CHANDLER, Arizona — This article was written by Eric Grossarth of East Idaho News.
Police in Arizona have released gigabytes of video interviews and other documents related to their investigation into the homicide of Charles Vallow, the former husband of Lori Vallow Daybell.
The case file released Tuesday comes after a grand jury indicted Daybell in June for conspiracy to murder for the July 11, 2019 shooting death of Vallow. Daybell’s brother Alex Cox initially told Chandler Arizona Police he shot and killed Vallow in self-defense, but investigators say the evidence does not support the claim.
“He (Cox) had stayed with me that night because I was worried he (Vallow) would come over and cause trouble with me and just wanted someone else there, my brother there because I trust my brother,” Vallow told a detective about the incident.
Daybell had described to detectives that morning Vallow became upset when she took his cell phone. According to her story, Tylee brought a baseball bat to the argument and Vallow took it and began swinging. Daybell and her two kids 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan were able to get out of the way. Cox then pulled out a gun and shot and killed his brother-in-law.
“He was just so angry, like super scary,” Daybell said. “…It was like something on his phone that he does not want me to see that he was like freaking out. To the point, I thought he would hit me in the back of the head to get the phone.”
The only time Daybell appeared emotional during the 54-minute long video was when police stepped out after talking to her for about 26 minutes. She grabbed a tissue and dabbed her eyes while making a brief sniffling sound.
Police also spoke with Cox who shared his side of events. Cox described a similar encounter to Daybell saying Tylee came out of her room with a metal baseball bat and Vallow took it from her. Cox says Vallow hit him in the head with the bat, prompting him to grab his gun from a bedroom.
“He’s (Vallow) like ‘what are you going to do, you going to threaten me?'” Cox tells a detective. “‘No I’m just going to defend myself so put that bat down.’ … and he came at me and he already hit me in the head.”
Cox then says he fired a couple of shots. An autopsy report obtained by EastIdahoNews.com shows Vallow was struck by two bullets, one to the stomach and another to the chest. Around 8:30 a.m. Cox called 911 to report the shooting.
“I got in a fight with my brother-in-law. and I shot him in self-defense,” Cox said in the 911 call.
After the interviews, both Cox and Daybell were free to go. In the months that followed, Tylee and JJ vanished after they moved to Rexburg with Daybell. The mother moved to be closer to Chad Daybell, who at the time was married to his wife, Tammy Daybell. She died on Oct. 19, 2019, and Lori and Chad got married in Hawaii.
Cox then died at his home on Dec. 12, 2019, and a medical examiner ruled his death to be of natural causes.
On June 9, 2020, investigators discovered the remains of JJ and Tylee buried in Chad’s backyard. Lori and Chad were charged with multiple crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder. The charges are in relation to the deaths of JJ, Tylee and Tammy.
Arizona prosecutors declined to charge Chad Daybell in connection to Vallow’s death, saying there was not enough evidence to say he was directly involved in the planning of his death and there was “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.”
In the released case file, investigators also spoke with others, including Tylee and Lori’s former Friend Melanie Gibb and associate Jason Mow. Cox’s wife Zulema Pastenes also spoke to investigators after prosecutors gave her immunity. You can watch the interviews below.
EastIdahoNews.com will continue to go through the case file released by Chandler Police and provide updates as that information is reviewed.