In 2019, the children of a woman named Lori Vallow went missing. Her friends and family were concerned. Vallow was not. She had just left her husband and started an affair with Mormon end-times author Chad Daybell, whose novels prophesied a quasi-biblical end of the world. Vallow became enamored with the man’s work, and, eventually, the man himself. He soon told her she had a role to play in the coming apocalypse, and that she should be wary — demons were all around.
Lori and Chad would soon wed, and both of their spouses would die. Lori’s husband would be shot to death by her brother. Chad’s wife, seemingly healthy and training for a race, suddenly died in her sleep. Others perished suspiciously as well, including Lori’s brother. But it was the children, JJ and Tylee, both 17 years old, who would shock the nation when their bodies were found buried haphazardly on Daybell’s property.
Lifetime has now made a movie about this couple’s deadly affair, appropriately titled “Doomsday Mom.” The network tapped “Dallas” star Patrick Duffy and Linda Purl of “The Office,” themselves a new, real-life couple, to play the concerned grandparents of the missing JJ Vallow. They sat down with Nicki Swift to talk about their new film and whether or not someone like Lori Vallow can truly be accountable for her terrible crimes.
Patrick Duffy recognizes the dilemma in the Lori Vallow trial
Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell were charged with the murder of her children. Idaho courts however ordered her to undergo a psychological evaluation, and, in May, a judge ruled she was unfit to stand trial. According to ABC News, she was then committed to a mental health facility
This doesn’t mean she’s off the hook. Her trial is merely on hold, and there is evidence Lori has some wits about her. She committed various acts of fraud to profit from the death of those around her, including her late husband and her own children. So is she unfit, or crazy like a fox? Linda Purl, for one, doesn’t believe Vallow’s mental state absolves her of these crimes. “I don’t know that that matters, in my mind,” she explains. “The deeds were done, and so justice should be met … In my non-legal, judgmental mind, I think it’s irrelevant. She needs to be locked up forever.”
Patrick Duffy agrees, but emphasizes the nuance. “It’s not an either/or situation,” he explains. “Punishment should be meted according to her capabilities to understand her acts … My opinion would be, she’s too incompetent to be punished to the extent of the law …” Considering her clearly delusional state, the actor says, “To me, it’s a dilemma. And we haven’t solved that dilemma yet.”
“Doomsday Mom: The Lori Vallow Story” is now streaming on Lifetime.
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