‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow was back in Idaho court on Friday wearing a face mask to ask a judge to reduce her bond amount from $1million to $10,000.
Vallow’s defense attorney Mark Means had filed a motion seeking a bond reduction last month, claiming that he did not have adequate opportunity to confidentially communicate in jail with his client.
At the start of the hearing, Means asked the presiding judge to strike from the record 18 pages of affidavits filed by Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Rob Wood on Thursday opposing his bond reduction motion, arguing that Wood had a month to respond but chose to do it less than 24 hours before the hearing.
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Lori Vallow is pictured wearing a face mask during Friday’s bond reduction hearing in Idaho
Defense attorney Mark Means (left) and Prosecutor Rob Wood (right) clashed over Wood’s last-minute filing of documents opposing to the lawyer’s bond reduction motion
Wood pushed back, saying he did not have a legal obligation to file his response containing new case law and accusations well in advance, and the judge ultimately sided with the prosecution, declining to strike the affidavits from the record.
Means’ bond reduction request hinged on his claim that officials at the Madison County Detention Center had on multiple occasions secretly recorded his confidential phone conversations with Vallow, after assuring him that the recording device was off.
Means told the judge that he was later told by Wood that his call was accidentally taped, only to learn from the affidavits filed by the prosecution the day before that there were multiple recordings of his conversations with Vallow, which he said included ‘sensitive’ details concerning her case.
He also claimed that the phone calls were shared with other parties before being deleted.
The hearing comes as Vallow’s niece has revealed that she never once saw her aunt’s two children since moving next door to the family in Idaho and never questioned their whereabouts.
Melanie Pawlowski and her second husband, Ian, sat down with Dateline presenter Keith Morrison to talk about the twisted case, with the couple urging the public to reserve judgment.
Vallow, 42, faces charges of child neglect and desertion in connection to the disappearance of her daughter, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, and her seven-year-old son, Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, who have not been seen of heard from since September 2019.
Melani Pawlowski (left) said on Dateline she believes eventually, everything will be exposed about her aunt, Lori Vallow (right), who is jailed in Idaho in connection to the disappearance of her kids
Melani’s husband, Ian Pawlowski (right), told Keith Morrison he is hopeful Vallow will present a valid reason for what had happened
‘Eventually, everything will be exposed and then we’ll know, but until then I can’t make any judgement on things,’ Melani said in a brief preview video promoting the full two-hour episode of NBC’s Dateline airing at 9pm ET/8pm CT on Friday.
Ian Pawlowski added: ‘we’re waiting to see, you know, Lori’s gonna have her day in court. She’s gonna present her defense. And we are hoping there is some reason behind it.’
Both spouses expressed hope that ‘the truth will be revealed’ and that Vallow will have a ‘story to tell’ in court.
During the interview, Melanie also revealed that since moving next door to Vallow in Rexburg, Idaho, last November, she never once saw either one of her children.
Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 17, were last seen in Idaho in September in Rexburg, Idaho, and authorities are still searching for them
‘I’d ask Lori [where the kids were],’ she recounted. ‘I wasn’t close with Tylee in her teenage years. She was very independent, so if Lori said she was with friends, I just believed her.’
The program also features an interview with Vallow’s eldest son, Colby Ryan, who issued yet another plea for his mother to reveal the location of his siblings.
Colby Ryan (left) pleaded with his mother Lori to reveal the truth about her missing children during an interview with NBC’s Dateline airing on Friday
Ryan has repeatedly called for his mother to cooperate with police searching for the children.
‘It hurts so much – and on top of that we have a million questions,’ he told Morrison. ‘You can’t call your own mom, can’t go to her house and see your siblings – you’re just out in the cold.’
Ryan described attending the January 30 court hearing in Madison County, Idaho, where Vallow had been ordered to produce the children after police tracked her down in Hawaii.
Lori never turned up at the hearing, prompting her arrest three weeks later.
‘We were so confused, like how do you not produce the kids?’ Ryan said. ‘That’s the whole reason you’re in jail right now.’
Ryan also described attending the January 30 court hearing in Madison County, Idaho, where Lori failed to produce her children, prompting her arrest weeks later. The son told Dateline: ‘We were so confused, like how do you not produce the kids? That’s the whole reason you’re in jail right now.’ Ryan is pictured outside the Madison County Court with his wife
Authorities began searching for JJ and Tylee in late November after Lori and her new husband, doomsday author Chad Daybell, fled their home in Idaho when police started to ask questions about the children.
When officers first went to Vallow’s home in Idaho on November 26, she told them that JJ was visiting relatives in Arizona – which investigators say was a lie.
Officers returned the following day and found that Lori and Chad had fled from the home.
The couple were named persons of interest in the children’s disappearance in mid-December.
Rexburg police have accused Vallow of repeatedly lying about where JJ and Tylee are and refusing to cooperate with investigators conducting a multi-state search.
They’ve said they ‘strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger’ and that Lori knows what happened to the kids.
Authorities tracked Lori and Chad down in the Kauai town of Princeville on January 25 and served the mother with a court order requiring her to physically produce the children to authorities in Idaho within five days.
After she failed to do so, Lori was arrested on charges of child abandonment and desertion on February 20.
