Maricopa County grand jury indicts Lori Vallow on conspiracy to murder ex-husband in Chandler

The Arizona Republic/June 29, 2021

By Perry Vandell

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced on Tuesday afternoon that a grand jury indicted Lori Vallow on one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of her former husband, Charles Vallow.

Lori Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, also face murder charges in another case in Idaho on suspicion of killing two of her children. The case has sparked international interest, partly because of a string of deaths around the family, including some in Arizona, and Vallow and Daybell's "cultlike" religious beliefs in which they often spoke of the end of the world.

Chandler police previously said that Charles Vallow was a Texas resident who was visiting his estranged wife and their children in her home at Mesquite Grove Estates — a gated community near Chandler Heights and Gilbert Road — when the two began arguing on July 11, 2019.

Lori's brother, Alexander Cox, was also at the home and told police he intervened after fearing the fight would become physical.

In a recording of a 911 call released by Chandler police, Cox said he shot Charles Vallow in the chest with his .45 caliber gun in self-defense after Charles struck him in the head with a baseball bat.

When officers arrived at the scene, Cox could be seen on body camera video exiting the home with both of his hands up. He sat on a curb in front of the home, where he was recorded on video telling a police officer what happened.

Chandler police questioned Lori Vallow and Cox but ultimately released them. No criminal charges were filed at the time. After further investigation, Chandler police said they found evidence that Vallow and Cox conspired to kill Charles Vallow before the incident occurred.

According to the indictment, Lori Vallow "agreed with Alexander Cox that at least one of them or another" would murder Charles Vallow.

Several months before his death, Charles Vallow filed for divorce from Lori Vallow in Maricopa County Superior Court, where he alleged she believed she was a god and had threatened to kill him.

Maricopa County attorney: This is a 'complex, difficult' case

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel issued a written statement on Tuesday praising law enforcement for its work in investigating Charles Vallow's death.

“Complex, difficult cases of this nature take time to properly investigate and solve," Adel said. "I appreciate the tremendous number of hours the dedicated officers of the Chandler Police Department have invested, and my office is equally committed to bringing those responsible for Charles Vallow’s death to justice.”

Jennifer Liewer, a County Attorney's Office spokesperson, told The Arizona Republic that Vallow's court case in Idaho must be resolved before she can be extradited to Arizona to face this latest charge.

Cox died in December 2019. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office determined his cause of death to be bilateral pulmonary thromboemboli, a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot.

Fox 10's Justin Lum interviewed Kay and Larry Woodcock on Tuesday, the former of whom is Charles Vallow's sister.

"We are ecstatic about this," Larry Woodcock told Lum. "We know it's not going to end soon. We know it's going to take time. We accept that. We want the i's dotted. We want the t's crossed."

Lori Vallow ruled unfit to stand trial in May

Phoenix police are reviewing the death of Lori Vallow's third ex-husband, Joseph Ryan, after new evidence cast doubts on whether Ryan died of natural causes.

In a recording given to The Arizona Republic by Annie Cushing, Ryan's sister, Lori Vallow can be heard justifying murder through Bible Scriptures just months later.

Ryan and Vallow are the parents of Tylee Ryan, whose body was found with that of Vallow's other child, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, in June at the Idaho home of Chad Daybell, Vallow's new husband.

Vallow and Daybell were charged with murder and conspiracy as well as destroying or concealing two sets of human remains.

Vallow and her children had lived in the Valley for years.

Vallow and Daybell will stand trial together, an Idaho judge said on Oct. 29, 2020, according to The Associated Press.

However, the judge in that case issued a stay order after an outside psychologist found Lori Vallow was unfit for trial in May.

Prosecutors contested the ruling that Vallow is "not competent to proceed," and Fremont County Judge Steven Boyce wrote in his stay order that a hearing would be scheduled over the dispute.

Until the issue can be resolved, the stay will remain, Boyce ruled.

It was not immediately clear how that stay may affect the case in Maricopa County.

Republic reporter Chelsea Curtis contributed to this article.

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