The Idaho mother charged in the disappearance of her two children once believed they had become possessed and turned into zombies, according to a report by NBC News, citing claims by a former family member in recently filed court documents.
Lori Vallow has been jailed since her arrest Feb. 20 in Kauai, Hawaii, where she had been living for two months with her new husband, Chad Daybell. There were no signs that her children were ever with her.
She was extradited to Rexburg, Idaho, earlier this month to face felony child abandonment charges after ignoring an earlier court order to bring Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, before a judge. The two have not been seen since September.
The documents were filed in Arizona court last week by Brandon Boudreaux, the ex-husband of Vallow’s niece, Melani Pawlowski, who are battling over the custody of their own children, NBC reported.
Boudreaux filed a 70-page response after Pawlowski accused him of making false statements to the court, according to East Idaho News.
Those documents allege Pawlowski knows where Vallow’s children are, but her attorneys have denied that claim.
“Mrs. Pawlowski has cooperated with law enforcement, including meeting for hours with the FBI on three separate days. As she told the FBI, Melani does not know the whereabouts of the missing children of her aunt, Lori Vallow,” her attorney Robert P. Jarvis said in a news release, according to NBC.
The court papers state Pawlowski’s new husband, Ian, reached out to law enforcement after she allegedly expressed worry about Joshua and Tylee because Vallow and Daybell told her “their children had been possessed and had become zombies,” NBC reported.
“She shared concerns that she’s been told Brandon needed to die and that may indicate that Tylee and JJ needed to die as well,” the document alleges, according to NBC.
The documents also state Pawlowski’s husband also shared information with authorities about an Oct. 2 shooting that narrowly missed Boudreaux as he was returning home from the gym.
“What I shared with the police were the ideas that Chad, Lori and Alex [Vallow’s brother] may have planned shooting at Brandon and that Tylee and JJ may be in serious danger if Melani’s fears have any validity,” Ian allegedly wrote, according to East Idaho News.
The filing also mentions a cult-like religion, and concepts such as teleportation, which Pawlowski allegedly said she learned about through interactions with Vallow and Daybell, according to NBC.
How the case unfolded
Vallow had been under investigation in the case since her son’s grandparents reported him missing Nov. 25, but Vallow lied to police and vanished from her Idaho apartment just as authorities were preparing to carry out a welfare check, according to reports.
Before she left Rexburg, Vallow reportedly told neighbors she sent JJ to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to spend time with his grandparents, which turned out to be untrue, according to investigators.
Police next announced the children missing in December.
After Vallow resurfaced in Hawaii, police served her with a court order from Idaho that gave her five days to bring the children in front of a judge by Jan. 31, a deadline she missed.
The focus of the investigation has turned to Yellowstone National Park, not far from the family’s last known residence, where the family took photos Sept. 8. Police say it was the last day Tylee was ever seen. The FBI has released photos to the public in hopes that someone there that day would recognize the family and contact them with information.
Police in Rexburg said Vallow never reported the children missing and never cooperated with their investigation. But Vallow’s Hawaii lawyer claimed she had not produced the children because she did not want them to go into foster care, according to reports.
Three suspicious deaths
Her arrest Feb. 20 was the culmination of months of efforts by federal, state and local agencies working around the clock to find the children and to explain three other suspicious deaths connected to the case.
Vallow married Daybell only two weeks after his previous wife of 30 years died in October, police said. Tammy Daybell’s body has since been exhumed for an autopsy, reports said.
Two months later, in December, Lori’s brother Alex Cox also died of unknown causes, according to reports. Cox, who appeared in the Sept. 8 photos at Yellowstone, claimed self-defense in the July 2019 shooting death of Lori’s previous husband, Charles Vallow, and he was never arrested or charged.
Reports say Arizona authorities are continuing to investigate Cox’s death.
Ex-husband felt threatened
Daybell, an author of several novels about near-death experiences and the apocalypse, reportedly developed a relationship with Vallow while she was still married. He is reportedly Vallow’s fifth husband.
According to multiple news reports, members of Vallow’s extended family have told authorities that Vallow joined a “cult” with Daybell and that the two were preparing for the end of the world.
Before his death, Charles Vallow filed for a protection order against Lori after she allegedly began making threats to kill him.
He confided to family members that Lori was cheating and claiming to be a god, according to The Arizona Republic. He was in the process of filing for divorce when he was killed, according to news reports.
Daybell is not facing any charges in the case and maintains that he and Vallow have done nothing wrong.
He told news media in Hawaii back in February that “the kids are safe,” according to a report in the Huffington Post, citing ABC News.
A wide-ranging investigation is continuing.
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