A look at how the missing children saga first unfolded in Arizona
PHOENIX - As a five-day deadline looms for a mother of two missing kids with Arizona ties to physically show that her children are safe to authorities in Idaho, it is hard to forget the saga surrounding Lori Vallow actually began in Chandler, when her former husband, Charles Vallow, was murdered by her brother, Alex Cox.
After Lori and her new husband, Chad Daybell, were found in Hawaii, Lori was served with a court order that required her to appear in Idaho within five days of being served with the order, and show her children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan, are safe.
Following the death of Charles, Cox also died, and the autopsy report is pending. Now, FOX 10 has learned that the disappearance of Lori's children singlehandedly kept the fatal shooting investigation open, even though Lori has never been considered a suspect.
Bodycam video from Chandler Police captured the last time Chandler Police officers ever met with Lori on July 11, 2019. She returned to an active crime scene where Charles was shot dead by her brother after a fight inside her home.
According to police, Lori heard the shots fired, but drove off in Charles’ rental car with her kids. When she comes back, she's seen smiling with Tylee, having just dropped off JJ at school.
The police report states Cox committed second-degree murder, but Chandler Police Detective Seth Tyler says at this time, the shooting has been determined to be in self-defense, so it remains a homicide investigation, and there are no charges ready to be filed.
Just two weeks before Christmas, police in Gilbert found Cox dead, in a critical piece to the case.
"We have Alex [Cox] dying and Lori disappearing, so these are things that are the reason why we kept the report open," said Tyler. "If we have the opportunity, we would love to talk to Lori again and just get additional information, glean additional information, and we would love the opportunity to speak with Tylee again as well."
It remains to be seen if Lori will show up to the Department of Health and Welfare in Rexburg, Idaho with JJ and Tylee by the end of business on Thursday.