family trip to Yellowstone National Park.
JJ, meanwhile, vanished in Rexburg, Idaho, on Sept. 22, having last been seen sleeping in the arms of his uncle, Alex Cox.
Both of their remains were found buried yards apart in a pet cemetery in Daybell's backyard.
Tylee had been dismembered and burned, while JJ's body was wrapped in reams of duct tape and stuffed in trash bags beneath the earth.
Lori and Chad were both later indicted on a number of charges related to the kids' deaths, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Lori's devoted brother Alex Cox is believed to have killed the two children at Lori's and Chad's directions. However, he died suddenly in December 2019 from what were believed to be natural causes before he could be charged.
Months earlier, Cox had also shot dead Lori's fourth husband, Charles Vallow, during a dispute. The shooting was initially deemed self-defense but the case was reopened after Tylee and JJ were found dead and remained ongoing at the time of Cox's untimely death.
Despite Lori's claims of innocence, Colby says there is no doubt in his mind that she's "100%" responsible for all she stands accused.
"My mom knew exactly what was going on," Colby said.
"As a parent, you're responsible for your kids' safety, especially if they're minors. She was responsible for her kids. She was responsible for what happened.
"And I know she was a part of it," he claimed. "And that hurts a lot to say."
PROSECUTORS SEEK DEATH PENALTY
Lori's trial is currently slated to begin in October, but a judge is currently weighing a motion to delay proceedings to coincide with Chad Daybell's trial in January 2023.
In addition to the deaths of Tylee and JJ, Lori and Chad have also been charged in the mysterious death of Chad's wife Tammy Daybell, who died in October 2019 just two weeks before the apocalypse-obsessed pair got married in Hawaii.
Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty against both Chad and Lori.
Colby said while he has no desire to have any sort of relationship with his mom moving forward, he admitted it's still difficult to hear she could potentially be sentenced to death.
"It's hard to hear that they would do that with my mom," he said, "but again, it's out of my hands and it always has been."
Colby said he typically refrains from following the coverage of his mom's trial now, again accepting that her fate is out of his hands.
Reliving the harrowing details of his siblings' deaths will also not change the fact they're no longer here, he said.
"I've given up the fact that no matter what happens, it's not going to change anything," Colby said.
"So I know they're in jail, I know they can't hurt anybody, and that's the best I can possibly ask for."
'THEY TOOK MY FAMILY'
Colby recently released a self-published book, The God Over Odds, in which he discusses his faith and how turning to God helped him overcome the traumas of his childhood and beyond.
Where once he fixated on avenging his sibling's deaths, Colby said it was through his trust in a higher power that he was able to move past his overwhelming feelings of anger and resentment.
His path to enlightenment, he says, also allowed him to make the previously unimaginable step of forgiving his mother for her alleged crimes.
"They took my family away from me, they took them away from everybody else that loved them, and took them away from my kids having that relationship with them," Colby, a father of two, told The US Sun,
"It's one of the most painful things ever to hear, to hear details about how your own people, that you grew up around and loved, killed your own family.
"But as time has gone by, I've had to say they took a lot from me, but whatever I've lost I know that God's grace has helped me not only regain but also come out of that dark place."
Colby added: "So it's not like I have everything I want back, and I've had to come to terms with the fact I'm just not going to get my family back, no matter what happens at trial, no matter if they were beaten up or not, or whatever the case was – it's just not going to change anything.
"It was a hefty, hefty price for them to take what they did … but I had to let that go to move on with my life."
LORI: 'EVERYTHING WILL BE REVEALED'
From very early on in the nine-month hunt to locate Tylee and JJ, Colby knew that something was wrong.
But despite the incredibly strange circumstances surrounding their disappearance, Colby said he didn't for one second believe that his mom was capable of doing anything to harm them.
"Pretty early on [after their disappearances] I reached out to my mom and she was being really shady about it before she cut everybody – including me – off," Colby recounted.
"And then obviously, you're going to start questioning, 'Is everyone alive? Are they okay? What if the worst has happened?' – but you can't think like that."
