Mother of missing Idaho kids waives extradition, bail confirmed at $5 million: What we know now

USA Today/February 27, 2020

By Ryan W. Miller and Jordan Culver

Lori Vallow, the mother of two Idaho children missing since September, will be sent back to Idaho to face myriad charges, including felony child desertion.

Vallow, also known as Lori Daybell, waived extradition Wednesday after a Hawaii judge confirmed her bail at $5 million, denying a request from her attorney to reduce the amount at a hearing that was livestreamed by KIDK-TV in Idaho.

Wednesday's hearing came as new subpoenas were filed in Idaho seeking records from officials with one of the children’s schools and with properties in Hawaii, where Vallow and her new husband Chad Daybell have been living.

Vallow’s two children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, have not been seen since September, and the bizarre case spans multiple states, suspicious death investigations and claims of “cult”-like religious beliefs.

Police said that Vallow and Daybell have repeatedly lied about the children’s whereabouts and that the children may be in danger.

Vallow was arrested last week in Kauai on felony child desertion charges, misdemeanor contempt of court and other charges.

Lori Vallow's bail reduction request denied by Hawaii judge

Vallow's request to have her $5 million bail reduced was denied.

In a court filing and in arguments before a judge, Vallow's attorney, Craig De Costa, said equivalent felonies in Hawaii usually have bail set between $2,000 and $20,000.

During Wednesday's hearing, De Costa said Vallow is not a flight risk "just because the state of Idaho decided to file charges against her after she'd already gone through a previously-planned move."

De Costa asked the judge to "ignore the publicity" and to "ignore the hype" and "set bail the way this court would [for] any other individual under these circumstances."

The judge, after listening to arguments from De Costa and from prosecutors for about 10 minutes, denied Vallow's request and confirmed bail at $5 million.

Before the hearing, prosecutors argued Vallow was a flight risk who could  afford to flee Hawaii.

"Lori and Chad (Daybell) have resources sufficient to help them travel and hide from law enforcement and the court," police wrote in a probable cause affidavit filed before Vallow's arrest.

According to the affidavit, Daybell received $430,000 from a life insurance policy after his wife's death in October. Police initially believed Tammy Daybell, 49, died of natural causes but have since exhumed her remains and said her death may be suspicious.

Prosecutors also said Daybell had $152,000 in a First Hawaiian Bank account.

After's Vallow's request for a bail reduction was denied, De Costa presented the judge with a waiver of extradition, setting the stage for Vallow to return to Idaho to face charges.

Report: Yellowstone National Park may be searched for missing children

CBS News, citing unnamed sources, reported that investigators are considering searching Yellowstone National Park for Vallow's missing children.

Police say Tylee was at the park on Sept. 8 but has not been seen since. Investigators obtained photographs of the girl, along with her brother, mother and late uncle, Alex Cox, at the park. Police said this is the last time they have any record of Tylee being with her mother or being seen.

Park officials declined to comment in an email to USA TODAY and referred questions to the Rexburg Police Department in Idaho.

Joshua was last seen Sept. 23 at Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg, where he was enrolled for three weeks after Vallow moved him and his sister to Idaho.

Subpoenas issued in Idaho to Joshua's school, Hawaii properties

The Madison County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in Idaho filed three subpoena orders Tuesday seeking Joshua's school and two Hawaiian property owners to produce records related to the case by March 9.

Kennedy Elementary School was ordered to produce any and all records pertaining to Joshua from July 1 to the present and answer questions under oath.

Vickie Barton at Kennedy Elementary School confirmed to USA TODAY the school was complying with Madison County prosecutors and had given them the records they sought.

The prosecutor's office also sought records from the owners of the couple's Hawaiian rental property and the hotel Kauai Beach Resort and for them to appear in court for questioning as well.

Owners for the two Hawaii properties did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment.

Vallow case linked to multiple suspicious deaths, allegations of 'cult'

Underpinning the case are a string of deaths that have followed Vallow and Daybell and concerns raised by family members of radical, apocalyptic religious beliefs.

When police announced in December that the children were missing, they also said they were looking into Tammy Daybell's death. Autopsy results are pending.

Tammy and Chad Daybell had been married for roughly 30 years with five children. Within weeks of her death, he and Vallow married on a beach in Hawaii with the children nowhere to be seen.

Lori Vallow was living in Arizona with her children when her ex-husband, Charles Vallow, was fatally shot by her brother, Alex Cox, in July. Cox claimed self-defense, but police were investigating the death as a homicide, though no arrests were made.

Cox died in December in Arizona, and police said his death remains under investigation as well, with autopsy results pending.

Another ex-husband of Lori's, and Tylee Ryan's biological father, Joseph Ryan, died of apparent heart disease in 2018.

More than 10 years before his death, Ryan was attacked by Cox in Texas, after a supervised visit with Tylee. Cox tased Ryan, then threatened to kill him, according to court records.

Cox was convicted the following year of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to three months in jail, according to court records.

In a "Dateline" special on the case, friends and family tied Vallow and Daybell to a podcast group that held divergent and extreme beliefs, including an imminent coming of the apocalypse.

In divorce filings, Charles Vallow alleged 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, who grew up as an active member in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has written dozens of books focusing on near-death experiences and the end times.

In a 2017 autobiography, he described experiences of being visited by spirits of deceased relatives and visions of "the decline and downfall of the United States" and an "upcoming foreign invasion of America."

Contributing: Chelsea Curtis, The Arizona Republic; The Associated Press

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