Judge reduces bail for Lori Vallow, mom of two missing Idaho children, to $1 million

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Two siblings from Idaho have been missing for months and their mother, Lori Vallow, has now been arrested in connection with their disappearance.

USA TODAY

An Idaho judge reduced bail for Lori Vallow, the mother of two Idaho children who have not been seen in months, from $5 million to $1 million at a Friday court appearance.

Vallow, who told a judge she prefers to be called Lori Daybell after her recent marriage to Chad Daybell, returned to Iowa earlier this week after being arrested in Hawaii.

Vallow faces felony child desertion charges and other misdemeanors. Her children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, have been missing since September

Vallow’s defense team again asked for her bond to be reduced to $10,000, calling the $5 million bond unreasonable and excessive.

Judge Faren Z. Eddins set a number of conditions on the reduced bail, including that Vallow wear an ankle monitor if bail was posted.

Defense attorney Edwina Eyre Elcox argued Vallow’s appearance in court would be guaranteed in part by the media scrutiny surrounding the case and droves of people closely following her whereabouts.

While arguing for reduced bail, the defense disputed reports that Vallow fled to Hawaii last year, saying the move was previously planned. Her new husband, Chad Daybell, has now returned to reside Idaho, Vallow’s defense team said.

In response, prosecutor Robert Wood said Vallow left Idaho abruptly as police began investigating the missing children, has defied multiple previous court orders and has ties to multiple suspicious deaths.

Vallow has refused to help authorities locate the missing children, the state said.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 18 and 19, starting at 9 a.m. in Madison County.

Authorities say Vallow and her new husband have lied to investigators as the children may be in danger. Joshua was last seen Sept. 23 as his mother told his school he’d no longer be attending. Tylee was last seen Sept. 8 in Yellowstone National Park with her mother, brother and late uncle.

Vallow’s court date came a day after the Salt Lake City FBI office asked people who visited the national park on Sept. 8 to submit any photos that may contain the missing children or other members of their family.

The #FBI, @RexburgPolice are asking any visitors to @YellowstoneNPS on 9/8/19 submit multimedia that may show missing kids, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, their mother Lori Vallow and uncle, Alex Cox. Photos/videos can be submitted online at https://t.co/8jl2wJCAza. pic.twitter.com/LyujbanGh6

— FBI Salt Lake City (@FBISaltLakeCity) March 5, 2020

The twisting case spans multiple states, suspicious death investigations and allegations of “cult”-like apocalyptic religious beliefs.

Vallow and Daybell married in Hawaii just two weeks after his wife of 30 years, Tammy Daybell, died in Idaho. Her death was initially believed to be of natural causes, but her remains have since been exhumed as authorities investigate.

Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, was also found dead in December. Results from an autopsy are pending.

In July, Cox fatally shot Lori Vallow’s ex-husband, Charles Vallow, in Arizona. Cox claimed self-defense, but police said a homicide investigation was still open before Cox died.

Police announced the two children were missing in December after authorities tried to perform a welfare check on Joshua. Joshua’s biological grandmother and the sister of Charles Vallow, Kay Woodcock, informed authorities she hadn’t heard from the child in months.

Vallow, Daybell and Cox allegedly lied to police when the arrived at the Rexburg apartment complex where they had all been living. Vallow said the boy was staying in Arizona with a family friend, but police soon learned the child was not there. When police returned the next day, Vallow and Daybell had fled.

The couple had been in Hawaii since December and police said they do not believe the children traveled to Hawaii. In January, Vallow faced a court order to bring her children to officials in Rexburg, but she failed to do so.

She was arrested in Kauai last month and held on a $5 million bail.

Furthering interest in the case are allegations that Vallow and Daybell hold apocalyptic, divergent religious beliefs.

In divorce filings, Charles Vallow said Lori believed she was “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020.” Daybell has published dozens of books on near-death experiences and written about visions of “the decline and downfall of the United States” and an “upcoming foreign invasion of America.”

Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

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