'Sins of Our Mother' on Netflix recounts the horrific Lori Vallow true-crime story

The Netflix docuseries 'Sins of Our Mother' asks the question: how did a seemingly normal woman become the most notorious mother in America?

Sins of Our Mother. (L to R) Lori Vallow and Colby Ryan in Sins of Our Mother
(Image credit: Netflix)

Sins of Our Mother, the latest true crime on Netflix title, digs deep into how Lori Vallow's seemingly picture-perfect life unraveled.

"[She] was known to friends and family as a devoted mother of three, a loving wife, and a woman of God. But over the past three years, something went very wrong," the official synopsis of the three-part Netflix series reads. 

Director Skye Borgman, the eye behind the viral Girl in the Picture and I Just Killed My Dad, tackles Vallow's infamous story in her latest docuseries. While recounting what happened to the so-called "most notorious mother in America," do be warned that viewers will encounter heavy and unsettling material about Vallow's life and crimes. 

*Trigger warning ahead*

'Sins of Our Mother': what you need to know

When Lori Vallow crossed paths with her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, her beliefs grew more serious and problematic. A doomsday ideologist and a member of Preparing a People—an organization to "help prepare the people of this earth for the second coming of Jesus Christ"—Daybell indoctrinated his new wife with his radical beliefs, ultimately causing Vallow to believe that she needed to kill her children to get rid of their dark spirits. 

The bodies of Vallow's sons, 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, were discovered in shallow graves in their stepfather's Idaho backyard in June 2020, and both Vallow and Daybell were accused of their murder. Their cause of death has not been released to the public.

Lori Vallow is currently in jail waiting to stand trial for conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of her fourth husband, her two youngest children and Daybell's former wife. In August 2022, Vallow was found mentally fit to stand trial.

East Idaho News and 32 other news organizations have asked an Idaho judge to reject a request to ban cameras from the courtroom in September 2022, even though the Lori Vallow trial will not take place until January 2023, according to NBC.

Steven Wright, the attorney representing the news outlets, said in a statement: "The public’s confidence in the criminal justice system grows when the courtroom is open to all, including those who cannot physically attend."

Watch the 'Sins of Our Mother' trailer:

Who is Colby Ryan in 'Sins of Our Mother'?

Vallow's surviving son Colby Ryan, who is now 26, decided to expose a side of his family that the world has not seen in this new documentary. He confronts his imprisoned mother in the documentary, asking: "Are you sorry for me? Or are you sorry for my siblings?"

In the trailer, Vallow responds: "Well, I’m sorry that you don’t really fully understand the situation."

"Belief will really take you to a different place," we hear Ryan state in the trailer. 

Though Colby Ryan is taking on one stance about his mother's actions, Daybell's five adult children sat down with CBS's 48 Hours to discuss their father...and why he couldn't be responsible for this horrific story. They attest that Vallow is solely responsible. 

"It's just not possible. Anyone who says that my dad could kill a person doesn't know my dad," Mark Daybell proclaimed to the outlet. 

Days before the documentary's premiere in September 2022, sex crime charges that were filed against Colby were dropped without prejudice according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, KTVB reports, adding a new layer to the family's story.

All three parts of Sins of Our Mother are available to stream on Netflix.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.