Colby visited his mom behind bars after she was arrested in February 2020 for failing to turn over the children to authorities.
He said he asked Lori "100 times" where Tylee and JJ were, but she issued him the same answer each and every time: "Everything will be revealed soon."
The remark was troubling to Colby, but still grieving the loss of his adoptive father Charles Vallow, he said he was determined to stay positive and put his faith in a higher power that everything was going to be okay.
"There was a lot of back and forth and a lot of fear," Colby said. "But I had to keep faith also that there was a possibility nothing happened because I couldn't imagine anything happening, especially with my mom.
"In my mind, there was just absolutely 100% no way that she would hurt them."
BEST FRIEND TO CULT MOM
Growing up, Colby didn't know his biological father and was rarely able to settle in one place for too long before Lori would decide to move again in search of yet another fresh start.
Through the disfunction, Colby said he was forced to grow up quickly. He also forged an incredibly tight bond with his mom, who he described as being closer to that of a best friend than a parental figure.
"I think she leaned on me for emotion support, almost like a sidekick," he said, "so that kind of forced me to grow up a little bit faster.
"And she and I just had this bond that was more like friends … she would take me to do fun stuff … she took care of me, and it was just me and her – we kind of faced everything together."
Colby and Lori's tight-knit bond became somewhat frayed a few years after she married her third husband, Joseph Ryan, in 2001.
According to Colby, Joseph Ryan – Tylee's biological father – was both physically and sexually abusive towards him.
Lori was apparently unaware that Ryan was sexually abusing her son until after their divorce in 2004. However, Colby said the physical abuse was carried out in plain sight for all to see and his mom "wasn't really there" for him throughout it all.
The mother and son managed to rekindle their close relationship after Lori left Ryan, but a wedge would be driven between them again a few years later when Colby noticed his mother's Mormon beliefs being slowly plagued by radical doomsday prophecies.
BEGINNING OF THE END
Lori married for a fourth time in 2006 to Charles Vallow, providing Colby with the stability and the reliable father figure he had for so long craved.
But where his mother was concerned, Colby said Lori appeared to be withdrawing, leaning increasingly into bizarre ideologies about an impending rapture that would end life as we know it.
"It was kind of early on," Colby said of noticing his mom's doomsday beliefs coming to the fore. "I'm not exactly sure when it started but probably when I was around 11.
"I was never brought into it, really. I definitely feared it [the end times] because I heard it from her and because I trusted her. But as I grew up, probably around 17 or 18, I was like, ‘I’m just going to live my life the way I can’.
"I can't live a life of impending fear of something happening. I can't live like that. It's an anxious life. So I never bought into any of the ideas that it was going to happen."
Colby decided to move out of his mom and Charles' home when he was still in the 11th grade in search of a purpose and something to be excited about in his future.
All the while, his mother grew progressively more convinced that the end times were fast approaching. Her doomsday delusions were apparently exacerbated after she met Chad Daybell at a Preparing A People conference in Utah, in October 2018.
The pair, who were both married, began secretly exchanging texts, emails, photos, and videos in the weeks after, with Daybell telling Lori they had been chosen by God to lead a group of 144,00 souls to usher in the end times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
He also told Lori that her husband was no longer her husband, but rather a "dark spirit" by the name of Nick Schneider who had taken over his body and needed to be vanquished.
Charles Vallow would be shot dead by Alex Cox just months later, shortly after he threatened to tell Daybell's wife Tammy about his and Lori's affair.
According to authorities, not long after Charles was killed, Lori was convinced by Daybell that both of her children had been possessed by evil spirits as well.
The only way to free them, she allegedly believed, was for them to be killed.
Colby last spoke with his two siblings on August 30, 2019, during a Facetime call just days before Tylee was seen for the very last time.
He described the conversation as "normal" and insisted there was no kind of special goodbye as he had plans to see them in just a few weeks' time.
But Colby would tragically never see his siblings again.
The last known sighting of Tylee came during a family trip to Yellowstone National Park on September 8, 2019, while JJ was last seen on September 23, being carried by Alex Cox as he slept in his uncle's arms.
