Friend tells police Idaho mother of 2 missing children told her to lie
Lori Vallow, the Idaho mother of two missing children who has been charged with desertion, told police when they were looking for her son that he was staying with a friend of hers out of state. That friend told police she had been asked to lie and tell investigators that she had the boy, even though he hadn’t been there for months.
Police in Rexburg, Idaho, also said in a probable cause affidavit filed against Vallow that she has not been seen with her two children for months and essentially erased them from her life before moving to Hawaii with her new and fifth husband. The affidavit also said there is no evidence Vallow put her children, Joshua Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, in anyone else’s care.
Vallow was arrested Thursday in Hawaii and charged with two counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, resisting an officer, solicitation and contempt.
She appeared in court Friday in Kauai, where she was arrested, and declined to waive her right to an extradition hearing.
Justin Kollar, Kauai’s elected prosecuting attorney, said at a news conference Friday that a challenged extradition can extend the process up to 90 days, but he does not expect such a delay.
A judge set her bail at $5 million. The next hearing was scheduled for March 2.
Tylee has not been seen or heard from since Sept. 8. Police were able to find a photo dated Sept. 8 of her on a trip with Vallow, Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, and Joshua to Yellowstone National Park.
“This photo is the last time we can find any record of [Tylee] being with Lori Vallow,” the affidavit says.
Tylee’s older brother, Colby Ryan, said he last talked to her on Facetime in August, and his mother would make up excuses about why Tylee couldn’t get on the phone when he asked to talk with her since then.
Vallow told a friend that Tylee was attending BYU Idaho, but police discovered she was never registered there or at any other BYU school.
Joshua, who has special needs, was last seen alive on Sept. 23 at Kennedy Elementary School. Vallow called the school later that day to inform them that the boy would no longer be attending the school, and she would be homeschooling him. But no educational records were ever requested, police said.
On Nov. 26, at the prompting of Joshua’s grandmother, police went to Vallow’s home to conduct a welfare check. Her husband, Chad Daybell, “acted as if he didn’t know Lori very well” and didn’t know how to get in touch with her, the affidavit says.
Kauai police Chief Todd Raybuck told reporters Friday that as long as Daybell is not wanted by authorities in Idaho, he “can move about as he wishes.”
Cox, Vallow’s brother, told detectives that Joshua was with his grandmother, “which was not likely to be true due to the fact that [she] was the individual who first called in a missing child report,” the affidavit says.
Police spoke with Vallow the same day, and she told them Joshua was with her friend Melanie Gibb in Arizona.
Investigators had trouble contacting Gibb, but when they finally did in December, she told them the boy had not been at her home for several months, adding that both Vallow and Daybell had called her separately in November to ask her to tell police she had Joshua.
“The statement Lori made to RPD (the Rexburg Police Department) about [Joshua] being with Melanie Gibb delayed the investigation into the whereabouts and safety of [Joshua] by requiring us to take time to investigate a lead that was verified false,” the affidavit says.
Vallow had told neighbors, whose son Joshua who used to play with, that he had gone to stay with his grandmother. She informed a babysitter on Sept. 24 that her services were no longer needed, and she requested in July that Joshua’s service dog be retrieved by the trainer. She also hadn’t refilled the prescription for medication to treat Joshua’s autism since January 2019.
A late November search warrant on Vallow’s storage unit uncovered blankets with pictures of the children, Joshua’s backpack, toys, children’s clothing, bikes, a scooter and a photo album.
In early December, Vallow and Daybell flew to Hawaii without any children, according to the affidavit, and the kids have never been seen there with the couple. But Vallow had Tylee’s debit card.
Daybell’s parents told police they were told their new daughter-in-law was an “empty-nester.” His ex-sister-in-law told police she was told Lori had no juvenile children.
Daybell and Vallow married weeks after Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, 49, was found dead in her home in October. Police have said they believe the children’s disappearance is tied to an investigation into Tammy Daybell’s death.
Vallow’s previous husband, Charles Vallow, was fatally shot by Cox during a confrontation July 11 in Chandler, Arizona. Cox claimed self-defense. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner in Arizona ruled the death a homicide, and police are still investigating.
“Our case is still open,” Chandler police Det. Seth Tyler said by email.
Vallow and Cox were questioned by police but not charged. Cox died in December, The Associated Press reported.
Before Charles Vallow died, he filed for divorce, claiming in documents that his wife believed she was reincarnated and was a god sent to lead people during the second coming of Christ in July 2020, and she told her husband that if he got in her way, she would kill him.
An attorney who represented him during the divorce proceedings said in a statement that Charles Vallow had a “genuine fear for his life.”
Vallow’s third husband and Tylee’s father, Joseph Ryan, also expressed “real and serious concerns” in court documents in the midst of their divorce and custody battle. The documents said Vallow was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after she told social workers that “death would be an option before giving Tylee to her father, Mr. Joseph Ryan, even for a visit.”
Ryan died of an apparent heart attack in 2018. An online obituary said Ryan was 59.
Before Rexburg police went to Vallow’s home to check on Joshua at the end of November, they were already familiar with her.
A detective had begun monitoring her Nov. 1 after police in Arizona told them that a vehicle in her possession was used in the alleged attempted murder in October of Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Vallow’s niece, Melanie Boudreaux.
“Brandon witnessed the Jeep,” which he recognized as the Jeep that Tylee usually drove, and “observed a rifle with a silencer come out of the rear window of the Jeep and then Brandon’s vehicle was shot once in the front driver’s doorframe,” according to the probable cause affidavit.
That same Jeep was seized from Vallow in November. Police noted, “It is significant that the vehicle (Tylee) regularly drove was still in Rexburg nearly two months after the last known sighting of (Tylee).”
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