Arizona police say they plan to ask prosecutors to file charges against Lori Vallow for the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow — although they aren’t sure what the charges would be specifically, or when they'd be filed.
Chandler Police Detective Nathan Duncan confirmed to East Idaho News that police plan to eventually take their case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office but are still actively investigating the case.
“This case is a marathon, not a sprint,” Duncan said. “We are conducting a very thorough investigation to determine the truth behind the murder of Charles Vallow.”
Charles was killed in July 2019 by his brother-in-law Alex Cox after the two got into some type of altercation. Cox — who later died himself in December — told investigators at the time that he had shot his sister’s estranged husband in self-defense.
“Lori has always been a person of interest in this investigation,” Chandler Police spokesman Sgt. Jason McClimans told Fox News.
Investigators don’t believe Lori pulled the trigger, but have said it’s possible she may have played some other role in the crime.
McClimans said told the news outlet he wasn’t sure exactly when police planned to send their case to prosecutors but estimated it could be four to six months.
Investigators are currently still digging through 100,000 pieces of “digital data” in the case and are executing search warrants and subpoenas to help build the case against the "doomsday cult" mom—who is already facing charges in Idaho for conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence after the remains of her two missing children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, were found on her new husband Chad Daybell’s property in June.
Months before Charles Vallow was shot to death, he had voiced fears about his estranged wife.
In court documents filed in February 2019, Charles described his wife’s newfound religious beliefs, writing that Lori believed she had “lived numerous lives on numerous planets,” and had been sent by God to be a leader in the new world after the end of days, according to local station KSTU.
“On January 29, 2019, during a phone conversation between the parties and after their physical separation, Mother informed Father that she was a God assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020 and that if Father got in her way of her mission she would murder him,” the court documents obtained by the station stated.
NBC’s Dateline also obtained a text message Charles had sent to a friend months before his death saying “something snapped” within his wife, describing the transformation as “so unbelievable and scary.”
As Arizona police continue to investigate the circumstances behind Charles’ death, Lori opted this week to waive her right to preliminary hearing in Idaho, where she’s facing charges of conspiracy to conceal evidence, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
“You understand that there will be no preliminary hearing that is currently scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, that will be vacated. Do you understand that?” Judge Faren Eddins said in court Thursday, according to local station KSTU.
Lori replied, “correct.”
Experts say there could be multiple reasons why Lori could have opted to forgo the hearing. Daybell had his preliminary hearing earlier this week. Detectives, the FBI and those who knew the couple took the stand to describe how the children’s bodies were found and how the couple behaved in the months after the children disappeared.
“One reason may be that they’ve seen the government’s case, because Chad Daybell had his [preliminary hearing],” retired FBI special agent Greg Rogers told the local station. “So, they know what the evidence is.”
Rogers said it’s also possible Lori could be considering a plea deal.
“I would be very surprised if that wasn’t something they were attempting,” he said. “It’s very, very common in these types of cases.”
Stephen Meikle, an Idaho criminal defense attorney with no connections to the case, told The New York Post it is not uncommon to waive the hearings.
“They’re not that fruitful unless the charges are fatally flawed,” he said.
The case will now proceed to district court for trial.
The couple could also be facing other potential legal action.
The Idaho Attorney General’s office is currently investigating the couple for “conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder,” in the death of Daybell’s late wife, Tammy, who died in October, according to Inside Edition. Although the death was initially believed to be the result of natural causes, investigators later deemed the death suspicious and exhumed Tammy’s body for an autopsy.
The results of that autopsy have not been released.
No murder charges have been filed against either Vallow or Daybell in connection with the deaths of JJ and Tylee.
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