CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A fringe doomsday religion and a $1 million life insurance policy serve as the backdrop of an investigation that spans several states and involved three deaths and two missing children.

Chad and Lori Daybell are believed to be in Kauai, Hawaii, and have refused to produce Lori's two children, Joshua Vallow and Tylee Ryan. They were last seen in September after they moved from their home in Chandler.

[WATCH: Does the case of the missing kids with ties to AZ have something to do with religion or money?]

Chad Daybell is an author of doomsday-themed novels and is tied to a fringe religious organization. His wife, Tammy, died in her sleep in October. Her death is now under investigation.

[TIMELINE: Missing Idaho Kids' Investigation]

Lori's prior husband was killed in Chandler in July. Lori's brother, Alex Cox, said he shot Charles Vallow in self-defense. But what investigators did not know at the time was that Vallow had a $1 million life insurance policy.

[CBS 5 INVESTIGATES Exclusive: Charles Vallow had 'substantial' life insurance policy

Lori and Charles were still married at the time, and days after Charles' death, Lori contacted the life insurance company to collect, according to a source with first-hand knowledge of the family's financial situation.

[RELATED: Grandparents of missing kids with connection to AZ meet with judge in Idaho]

But Charles had changed the beneficiary to be his sister in the months before his death, according to the source. Lori was unable to collect.

"We may find out later that religion played nothing into this. That it was motivated by money, maybe," said Chris Bertram, who is a criminal profiling expert. Bertram spoke to FOX 13 in Salt Lake City.

Since July, Lori moved to Idaho with her children, then married Chad Daybell shortly after his wife died. The children have not been seen since September, and Alex Cox died under mysterious circumstances in Gilbert in December. His death is under investigation.

[READ MORE: Cellphone of missing teen with ties to Arizona found with mother, sources say]

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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