Investigators believe that the two children were killed by Cox at the direction of Lori and Daybell. The FBI discovered Cox had been at the Daybell property on both September 9 and 23.
Daybell's wife Tammy also suddenly passed away in October 2019 in her sleep, two weeks before Vallow and Daybell tied the knot in Hawaii. Her death was initially deemed to be the result of natural causes but is now considered suspicious.
Alex Cox then died on December 12, 2019, the day after Tammy Daybell's body was exhumed for further investigation.
'I FORGIVE YOU'
In addition to releasing a book, Colby also runs a YouTube channel on which he regularly discusses his faith and Vlogs about his family's day-to-day lives.
In an emotional video shared on his page in September last year, Colby made the incredible declaration that he had forgiven his mother for the role she allegedly played in Tylee and JJ's deaths.
Speaking to The US Sun, Colby revealed that he told his mom face-to-face he had forgiven her when he last visited her in prison after his siblings' bodies were found.
"We got into a conversation and I confronted her," Colby said. "And then I told her I forgive her [or] that I was trying to."
"It took me so long to actually forgive," he added. "What forgiveness really is though, is releasing your own anger and all that stuff, and you're just saying I don't need to carry this [burden] anymore.
"Forgiving people is very difficult. Sitting there and being so angry at them and holding them accountable for your whole life is easy.
"But I felt that it was important … because by holding that burden you're holding yourself in a cage.
"I could spend the rest of my life, like, 'I can't believe my mom did this, I'm so mad at her, I want to hurt her' … that can be the rest of my life but I'd be miserable, so who am I helping?
"So when I released those feelings, I released her, and I released myself."
Colby continued: "I forgave her, I forgave Alex, I forgave Chad – I forgave everything and everybody that was involved … and it just freed me to be able to do something positive."
'DIDN'T WANT TO BE HERE ANYMORE'
With almost exactly two years having passed since Tylee and JJ were found dead, Colby says he still cannot fathom what must've been going through his mother's mind to allegedly murder her own children.
"I can't, there's just no way to connect to that," he said. "I cannot tell you what you'd have to believe and think to do something like that.
"You have to be [out of your mind], but I don't think there's anybody that's completely just out of their mind who can still make decisions and lie.
"So I definitely think there's a consciousness there," he added. "But I can't tell you how she got to that point … [she's] just nor the same person."
Colby said it's his belief that his mother became obsessed with doomsday rhetoric – like the kind espoused by Daybell – because her life was "too traumatizing" and she just wanted to leave it all behind.
"I just don't think she wanted to be around anymore," he said. "Our life was hard so I think she went to that place to get out of her life.
"She didn't want to go through anything else, and so that's when all of that started.
"But obviously, it completely took another turn."
A NEW CHAPTER
Colby's new book, The God Over Odds, was released on Amazon on April 3 and is the first of a two-book series.
The first installment follows Colby's spiritual journey up until the age of 18. The second book, which doesn't yet have a publishing date, will predominantly focus on the heartbreak and hardships he's endured over the last few years.
Colby said that while sitting down and revisiting the traumas of his past has been emotionally taxing it's also been incredibly therapeutic.
By sharing his own story, he hopes to inspire others broken apart by tragedy and provide them with a blueprint from which to build themselves back together again.
"It’s hard to be vulnerable and go through everything that happened and it’s hard to talk about your trauma, but in a crazy way writing the book was actually so freeing," Colby said.
"I was remembering stuff I didn’t even know happened and when I started writing it just all came out.
"It was almost like ripping off a band-aid in a good way," he added. "It was like, 'Okay, this is no longer this concealed thing that's trying to heal under a band-aid, let's just get it all out there.'
"And then after that, it was done and the pain doesn't have to exist now.
"There's still stuff to process through but after getting it out I'm in a way different place.
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"This story and everything that's happened is not just for me to sit back on and be like, 'this is a crazy life.'
"It's now for other people to connect with aspects [of my story] if they've ever been through something similar."
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