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'Like gasoline and fire': Former friend speaks out about Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell

"I saw him as the hand and her as the puppet on that hand," Melanie Gibb said. "They were both like gasoline and fire. Not a good match."
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Lori Vallow's former friend says Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell tried to use her as an escape and were equally destructive to each other.

"Part of me is processing, I can't believe you're friends with these people," Melanie Gibb said in an interview with NBC's "Dateline" airing Monday night. "The other part of me is like, 'How did you even believe any of the things they shared to you?'"

Joshua Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
Joshua Vallow and Tylee Ryan.Freemont County Sheriff's Office

Human remains found on Daybell's property in Fremont County, Idaho, were identified this month as those of Vallow's two children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua Vallow, who were 17 and 7 years old, respectively, when they went missing in September.

Daybell, whose former wife died under questionable circumstances, was arrested June 9 on a felony charge of concealing evidence after investigators found the remains on his property, authorities said. He was later charged with two counts of concealing evidence and his bail was set at $1 million.

Gibb spoke with "Dateline" a day after the remains were found.

A complaint alleges that Daybell concealed the remains between Sept. 22, 2019, and June 9, 2020. Rexburg police began searching for the children in November after they tried to conduct a welfare check on Joshua, who was adopted and had special needs.

Vallow and Daybell had refused to cooperate with the investigation into the missing children and left the state, police said in December. Vallow was arrested in February in Hawaii on charges of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. She is being held on a $1 million bond. Vallow has pleaded not guilty, according to The Associated Press.

According to a probable cause affidavit for Daybell that was unsealed Friday, Gibb told a Rexburg police detective that she visited Vallow at her new home in Rexburg from Sept. 19, 2019 to Sept. 23, 2019. Gibb said that when she arrived, Vallow told her Joshua had become a "zombie," the affidavit states. Gibb also said that Vallow had called Tylee a zombie in the spring of 2019 and said the teen had turned into a zombie when she was 12 or 13, according to the affidavit. Gibb told the detective that Vallow and Daybell told her their mission was to rid the world of zombies.

"I saw him as the hand and her as the puppet on that hand," Gibb told "Dateline." "They were both like gasoline and fire. Not a good match. But equally destructive to each other. So in a way, they were their equal match, in that they were destructive to each other. They both had deception in them."

Gibb added: "And they both lie. And so that was their common thread is that they were really good lying to each other. Seemed a good fit. For them to be like that with each other."

According to the recently unsealed arrest affidavit, Vallow told police on Nov. 26, 2019 that Joshua was with Gibb in Gilbert, Arizona. Police obtained Gibb's phone number from Vallow but were unable to reach her. Later that day, police requested Vallow call Gibb, at which point she told them Gibb and Joshua were at a movie theater watching "Frozen 2" and it was unlikely she would answer.

About 9:30 p.m. that evening, Gilbert Police spoke with Gibb by phone and she stated that Joshua was not staying at her house and had not been there for several months, according to the affidavit.

Gibb recalled to "Dateline" receiving a call from Daybell in which he instructed her not to pick up her phone when she was contacted by Rexburg police.

Gibb said Daybell seemed nervous and "that sure made me feel uncomfortable." She said Daybell told her Vallow would tell police Joshua was with Gibb in Arizona.

Vallow then called her, Gibb said. Vallow assured her that everything was fine and that she had told police Joshua was visiting Gibb, she said.

Gibb said Vallow told her to take a picture of "a whole bunch of kids," which left her feeling shocked.

"It's like a bomb drops on you," Gibb said. "What do you do?"

At that moment, Gibb said, everything changed.

On Dec. 6, 2019, Gibb contacted Gilbert Police and told them Joshua was not with her, the affidavit states. Gibb told authorities that Daybell and Vallow had contacted her separately on Nov. 26, 2019 and asked her to tell police Joshua was with her even though he was not, according to the affidavit.

Daybell's former wife Tammy Daybell, 49, was found dead last October in her home in Idaho. She was initially believed to have died of natural causes, but her body was exhumed in December after authorities in Idaho began to question the circumstances of her death.

For the full interview, watch "Dateline" on NBC Monday at 10 p.m.