The mother and sister of embattled ‘Cult Mom’ Lori Vallow have broken their silence to publicly defend her for the first time, saying they’re ‘certain’ her two missing children are alive but claim they haven’t been told where they are.
Vallow 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 or heard from since September 2019.
But speaking to CBS This Morning, Vallow’s mother Janice Cox and sister Summer Shiflet claim they know the 46-year-old would ever hurt either of her two children.
‘She’s invested her whole life in those children,’ Cox told the network. ‘So we know there’s another whole side to this. We don’t know what it is. But we know her.’
Neither Cox nor Shiflet would reveal where they believed JJ or Tylee were. They also failed to explain why Vallow has so far refused to cooperate with investigators trying to find out what happened to her children.
When asked about the matter, Cox and Shiflet both replied in unison: ‘Well, that’s a great question’, laughing towards one another as they spoke.
Vallow’s mother Janice Cox and sister Summer Shiflet claim the 46-year-old would never hurt either of her two children
Vallow, 46, 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
Tylee and JJ disappeared in September 2019, shortly after they moved to Rexburg, Idaho from Arizona
Tylee and JJ disappeared in September 2019, shortly after they moved to Rexburg, Idaho from Arizona.
Investigators say Tylee was last seen hiking in Yellowstone National Park with her family on September 8. Meanwhile, all traces of JJ vanished on September 23 – but Cox claims to have spoken to the missing 7-year-old by phone on October 1.
‘I talked to him,’ she said, before vaguely continuing, ‘He just takes the phone, you know, and he knows — you know, he knows who we are.’
Cox provided CBS News with a phone bill that she says shows the alleged call. Rexburg Police have not yet returned a DailyMail.com request for comment on Cox’s claim.
During the same fall the two children disappeared, Vallow married for the fifth time to Doomsday author Chad Daybell. Daybell’s wife of 29 years, Tammy, had died just weeks before.
Lori and Chad fled Idaho for Hawaii in late November, one day after police began asking questions about JJ and Tylee’s whereabouts.
Investigators say Tylee was last seen hiking in Yellowstone National Park with her family on September 8. Meanwhile, all traces of JJ vanished on September 23 – but Cox claims to have spoken to the missing 7-year-old by phone on October 1
‘I talked to him,’ she said, before vaguely continuing, ‘He just takes the phone, you know, and he knows — you know, he knows who we are’
Authorities later 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, and then brought back to Idaho where she is being held on a $1 million bond.
Despite the couple fleeing to Hawaii seemingly without JJ and Tylee, Cox insisted that Vallow ‘never’ expressed any resentment towards her children or blamed them for the failure of her previous four marriages.
When asked why, as a ‘loving grandmother’ and ‘loving aunt’, they hadn’t approached Vallow to reveal to them where the children are, Shiflet replied: ‘She can’t tell us.
‘She’s in jail. She’s not — everything’s recorded. So she’s not gonna tell us, she can’t discuss anything about the case,’ Shiflet said.
‘I’m positive beyond any doubt that they hasn’t harmed those kids,’ chimed Cox.
The case of missing JJ and Tylee captured nationwide attention when revelations that police are were also investigating three mysterious deaths linked to Lori and Chad surfaced, as well as family members’ claims that the couple are members of a dangerous doomsday cult.
When asked why, as a ‘loving grandmother’ and ‘loving aunt’, they hadn’t approached Vallow to reveal to them where the children are, Shiflet replied: ‘She can’t tell us. ‘She’s in jail. She’s not — everything’s recorded. So she’s not gonna tell us, she can’t discuss anything about the case’
During the same fall the two children disappeared, Vallow married for the fifth time to Chad Daybell (right). Daybell’s wife of 29 years, Tammy, had died just weeks before
The first death linked to the case was Tammy Daybell. Her death was initially listed as natural causes when Chad declined an autopsy. Many friends of Tammy have insisted that the 49-year-old was in great shape, casting doubt on the initial ruling.
Authorities exhumed Tammy’s body in December after determining that her death could be linked to the disappearance of JJ and Tylee.
