Lori Vallow's Niece Appears in Court in Arizona, Addresses Concerns Over Missing Idaho Children

The niece of Lori Vallow appeared in court Thursday in Arizona for a child custody hearing that involves allegations made by her ex-husband that she knows where Vallow's missing children may be. Melani Pawloswki is fighting for joint custody of her four children amid a divorce from ex-husband Brandon Bordeaux. In divorce papers filed last month, Bourdeaux claimed Pawloswki "is under investigation relating to the disappearance of her aunt's two missing children" and "knows the whereabouts of her aunt's two missing children."

JJ Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, were last seen in September, but were not reported missing until November. Their mother, Lori Vallow, was arrested and charged with desertion and lack of support of her children in Hawaii in connection to their disappearance. She is awaiting extradition to Idaho.

KNXV reports that During Thursday's court appearance, Pawloswki's lawyers said she has cooperated with the FBI several times in Idaho and gave them her laptop. "She made three separate interviews with them that took several hours. She did that on her own jeopardy," her attorney Garrett Smith said. "She did not invoke her right to remain silent as was her right to do. She cooperated and participated because she's got nothing to hide."

Bourdeaux has also claimed that Pawloswki followed Vallow to Idaho and joined a cult "where numerous members, adults and children alike have been killed off like flies." Pawloswki's lawyers said she doesn't share any extreme beliefs and is not part of any cults.

"The fact that she is fond of her Aunt Lori and wants to be with her is not anything to use to case aspersions against her," Smith said.

Bourdeaux also accuses Pawloswki and her uncle of attempting to murder him on Oct. 2. Bourdeaux asserts that on that night, he was in his car in front of his Gilbert, Arizona, home when someone fired a shot, striking his car just above his head.

Later, Bourdeaux said he found a rifle with a silencer in gray Jeep Wrangler registered to Vallow's ex-husband, Charles Vallow, who died in July in an incident with Lori Vallow's brother. Bourdeaux believes Pawloswki was "hoping to cash in on that [insurance] policy to help support the cult that she is believed to be a part of."

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In court documents refuting his claims, Pawloswki accused Bourdeaux of "questionable business dealings in Arizona," and went on to say that "there are many people who believe [Bordeaux] stole from them or financially harmed them."

Bourdeaux was not at Thursday's hearings. The judge set another hearing for March 26.