The story of "Cult Mom" Lori Vallow and her missing children has caught national attention, but there are a lot of details to keep straight in the case. Vallow's story has played out over nearly a year now, leaving a trail of clues that may relate to the disappearance of her children. Investigators are scrambling to make sense of what they have.
Vallow case has been rising in profile over recent months as the mysteries surrounding her mount up. At least two mysterious deaths and another shooting seem to be connected to Vallow, as well as the disappearance of her children — 17-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old J.J.
Vallow has consistently shocked the world with her apparently blasé attitude towards her missing children. She left her home state of Idaho while the investigation into their disappearance was ongoing, flying to Hawaii to marry her new husband. Freemont County Sheriff Len Humphries told CBS News that Vallow's behavior was unusual.
"You would expect parents, and specifically Lori as a mother, to be a little more responsive about what's going on with their children," he said.
In addition, Vallow's story is dramatic due to the involvement of apocalyptic prophecies. Vallow's new husband, Chad Daybell, is a self-published author known for writing about biblically-inspired doomsday scenarios, near-death experiences and doomsday prepping. This has led to the impression that he, Vallow and those in their orbit share fanatical ideologies that might have played a part in the mysterious crimes around them.
The investigations into Vallow and the disparate crimes connected to her are all ongoing, and so far Daybell has yet to be charged with a crime. Here is a timeline breaking down the events in chronological order.
NEW INFO: Chandler PD tells Fox 10 that detectives are investigating an email allegedly sent from Lori Vallow's former husband Charles Vallow before his death (7/11). Charles was shot and killed by Lori's brother Alex Cox who claimed self-defense. #fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/aQPWaK7O7a— Justin Lum Fox 10 (@jlumfox10) March 1, 2020
Police in Chandler, Arizona have acquired a "suspicious" collection of emails sent and received by Lori Vallow's ex-husband, Charles Vallow, according to a report by KSL-TV. It began with a fake email account created in Charles' name and used to send messages to Chad Daybell.
"I would gladly fly you down here early next week," one message read. "You could stay in our guest room like before. I hate to take you away from your family, but I would definitely make it worth your time."
Charles reportedly contacted Lori, accusing her of creating the account and sending the messages. She did not respond, and Charles then emailed Lori's brother, Adam Cox.
"I'm not sure of the relationship with her and Chad Daybell but they are up to something... She will not explain it..." he wrote on June 29. "I am going to send it to Chad Daybell's wife. Her name is Tammy and I found her email address on their website too… I've got her cell number too."
It is not clear whether Charles ever reached out to Tammy Daybell.
2018. In August of 2019 year, Vallow's estranged or ex-husband, Charles Vallow, was shot to death by her brother, Alex Cox, after he filed for divorce; he claimed she believed she was married to the ancient Book of Mormon prophet Moroni, that she had lived numerous lives on pic.twitter.com/p4f44F2jOz— Missing Persons Planet (@Home4theMissing) January 8, 2020
On July 11, Charles was killed at the home where Lori was staying in Chandler, Arizona long with their son, J.J. He was there to pick up J.J. and a confrontation ensued, which ended with Lori's other brother, Alex Cox, shooting Charles. He told police he had fired in self-defense.
Soon after that, Vallow moved from Arizona to Rexburg, Idaho, where Daybell and his wife of 28 years, Tammy lived. According to a report by The Star Adviser, Alex Cox was living in the same apartment complex as Vallow at some point, but it was not clear if he moved at the same time as her.
J.J. Vallow was last seen in school on Sept. 23, 2019, according to KSL-TV. It was the day before Tylee's 17th birthday, but there is no word on when the last time Tylee was seen was.
Some reports list Sept. 23 as the day the children were reported missing, though KSL-TV reports that Vallow did not notify police that her kids were missing until over two months later. According to a report by PEOPLE, Vallow sent an email to J.J.'s school, disenrolling him and saying she was going to homeschool him from now on.