She was later extradited back to Idaho, where she remains behind bars at Madison County Jail in lieu of $1million bond.
Lori married Chad Daybell on a Kauai beach on November 5 – weeks after her kids disappeared and days after Chad’s previous wife Tammy died
The case captured nationwide attention with the revelations that police are also investigating four mysterious deaths linked to Lori and Chad, as well as family members’ claims that the couple are members of a dangerous doomsday cult.
Timeline of JJ and Tylee’s disappearance
July 11: Lori Vallow’s husband, Charles Vallow, is killed by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona
August: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho
September 23: The last time JJ was seen at his school in Idaho
October 19: Chad Daybell’s wife Tammy dies at their Idaho home
October 25: A friend of Tylee receives a text from her phone
November 5: Lori and Chad marry
November 26: Out-of-state relatives ask Idaho police to perform a welfare check on JJ. Lori and Chad claim he is in Arizona with relatives. Police also learn Tylee has not been seen since September, either
November 27: Police execute a search warrant at Lori and Chad’s home, discovering the couple have fled Idaho
December 11: Tammy Daybell’s body is exhumed from the Utah cemetery
December 12: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, believed to have died in Arizona
December 21: Police issue a press release about JJ and Tylee, revealing they believe their disappearance is linked to Tammy’s death
December 24: Lori and Chad issue a statement through an attorney saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing ‘allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor’
December 30: Police accuse Lori and Chad of lying to investigators and say they believe the couple know where the kids are or what happened to them
January 26: Lori and Chad are seen for the first time in months as police serve two search warrants in Kaua’i
January 30 Lori misses court deadline to produce the children to authorities
February 20: Lori is arrested in Kauai
The first death is that of Lori’s third husband, Joseph Ryan, who died of an apparent heart attack in 2018.
Last month, reports emerged that the FBI was looking into Ryan’s death aged 59 as part of the search for Tylee, his daughter, and JJ.
The second death was that of Lori’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was shot dead by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona on July 11.
Charles and Lori had gotten into an argument when the father came to pick up JJ at the mother’s home in Chandler.
Lori’s brother intervened and fatally shot Charles.
Police initially determined that he acted in self defense – but the case was reopened amid the multi-state search for JJ and Tylee, who had moved to Idaho, where Chad lived, with their mother in August.
The third mysterious death was Tammy Daybell – Chad’s previous wife – who was found dead at the couple’s home in Salem, Idaho, on October 19.
An obituary stated that Tammy passed away in her sleep and her cause of death was ruled as natural after Chad reportedly declined an autopsy.
Investigators reopened the case after learning that JJ and Tylee were missing, as their mother had married Chad just two weeks after Tammy died. They believe the two cases could be linked.
Tammy’s body was exhumed on December 11 and the autopsy results have not yet been released.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office recently took over the investigation into Tammy’s death, which names Lori and Chad as suspects.
On December 12, Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, was found dead in Gilbert, Arizona.
The 51-year-old’s death is now under investigation as police wait for an autopsy to determine the cause.
An additional untimely death close to Lori was unearthed this week: her older sister Stacey Lynne Cox Cope.
Stacey died aged 31 in 1998. The cause is unclear and there is no suggestion Lori was involved in her death.
Four people with links to Lori Vallow have suffered untimely deaths(top in court on March 6). Those deaths are: Lori’s brother Alex Cox (left), her new husband Chad Daybell’s previous wife Tammy Daybell (second left), her fourth husband Charles Vallow (center), her third husband Joseph Ryan (second right). Her sister Stacey Cox Cope (right) died in 1998. It’s not clear what the cause of Cope’s death was
Stacey’s daughter, Melani Pawlowski, has emerged as one of the key figures in the case surrounding Lori, following reports that she joined her aunt’s doomsday cult.
Melani’s estranged husband, Brandon Boudreaux, accused her of attempting to kill him in a drive-by shooting last fall and claims that she knows where the missing children are but won’t cooperate with authorities.
Melani has denied those claims, including in an interview with Dateline airing on Friday.
‘Melani essentially appeared to want to present that all is fine,’ Morrison told the East Idaho News of the interview. ‘She acted like: “I don’t know of any problems whatsoever. We were all just doing our own thing and anything that seemed suspicious was merely a coincidence.”
‘She’s a sweet, very attractive young woman who looks at you with big eyes and says it’s absolutely the truth. The viewers can look at it and see what they think.’
Morrison seeks to explain how Melani fits into the doomsday cult allegations surrounding Chad and Lori.
Previous reports claimed that Melani thought Brandon had been possessed by a demon, and that Lori and Chad had told her they thought JJ and Tylee were ‘zombies’.
‘There are all these people who surround Chad and Lori who appear to be part of this group,’ Morrison said.
‘When you hear people talk seriously about evil spirits inhabiting their spouses or members of their family, or people becoming zombies and needing to be eliminated, you’re getting into some serious stuff.
‘And those are the kinds of materials we have found ourselves dealing with over this period of time.’
Melani Boudreaux Pawlowski, became one of the key figures in the missing children’s case earlier this year after her estranged husband Brandon Boudreaux (pictured together) claimed that she joined a dangerous Doomsday cult with her aunt Lori
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