Husband #1: The First Lori Vallow-Daybell Marriage Mystery

Not much is known about Lori Vallow-Daybell’s first of five husbands.  Nelson Yanes seems to have kept quiet and lived a private life since the story of missing JJ and Tylee came into the spotlight in 2019.  

Here’s what we do know.  Lori attended Eisenhower High School in Rialto, CA where she was a cheerleader.  She graduated in 1991.  A friend of Lori’s from high school has said that Lori was smart and got good grades but when it came to what she would do after graduation, Lori’s path seemed to be guided by her faith. She talked about attending Brigham Young University, a private university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Eisenhower High School

“As a cheer squad, we were always at Lori’s house. Her mom and dad let us hang out there. We used to swim,” the friend said. “Everybody was just so welcoming. They had a big family.” 

According to this friend, Lori’s parents didn’t come to her cheer competitions but that didn’t seem to bother Lori. They were a quiet family and kept pretty much to themselves, she said.


“It wasn’t until our senior year that she even had a boyfriend. She was very much to herself and she hung around just the girls,” according to her friend. “There were hardly ever boys with us. But in senior year, that’s when she started kind of like branching out a little bit.” 

In 1992, after graduating from high school, Lori married her first husband Nelson Yanes. Lori would have been 19 or 20 years old when she married Nelson and it is said that he was her high school sweetheart. 

                   Lori’s mother, Janis Cox


In the ABC 20/20 episode that aired in February 2021, Lori’s mother, Janis Cox, says that Lori left home at 18 and that they asked Lori to wait a year “but they just went off and decided to do their own thing, and got married.  And so we didn’t go to the wedding.”  



Lori’s high school friend said about Nelson: “I know the boy was not a Mormon, so that might’ve been a cause of [the breakup].”  The length of Lori and Nelson’s marriage is unknown but it wasn’t for long.  They didn’t have any children together and in 1995, Lori went on to marry her second husband, William Lagioia.  

You can read more about husband #2 here: