‘Dateline NBC’: Melanie Gibb Opens Up About What First Attracted Lori Vallow to Chad Daybell

The pending case around Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell—two recently-married members of what some call a ‘doomsday cult’ that predicted the world would end in July 2020—has riveted and shocked the nation over the past months. A recent Dateline NBC special revealed further details about the couple’s tumultuous past.

Vallow’s adopted son, JJ Vallow, and her teen daughter from a previous relationship, Tylee Ryan, were originally reported as missing at the end of 2019. But their story came to a tragic resolution on June 9, when police in Rexburg, Idaho, found their bodies buried in a shallow grave behind Daybell’s home. The couple have both been arrested and are awaiting trial.

Many other recent suspicious deaths surround the case, such as the shooting of Vallow’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, by Vallow’s late brother, Alex Cox (which he claimed was self-defense), and the death of Daybell’s wife, Tammy Daybell, just shortly before he married Vallow. These deaths are currently being investigated.

On a recent episode of NBC’s Dateline, journalist Keith Morrison sat down with Melanie Gibb, a former close friend of Daybell’s and Vallow’s who previously shared their unconventional religious beliefs. Gibb has cooperated with the FBI and law enforcement in helping to solve the case. Gibb gave Morrison insider details about how Daybell and Vallow began their affair and what originally attracted them to each other.

Keith Morrison
Keith Morrison | Jim Spellman/WireImage

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Gibb said Vallow and Daybell were like ‘gasoline and fire’

Vallow and Daybell initially bonded over spiritual matters, according to Gibb. In fact, Gibb’s own friendship with Vallow was forged in shared faith.

In Oct. 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona, Gibb told Morrison she met Vallow at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gathering. Gibb was teaching a class on alternative health remedies, and they formed a fast, intense friendship. In her Dateline interview, Gibb said Vallow was once “like a sister” to her.

As for Daybell, his connection with Vallow was just as immediate. “They were both like gasoline and fire,” Gibb said of the couple’s instant—and potentially dangerous—chemistry.

Daybell was known for his unconventional religious beliefs, which he shared in end-times fiction and speeches at religious conferences for “preppers,” or those who believed they were preparing themselves for the end of the world. “He talked about the visions he saw of the second coming,” Gibb explained. “People thought he had this spiritual gift of revelation.”

Vallow accompanied Gibb on a road trip to St. George, Utah, for one of these conferences—and that’s where Vallow first set eyes on Daybell.

“She was attracted to him on a spiritual level, and that was her attraction to him,” Gibb said of their instant connection. They were both married at the time, but that didn’t seem to bother either of them.

Meanwhile, at least according to Gibb, Vallow’s relationship with her fourth husband, Charles, was suffering—especially after she met Daybell. “She seemed to be upset a lot,” Gibb said of her former friend’s marriage. “I could never figure out why.”

Vallow’s former friend claimed that Daybell made her feel ‘powerful’

Daybell and Vallow got even closer when Vallow held a spiritual conference at her home. Her soon-to-be-husband, Daybell, drove 13 hours from Rexburg, Idaho, to attend.

“Chad was there, and he asked to spend the night,” Gibb said. (Vallow’s husband wasn’t at home.) The visit appeared to solidify their relationship. After that, they seemed to be stuck like glue to one another. Both Daybell and Vallow continued to discuss their faith, eventually participating in a podcast hosted by Gibb as guest speakers.

As for what made their infatuation so intoxication, Gibb theorized on the Dateline special that Daybell made Vallow feel “powerful.” He discussed spiritual gifts and prophecies with her, and the couple came to believe that they were meant to lead the chosen 144,000 souls mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Revelations at the end of the world.

“He seemed to have a great respect for women, and so I think that was pleasing to her,” Gibb told Morrison.

The couple believed they had previously been married in seven different lives

Morrison wondered if it was obvious to others that Vallow and Daybell were in love. Gibb said she immediately recognized the couple’s attraction. She wondered why they didn’t simply leave their respective spouses and marry each other.

The answer, as usual, was a spiritual one. “I asked her, why don’t you get divorced?” Gibb remembered. “And [Vallow] said, well, Chad and I are not allowed to.”

What’s more, Vallow and Daybell secretly married each other in a Mormon temple for all “time and eternity,” despite already being “sealed” to others. They justified their actions—which would be considered blasphemous by the mainstream Mormon church—by arguing that they were “exalted” and had been married to one another in seven previous lives.

Daybell introduced that idea to Vallow, according to Gibb—and she was more than thrilled with the notion. “She seemed to be very drawn to that idea,” Gibb claimed. “It was very exciting.”

Eventually, Gibb claimed on her Dateline interview, she came to believe that the couple’s refusal to get divorced from their spouses and marry each other might have been motivated by money. Both of their spouses had sizeable life insurance policies, which Daybell and Vallow collected on after their sudden deaths.