Lori Vallow Daybell Ruled Unfit to Stand Trial for Murder of Her Two Missing Children

Lori Vallow Daybell glances at the camera during her hearing, March 6, 2020, with her defense attorney, Edwina Elcox, right, in Rexburg, Idaho. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, FILE)

Lori Vallow Daybell, who along with her husband was indicted earlier this week for the murder of her two missing children, has been found incompetent to stand trial in separate court proceedings related to their deaths.

Lori Daybell, 47, was charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy, alter or conceal evidence after authorities said they discovered the remains of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan on her husband’s property in Fremont County, Idaho, last June. Her husband, Chad Daybell, faces the same charges. Both have pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday, an Idaho judge ruled that Lori Daybell is incompetent to move forward with further court proceedings for those charges, based on a psychological assessment requested in March.

“The completed assessment determined that at this time the defendant is not competent to proceed, and recommends restorative treatment,” Judge Steven Boyce wrote in his order to stay the case.

Prosecutors contested the findings of the report, according to the order, and a separate hearing will be scheduled. The stay in the case will be in effect “pending determination of the issue of competency,” Boyce ruled.

The “insanity defense,” in which defendants can be found not guilty due to their mental state, is not allowed in Idaho. Rather, they must be able to understand the charges against them, follow court proceedings and assist lawyers in their own defense, according to ABC Boise affiliate KTVB. A defendant deemed unfit to stand trial could be held in jail, a state mental hospital or an Idaho Department of Correction mental facility, according to KTVB.

The order is the latest development in the investigation of Lori Daybell’s children, who were reported missing by extended family in November 2019.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Meredith Deliso

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