PHOENIX (AP) — Newly released police records show a man who was killed last summer when picking up his son from his estranged wife in Chandler was confronted by his baseball bat-wielding stepdaughter, shortly before her uncle killed him during a dispute.
The killing of Charles Vallow occurred months before his son, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and stepdaughter, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, went missing.
Authorities say Vallow’s wife, Lori Vallow, and her new husband never reported the children missing and disappeared soon after being questioned about the children, who remain missing.
Investigators previously provided an account of the July 11 death, but police in Chandler released records on Monday that revealed Ryan confronted Vallow shortly before the shooting.
Ryan came out of her room with the metal bat after she was awakened by yelling outside her bedroom door. Ryan, who was trying to defend her mother, told police that her stepfather was too close, so she told him to back up, but he managed to take away the bat, according to police records.
Police say Lori Vallow’s brother, Alexander Lamar Cox, was at the home and intervened, beginning a confrontation in which Charles Vallow struck the back of Cox’s head with the bat. Cox told police that he then went to his bedroom, got his gun and demanded that Vallow leave.
Cox told police that he fired in self-defense after Vallow refused to drop the bat and came after him. Cox told investigators that it didn’t occur to him to remain in the room and call police. Cox reported the shooting to 911, performed CPR on Vallow and answered questions from investigators, according to police records.
"I got into a fight with my brother-in-law and I shot him in self-defense," Cox said at the time in a call to 911.
Cox wasn’t arrested as a result of the shooting. He died in December of unknown causes. Gilbert police spokeswoman Brenda Carrasco said Cox’s death remains under investigation. Autopsy reports haven’t yet been publicly released.
"It does make it more challenging and we can't obviously interview him anymore, so we are still collecting evidence that can be extra interviews in regards to Lori, digital evidence," said Sgt. Jason McClimans with Chandler police.
In a police video, Cox told investigators that the two children and their mother had left the house shortly before the shooting occurred. He described Vallow as enraged.
“He came at me with the bat again after he already hit me in the head, so I shot him to stop him,” Cox told an officer while sitting on a curb outside the home.
Four months before his death, Vallow filed for divorce from his wife, alleging that she had become infatuated with near death experiences and claimed to have lived numerous lives on other planets before her current life.
He also alleged his estranged wife threatened to financially ruin and kill him, according to court records, which noted that Vallow sought an order of protection and a voluntary evaluation of his wife at a mental health facility.
Since Vallow’s death, Lori moved to Rexburg, Idaho, with the kids and married Chad Daybell, an author of several religious-themed fiction books about prophecies and the end of the world.
Two months after Lori Vallow moved to Idaho, Daybell’s then-wife, Tammy Daybell, died at her home. She was 49, and her obituary said she died of natural causes on Oct. 19. Police would later question that and have her body exhumed for an autopsy. Results haven’t been released.
Chad Daybell married Lori Vallow just two weeks after Tammy’s death.
Investigators later determined JJ and Tylee had not been seen since September, but Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell never reported them missing.