The results of the autopsy and toxicology tests have not yet been released.
Despite the couple fleeing to Hawaii seemingly without JJ and Tylee, Cox insisted that Vallow ‘never’ expressed any resentment towards her children or blamed them for the failure of her previous four marriages
The second death was that of Charles Vallow, Lori’s husband of more than a decade who filed for divorce from her five months before he was shot and killed by her brother Alex on July 11, 2019.
Charles and Lori had gotten into an argument when he came to pick up JJ, their adoptive son, at her home in Chandler, Arizona.
Alex intervened and fired two fatal shots into Charles’ chest.
Police initially determined that Alex acted in self defense – but the case was reopened with the search for JJ and Tylee, who had moved to Idaho, where Chad lived, with their mother in August.
An email from Phoenix police that was leaked earlier this month revealed that investigators were close to charging Lori in connection with Charles’ death.
Court documents from early December indicated that Charles’ death was being investigated as ‘conspiracy murder’.
Less than two weeks later, Alex was found dead in Gilbert, Arizona, on December 12, the day after Tammy’s body was exhumed.
His death, at aged 51, is now under investigation as police wait for an autopsy to determine the cause.
An additional untimely death close to Vallow 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.
Chad Daybell and his ‘cult’ mom wife Lori Vallow are being investigated for the murder of his previous wife Tammy, new documents show. Tammy (pictured with Chad) was found dead under suspicious circumstances at their home in Idaho in October
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
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
Vallow’s request to have her bond lowered from $1million to between $100,000 and $250,000 was denied by an Idaho judge last week.
Prosecutors said ahead of the proceeding that a reduction should only be considered by the judge if Vallow could produce the children.
Vallow, who was wearing a face mask along with her jail uniform, had appeared in the mostly empty Idaho courtroom Friday while her lawyer argued for the lowered bond.
As part of his argument, Vallow’s defense attorney, Mark Means, asked the judge to consider a more ‘reasonable’ bond amount than the current $1million, given the coronavirus-induced economic situation, according to East Idaho News.
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.
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.
After the more than two hours of arguments offered by Means and the prosecutor, Magistrate Judge Michelle Mallard denied the lowered bond request by stating there wasn’t enough evidence to support Means’ motion.
‘I cannot find any good cause to reduce the bond further than it already has,’ Mallard said according to the newspaper. ‘I would advise Mr. Means consult with local defense attorneys who I’m sure have come up with alternatives during this time… about ways to surmount any virus problems at the jail in regards to communicating with clients.’
Vallow has so far refused to cooperate with investigators as to where her children are or what happened to them
Vallow’s request to have her bond lowered from $1million to between $100,000 and $250,000 was denied by an Idaho judge last week
The following day, FOX 10 reporter Justin Lum revealed that Vallow had asked Chad Daybell to determine whether her two children had ‘light or dark spirits’ nearly a year before they went missing.
On October 30 2018, Daybell emailed Vallow in response to her request for ‘family history documents’. He attached a rubric on light and dark spirits, and then graded her relatives accordingly.
He wrote in his message to Vallow: ‘Current numbers on Earth at this time of each estate level. These totals represent the ‘light’ spirits. The ‘dark’ has equal parts.’
He designated Vallow’s 17-year-old Tylee as a ‘4.1 dark spirit’, while her seven-year-old son Joshua ‘JJ’ was determined to be ‘a light spirit, level 4.2.’
Vallow’s niece, Melani Pawlowski also 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.
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.
‘I’d ask Lori [where the kids were],’ Pawlowski 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.
‘Eventually, everything will be exposed and then we’ll know, but until then I can’t make any judgement on things,’ she said.
Vallow’s niece, Melani Pawlowski (left) also 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
On October 30 2018, Daybell e-mailed Vallow in response to her request for ‘family history documents’. He attached a rubric on light and dark spirits, and then graded her relatives accordingly. The e-mail was discovered and published by FOX 10 reporter Justin Lum
Pawlowski has emerged as one of the key figures in the case surrounding Lori, following reports that she joined her aunt’s doomsday cult.
Her 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.
‘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.’