Meanwhile, some time in the fall, Lori Vallow's Niece Melani Pawlowski moved from Arizona to Rexburg, Idaho, taking an apartment in the same complex as Lori and Alex Cox. She reportedly left behind an estranged husband and re-married shortly after she relocated.
EXCLUSIVE: New docs reveal ex-husband of Lori Vallow's niece says Melani Boudreaux wanted him killed, "hoping to cash in" on policy to "help support the cult."
10/2/19 - Brandon Boudreaux is shot at. Jeep registered to Charles Vallow is suspect vehicle. Charles died in July. pic.twitter.com/TI2KL9w604— Justin Lum Fox 10 (@jlumfox10) February 23, 2020
In early October, Pawlowski's estranged husband Brandon Boudreaux was shot at outside of his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He said that there was a Jeep parked outside of his house waiting for him, which fired a single rifle shot at him before fleeing the scene. It missed his head by inches and shattered a window of his Tesla.
Boudreaux told police that he recognized the Jeep as the vehicle driven by teenage Tylee. The authorities eventually tracked down a Jeep registered to Charles Vallow — who had been dead for three months by then — in Rexburg, Idaho.
It was then that Boudreaux claimed that Pawlowski had knowledge of where Tylee and J.J. were. Pawlowski denied this accusation, and through her lawyer denied having "cult-like religious beliefs."
Also in October, Chad Daybell's longtime wife, 49-year-old Tammy Daybell died mysteriously in Salem, Idaho. She was buried in Springville, Utah. Her obituary claimed she died of "natural causes," but police have since exhumed her remains as a part of their ongoing investigations.
Brandon Boudreaux feels as if he is the "spouse who got away" from a cult that includes Chad, Lori, and Melani.
He wishes Charles Vallow and Tammy Daybell could have also survived, for the sake of the kids. Especially JJ and Tylee.
Now he fears for the life of his own kids. pic.twitter.com/u3eg4GW82L— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) February 23, 2020
Eleven days after the death of his wife, Chad Daybell married Lori Vallow in Hawaii on Nov. 5. Photos of their ceremony shocked viewers, who knew that Vallow's children were still missing. They smiled and danced on the beach, playing music and showing not a care in the world.
Vallow was reportedly uncooperative with Idaho police searching for her children, lying to them and offering as little information as possible. She first told authorities that J.J. was visiting with a friend in Arizona, though that family later said that they had not seen the 7-year-old in months.
According to PEOPLE, Vallow also told some witnesses that Tylee had died a year beforehand. yet another witness said that Chad Daybell had told them that Vallow had no minor children.
Police executed a search warrant on Vallow's home on Nov. 27, 2019. They soon searched the homes of Pawlowski, Alex Cox and Daybell as well, seizing computers, cell phones and journals as evidence.
In December, Alex Cox died of mysterious causes back in Gilbert, Arizona. Police are still investigating his death, and its connection to his earlier killing of Charles Vallow. According to PEOPLE, Vallow was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a home he was sharing with a woman he had just married 12 days prior. A toxicology test was conducted on his remains.
With police still investigating the disappearance of Lori Vallow's children in Idaho, she and Daybell reportedly took up a long-term residence in Kauai, Hawaii. The police departments across three states were in contact with each other, and many were confused as to why Vallow was not arrested and extradited at this time.
Police in Hawaii presented Lori Vallow with a court order on Jan. 25, demanding that she turn over her children to the police within five days. The deadline passed without sign of the children, and police said there was no sign that J.J. and Tylee were ever in Hawaii.
Finally, Vallow was arrested on Feb. 20. She was charged with two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, arrests and seizures, resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, contempt of court and willful disobedience of court process or order. Her bond was set at $5 million.
Vallow did not immediately enter a plea. Each count carried a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. Vallow was due back in court for an extradition hearing on March 2, but on Feb. 26 she waived her rights to that hearing, meaning she would be taken back to Idaho.
Chad Daybell returned to Idaho as well, though he has not been charged with any crimes. He gave one brief comment to ABC News, saying only: "the kids are safe."