Format Hardcover
Publication Date 09/24/24
ISBN 9781639367108
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 288

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Children of Darkness and Light

Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell and the Story of a Murderous Faith

Lori Hellis

In this gripping work of true crime, a criminal lawyer takes readers inside the notorious Lori Vallow case and the devastating "doomsday murders."

A blonde beauty queen, missing children, six suspicious deaths, and the twisted Mormon doomsday writings of her fifth husband are only the beginning of a tragic crime saga that gripped Americans and instigated frantic searches all over the country.

It all started when Lori Vallow met Chad Daybell at a doomsday prepper event. Their story grew like a wildfire that creates its own weather, and what happened next will shock even the most experienced true crime reader.

Clinging to and manipulating one another, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell believed the return of Jesus Christ was imminent and that God had chosen them to lead the 144,000 and usher in the new millennium. When the people closest to them began dying, it became clear they would stop at nothing to be together and fulfill their mission. When the bodies of Lori’s missing children—J.J. and Tylee—were discovered in Chad’s backyard, the strange and complex story of their fundamentalist Mormon beliefs were revealed in all their true horror.

Author Lori Hellis, a retired criminal lawyer, had just moved to Arizona when news of J.J. and Tylee's disappearance broke, and there were reports about these missing children that linked them to a neighboring community. She began to follow the case closely, trying to understand this perfect storm of people and circumstances that culminated in the death of innocents. In Children of Darkness and Light, Hellis digs deep into the investigation, trial, and verdict to craft a haunting narrative that illuminates one of the most confounding crimes in recent memory.

Lori Hellis practiced criminal and family law until she retired from practice to devote time to writing. During her legal career, Lori worked both as a prosecutor and a public defender representing adults and juveniles in criminal matters; she served twenty years in the Air National Guard and has been a passionate advocate for children, victims of domestic violence, and veterans.


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Endorsements & Reviews

"Retired attorney Lori Hellis delves into 2019’s 'doomsday murders' in this shocking work of true crime. The details of how police pieced together the evidence implicating Vallow and Daybell in five killings make for grimly propulsive reading, and Hellis provides fascinating context about radical Mormon beliefs. Readers will be horrified." Publishers Weekly
"In Children of Darkness and Light, former attorney Lori Hellis masterfully navigates the complexities of a riveting murder trial that intertwines sex, crime, religion, and the dark undercurrents of human belief. With her background in law, she provides readers with a bird’s-eye view of courtroom dynamics and the intense emotional landscape of high-stakes litigation. This book is essential for those fascinated by the intersections of law, faith, and human psychology." Allison Margolin, criminal defense attorney and author of Just Dope: A Leading Attorney's Personal Journey Inside the War on Drugs
"Lori Hellis tells an incredibly dark, demented and well-documented story, providing illuminating insights into the twisted beliefs and behavior that led to the most unthinkable of crimes. Hellis recounts a long and troubled road, and how fringe beliefs, lust and desperation motivated true believers to kill their own family members." Jason Ryan, author of Swamp Kings: 
“There are big questions at play in these pages: How do two seemingly normal people become mass murderers? And what separates us from them? That line may be frighteningly thin. Lori Hellis dives into Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell’s madness with the care and efficiency of a fine storyteller. The writing is sharp and engaging and she never loses sight of Tyler and JJ or the other victims caught up in this couple’s depravity and delusion.” James Renner, author of Little, Crazy People
"To fathom, let alone unravel, the infamous Vallow-Daybell case requires a working knowledge of law, psychology, and Mormon doctrine. Author Lori Hellis delivers with aplomb. A retired criminal law attorney who (lucky for us) also happens to be a skillful writer, Hellis brings this complex, outrageous story to life within its religious and legal framework. Children of Darkness and Light is as riveting as it is harrowing." Steve Cuno, author of Behind the Mormon Curtain: Selling Sex in America’s Holy City