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Lori Vallow, the mother of two missing Idaho children, believed her children were possessed and had become “zombies” shortly before they disappeared, a relative alleges in new court documents.
The stunning allegations were detailed in court documents filed as part of a custody dispute between Vallow’s niece, Melani Boudreaux Pawlowski, and her former husband Brandon Boudreaux.
Brandon Boudreaux, who filed the court documents obtained by East Idaho News, has previously claimed that he believes his ex-wife knows the whereabouts of the missing children and that Pawlowski was part of a religious cult with Vallow and Chad Daybell, Vallow’s new husband, before the children disappeared.
Vallow’s children, Tylee Ryan, 17, and Joshua “J.J.” Vallow, 7, have been missing since September and authorities have said that Vallow has consistently refused to cooperate with authorities seeking to locate them. She is currently behind bars on a $1 million bond on charges of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children after she failed to produce the children by a deadline given by authorities, NBC News reports.
In the latest filing, Boudreaux includes a document allegedly from Pawlowski’s current husband, Ian Pawlowski, that details what Ian told his attorneys after meeting with law enforcement officers about the case in the fall.
It’s not clear how Boudreaux may have obtained the document, but the allegations provide new details into the religious beliefs supposedly embraced by Vallow and Daybell and what those beliefs could have meant for the missing children.
In the document, Ian allegedly said Melani had explained to him that one part of their religious beliefs was the idea that people could become “zombies” if their human bodies “have had their original spirits forced from them and have been possessed by either a demon … disembodied spirit … or a worm/slug.”
Under these beliefs, spirits can be “pushed from their bodies” if there is a traumatic event or deadly injury.
“Spirits pushed out are trapped in limbo as the body they’re tied to is still living but cannot be occupied by them anymore,” Ian allegedly wrote, according to the local paper.
Ian and Melani allegedly had the conversation during the start of their relationship in the fall of 2019 and Ian wrote that he had “tried to keep an open mind” about the ideas.
“The ideas seemed harmless at first, and she sounded pretty certain of some of them,” he allegedly wrote. “She talked about how she’d learned some of these things in the temple and others from Chad (Daybell) and Lori.”
But after the couple got married “faster than any sane couple would”, Ian said that Melani voiced growing concerns about her children, her ex-husband Brandon Boudreaux and Vallow’s children.
“She stated that Brandon had been possessed by a demon or another dark entity sometime after June of this year,” he allegedly wrote. “She was told either through revelation or by Chad … that something needed to happen to (Boudreaux) in order for his spirit to progress and for the Lord’s plan to continue.”
Ian wrote that Melani “didn’t take well to the idea of her [ex-]husband dying as part of the Lord’s plan” but also did not believe that any action would be taken against him.
However, Brandon Boudreaux would later tell Arizona police that he had been shot at by someone driving a Jeep Wrangler on Oct. 2, 2019. According to an affidavit of probable cause released by the Madison County prosecuting attorney, Boudreaux saw a rifle with a silencer come out of the rear window of the Jeep and fire at his own vehicle, striking the vehicle in the front driver’s doorframe.
Investigators believe the Jeep Wrangler had been registered to Vallow’s deceased husband Charles Vallow and was later found in Lori Vallow’s possession.
Ian allegedly said Melani became concerned that Chad and Lori may have “directed” Lori’s brother Alex Cox to “take a shot” at Brandon.
She then told Ian that Chad and Lori told her that Tylee and J.J. “had been possessed and had become zombies” as well.
“She shared concerns that she’s been told Brandon needed to die and that may indicate that Tylee and J.J. needed to die as well,” Ian allegedly wrote. “She told me she was worried that Al (Alex Cox) may have had to ‘take care’ of the kids.”
Cox later died in December under suspicious circumstances, several months after the two children were last seen.
“What I shared with police were the ideas that Chad, Lori and Alex may have planned shooting at Brandon and that Tylee and J.J. may be in serious danger if Melani’s fears have any validity,” Ian allegedly wrote.
Ian later confided in Melani that he had gone to police and she said that she had no proof that anything she told him was true.
“I’m worried that I jumped the gun and have sent the authorities on yet another wild-goose chase along with prompting them to light up the national media with pieces of what I shared,” Ian allegedly wrote.
Melani’s attorney, Garrett Smith, told the East Idaho News that he viewed the filing “with the same degree of skepticism we’ve had with everything else Brandon has filed in the case.”
He said his client does not believe the religious beliefs she'd allegedly detailed to Ian and has no knowledge of who may have shot at Brandon.
“She absolutely does not know where J.J. and Tylee are,” he told the paper. “She’s done three interviews with the FBI and she would be in deep waters if she lied about that.”
He said Melani is concerned for the children and “hopes they are safe.”
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