(NewsNation) — Jurors in Lori Vallow’s trial listened to a recording of an emotional phone call between the Idaho mother and her younger sister, Summer Shiflet, where Shiflet pleaded with Vallow to clarify the disappearance and death of her two children.
Vallow is on trial for the murders of her two youngest children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. She is also charged in connection with the death of her husband, the former wife of Chad Daybell. Prosecutors say the two used religious beliefs centered on the end of the world to promote a plan to kill the children. The couple is being tried separately.
Both Tylee Ryan and JJ were last seen in September 2019. Their bodies were later found buried in Chad Daybell’s yard.
Shiflet, the aunt of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, said she was first informed of her niece and nephew’s disappearance in December 2019.
At the time, Shiflet was not in contact with Lori Vallow and did not know where she was. Before that, however, the two had been close.
During the trial, a recording of the June 24, 2020 call was played when Vallow and Shiftlet spoke to each other.
As the recording begins, both sisters ask how the other was doing. Not good, they both replied.
“I don’t know what to say,” Shiflet said, according to the recording. “I’m willing to listen if you want to talk to me, but I don’t know what to say.”
Meanwhile, Lori said she didn’t know what was going on.
Sobbing so hard she could barely get her words out, Shiflet told Vallow that Tylee and JJ were found in Daybell’s backyard.
“Did you know they were there?” Shiflet asked, to which Vallow replied, “I can’t talk about it.”
Shiflet kept pressing her sister for further explanation and said she wanted to believe the best of her, but later during the call she got angry and yelled at Vallow.
“You expect me to continue to believe without ever having a question… either you explain it or you don’t expect me to believe it… I’m not okay,” Shiflet said. “I loved them with all my heart. I would have taken JJ and Tylee in a heartbeat and everyone else too, you know that.”
Saying that there is nothing in scripture about hurting a “godly child”, Shiflet insisted that JJ and Tylee deserved a proper burial.
While Vallow insisted that no one knows what he’s been through and that all they know is what’s happened on TV, Shiflet responded with disbelief.
“Lori, you were dancing on the beach in Hawaii taking wedding photos,” she said. Vallow and Daybell were married in Hawaii a couple of months after the children’s bodies were found.
“Do you think that your mother, your sister and your son do not deserve to know that your children are gone? Why don’t you call and tell us that? Why did they cut us off? Shiflet asked. “I’ve loved you all my life and still do… it hurts. I don’t want to see you in jail.”
The phone call ended with Shiflet telling Vallow to “propose a public explanation.”
Many of the jurors, listening intently to the call, had their heads in their hands as it rang. Vallow could be seen wiping away tears and looking visibly shaken.
Shiflet then told the defense more about his family. Growing up, Shiflet and Vallow had a close relationship, many mutual friends, and attended school and church together.
As a mother, Shiflet testified, Vallow showed care and protection toward Tylee, JJ, and their oldest son, Colby, as they grew up.
Tylee, Shiflet described, was a “beautiful, witty and very talented” child who had a loving relationship with her mother.
“Tylee adored his mom,” Shiflet said.
Although Tylee had a cheeky streak in her, Vallow was always very patient with her, Shiflet said.
With a lump in her throat, Shiflet says she never cared for Tylee’s safety around Vallow, and when questioned by the defense, she said she never would have imagined Vallow killing her children.
In late 2018, Vallow first mentioned to Shiflet his new beliefs about having multiple lives and creations, something he hadn’t heard his sister talk about before.
While they discussed spirits of light and darkness, Shiflet testified that Vallow did not say she was a goddess or leader, nor did he remember his sister talking about zombies, which are all aspects of Vallow’s extreme beliefs that have been reported before.