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Email Suggests Authorities ‘Closer’ to Indicting Lori Vallow in Ex-Husband’s Death


Authorities are still looking for Lori Vallow Daybell’s children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, who were last seen in Sept. 2019. But law enforcement isn’t just investigating the felony child desertion case brought against the defendant in Idaho. There’s also the matter of her ex-husband’s July 2019 death in Arizona.

According to an email obtained by Fox 10 Phoenix, detectives believe they are “closer” to indicting Lori Vallow in connection with the homicide of Charles Vallow, 62.

The March 24 email from Chandler Police Det. Nathan Moffat to an unidentified source read as follows:

I am not sure what is meant by this email. We continue to work on Charles’ case and are confident we are getting closer to getting Lori indicted for her involvement in Charles’ death. My phone is always on and I am here to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you have.


Chandler Police Sgt. Jason McClimans told the local news outlet that “The investigation is still ongoing and detectives have and still are working hard to determine what exactly occurred on the day of Charles’ death.”

He did not speculate on Moffat’s email, said he was “not familiar with it” and that he was unable to speak with the detective.

Charles Vallow, JJ’s adoptive dad, was shot and killed on July 11, 2019 by Lori Vallow’s brother Alex Cox. Cox, who insisted the killing was in self-defense, died in Dec. 2019 of unclear causes. The homicide occurred at the home where Lori Vallow lived with the children, cops said.

Cox claimed he shot Charles Vallow after Vallow hit him in the head with a baseball bat during a dispute.

“It was over my sister,” Cox said. “He was getting physical with her, so my niece came out with her bat and he took the bat away with her.”

But Charles Vallow’s ex-wife Cheryl Wheeler told Fox 10 that the father of her two sons was “not a violent human being.”

“Number two, he would have — Alex would have at least passed out, if not dead,” Wheeler said, suspicious of Cox’s account.

The lead-up to the homicide and the immediate aftermath was, simply put, strange.

Charles Vallow wrote a June 29 email, in which he claimed his then-wife Lori made a fake account to communicate with Chad Daybell, according to cops in a Fox 10 Phoenix report. Lori Vallow allegedly pretended to be Charles Vallow in an email to Daybell. Charles Vallow suggested that Lori Vallow and Daybell were “up to something.” Lori Vallow and (her fifth husband) Daybell ended up getting married–while her kids were missing and about two weeks after Daybell’s wife Tammy Daybell died.

The widow and her children moved from Arizona to Idaho shortly after the shooting. She withdrew her son JJ from his school via phone and email on Sept. 5, claimed she received a job promotion in California, and said Charles Vallow died by suicide the previous month, school officials reportedly said.

Lori and Charles Vallow had been on the outs for months before the shooting. The late husband filed divorce papers in court back in Feb. 2019, claiming that his wife professed to be a “god” preparing for the Second Coming of Christ.

After Charles Vallow’s death, one of his sons claimed that Lori informed him of his father’s death in a text message but avoided going into detail about what happened.

“I was initially in disbelief because I had just talked to my dad,” one son told East Idaho News. “I was texting him and I remember calling him a couple times the morning he had gotten shot, and he didn’t respond. It was really weird. He usually returns calls and texts relatively fast, so something was off.”

While her children were missing, Vallow and Daybell got married and then went to Hawaii. 

Although Daybell has not been charged with a crime, Vallow finally arrested in Hawaii in late February after leaving Rexberg, Idaho in a hurry. According to a recent court filing, Vallow referred to her own two children as “zombies” around the time they went missing.

The FBI has also reportedly been asking questions about the death of Lori Vallow’s third husband, Joseph Ryan.

Joshua Vallow has brown hair, has brown eyes, stands 4’0″, and weighs 50 pounds, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Tylee Ryan has blonde hair, has blue eyes, stands 5’0″, and weighs 160 pounds. Officials have said the boy “may be in need of medical attention.”

Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and Tylee Ryan

Alberto Luperon and Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

[Image via East Idaho News screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.