CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A man who is connected to the case of two missing children, and who was shot and killed in July, had a substantial life insurance policy, according to two people with first-hand knowledge of his personal finances.
Charles Vallow was shot to death in Chandler on July 11. The gunman was his brother-in-law, Alex Cox. Vallow's wife, Lori, and her daughter from another marriage, Tylee Ryan, appeared to support Cox's description of what happened that morning.
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They described an argument between Lori and Charles. Tylee told police she picked up a bat to defend Lori. They all said Charles took the bat from Tylee. Alex said Charles struck him in the back of the head. Alex said he then went to the room where he was sleeping, retrieved a handgun and shot Charles in self-defense. "He came at me with the bat again, after he had already hit me in the head, and so I shot him to stop him," Cox told a Chandler police officer who responded to the scene. Cox was not charged in the case. Chandler police say the evidence points to self-defense, but acknowledge the situation remains under investigation. "We have various pieces of evidence we still have to go through," said Sgt. Jason McClimans.
CBS 5 Investigates learned Charles had what is described as a sizable life insurance policy, according to two sources who have first-hand knowledge of Charles' financial situation. But six months after the shooting death, Chandler police did not appear to be aware of the existence of the policy. "This is the first time I'm hearing about it," said McClimans.
Charles filed for divorce from Lori in February 2019. Court paperwork contains allegations that Lori left the family for nearly two months early last year, withdrew $25,000 from the family bank account, said she was receiving spiritual revelations and visions and had threatened to kill Charles. Lori was also believed to have begun a romantic relationship with an author of doomsday-themed novels who lived in Idaho. That man is Chad Daybell. "Even though he was up in Idaho and she was down here, there seemed to be a very close, almost intimate relationship between the two," said Rich Robertson, who is a private investigator who was hired by Charles and Lori's family members after Charles' death.
Robertson described Daybell and his followers as a cult. "If you read some of the things that have been written by them, about their activities, this is the extreme end of any religious beliefs. And the charismatic figure that seems to be tying them all together is Chad Daybell," said Robertson. Days after Charles' death, Lori's neighbors reported seeing a pool party with loud music in her back yard. Two months later, Lori moved to Idaho with her two children, Joshua and Tylee, her brother, Alex and her niece, Melani. Nobody has seen Joshua and Tylee since September.
On Oct. 19, Chad Daybell's wife, Tammy, died in her sleep, according to an obituary posted online. Within weeks, Chad and Lori were married, and Charles' relatives began to suspect something had happened to the children. "Rexburg (Idaho) Police went out and contacted Lori, who is with Chad at the time, and asked about the kids. And Lori said, 'They're not here. They're with my friend in Arizona,'" said Robertson. "So we contacted the police here and asked them to do a welfare check on the kids and that's when the friend said, 'They're not here and they haven't been here,'" added Robertson.
Lori and Chad have refused to answer any questions from the police or from the media. They were spotted near Princeville, Hawaii, on the island of Kuai on Jan. 26. FBI agents and Kuai police served search warrants, confiscated the couple's rental car and gave them an order to produce the children in Idaho within five days. Lori and Chad were not arrested and the deadline passed with no sign of Joshua or Tylee.
In early October, Cox had moved back to the Valley and was suspected in a drive-by shooting at the home of his niece, Melani's ex-husband. And Cox, himself, was found dead in his Gilbert home. His cause of death has yet be determined. Charles' sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Larry Woodcock, say they do not believe Cox was defending himself when he shot Charles. "They ambushed him. That was a setup, and it will come out. No doubt about it," said Kay.
But after all of those events, and the revelation of the existence of Charles' life insurance policy, Chandler police say they do not suspect Lori had any involvement in his death. "In our police report and in our investigation at this point, we are not aware of any motive or any financial thing with Lori Vallow, with regard to our case," said McClimans.
Original Story: Man dead after family fight at Chandler home leads to shooting