REXBURG, Idaho -- “Cult mom” Lori Vallow Daybell was reportedly sued by her ex-husband for allegedly hiding their daughter and breaking a child custody agreement in 2006 – years before two of her children disappeared, prompting national attention over the now nine-month-long missing persons’ case.
Vallow Daybell remains jailed in Idaho on a $1 million bond on child neglect and desertion charges in connection with the disappearance of her children 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, who have been missing from Rexburg since September.
An abandoned storage unit that was rented to Lori Vallow -- the mother of two missing Idaho children -- had children's items in it (Rexburg Police Department)
She was arrested in January in Hawaii, where she fled months earlier with her new and fifth husband, Chad Daybell, the author of several religious-themed doomsday novels.
Her third husband, Joseph Ryan, who was Tylee’s father, filed a motion against her in 2006, alleging she denied him all visitation rights and hid their daughter from him during the month of August that year, the Daily Mail reported Friday, citing court documents. He also claimed Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, assaulted him with a stun gun in a parking lot over the dispute.
Ryan and Vallow Daybell had divorced in 2004, and the two parents relocated from Texas amid a contentious child custody battle over Tylee, that lasted up until his death in 2018. His body was found inside his Arizona apartment, and his death ruled due to an apparent heart attack. He was cremated.
The FBI reportedly began investigating his death in May in connection with Vallow Daybell’s missing children’s case, according to People. His body was left in the apartment for over a week before a neighbor reported a foul smell. Lori, who was still listed as his next of kin, reportedly refused to claim her ex-husband’s body, allegedly claiming the world was better off without him.
In their first televised interview that aired on Saturday, Vallow’s Daybell’s mother, Janis Cox, and her sister, Summer Shiflet, insisted on CBS’ “48 Hours” that Lori would never do anything to hurt her children but provided few details on what they believe might have happened to them.
“Do you think they're in a bunker somewhere?” asked reporter Jonathan Vigliotti.
“I think that's possible,” Cox said without elaborating much further.
Vallow Daybell has been tied to a string of deaths.
She and Chad Daybell are under investigation for the unexpected death of his first wife of nearly 30 years, and mother to their five adult children, Tammy Daybell. Tammy died unexpectedly in their Idaho home in October and her death was ruled due to natural causes.
Lori and Chad married just weeks later. Tammy's death was later ruled suspicious and her body was exhumed for an autopsy, though the results have not been released.
Before she moved to Idaho, Lori’s brother, Alex Cox fatally shot her fourth husband Charles Vallow in Arizona in July. Cox claimed self-defense and was never arrested before he died inside his own Arizona home in December. An autopsy recently revealed he died from natural causes due to a blood clot.
Charles Vallow accused her in divorce papers of joining a doomsday cult, declaring herself a godsend to prepare the world for an imminent apocalypse.