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Police Determine Lori Vallow's Third Husband Died Of Natural Causes As They Close Investigation

Phoenix police decided to review the investigation into Joseph Ryan's death late last year after a disturbing recording surfaced that allegedly captured Lori Vallow talking about previously wanting to murder her ex.

By Jill Sederstrom
Lori Vallow's 3rd Husband Died Of Natural Causes, Police Say

Authorities have concluded that Lori Vallow’s third husband, Joseph Ryan, died of natural causes after a new review of the case that began late last year.

"There was no criminality found in during the review," Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune told Oxygen.com of the now-closed investigation.

Fortune told Oxygen.com in November that police were “reviewing the investigation” into Ryan’s 2018 death after a disturbing recording surfaced that allegedly captured Vallow talking about wanting to murder her ex at a religious meeting.

The conversation purportedly took place six months after Ryan was found dead in his apartment in April 2018 from what authorities believed at the time was a heart attack.

Fortune said the results of the new review of the case reached the same conclusions and determined that the death was due to "natural" circumstances. 

Joseph Ryan’s body was cremated shortly after his death.

Vallow and Ryan were already divorced at the time of his death, however, they shared daughter Tylee Ryan together and appeared to have had a contentious relationship with one another.

Vallow discussed the relationship with her ex—although never referring to him by name—at a "Preparing A People" gathering at friend Melanie Gibb’s home in October of 2018, according to an alleged recording of the meeting obtained by The Post Register.

Vallow said Ryan had previously tried to gain custody of their daughter to “rub it in my face,” despite claims made by her older son Colby Ryan that he had been sexually abused by his adopted father.

Colby Ryan reiterated those claims to Dateline last year.

“I was going to murder him,” Vallow allegedly said in the tape. “I was going to kill him. Like the scriptures say. Like Nephi killed. Just to stop the pain and to stop him coming after me and to stop him coming after my children. I just thought I couldn’t take it anymore.”

Vallow went on to say that she decided to turn toward her religion instead.

“I was like, ‘I’m either going to turn my life to the temple, or I’m going to commit murder,” she allegedly said in the recording, also obtained by East Idaho News.

In recent years, Vallow has been surrounded by a string of mysterious deaths; however, authorities have determined this month that at least two of the deaths—including Ryan’s—appear to have been from natural causes.

A spokesperson for the Gilbert Police Department confirmed to Oxygen.com earlier this month that authorities also closed the investigation into the death of Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox.

Cox died in his Gilbert, Arizona home in December 2019 after collapsing on the floor of the bathroom, according to a report obtained by local station KSTU-TV.  

Cox’s wife of just two weeks Zulema Pastenes told authorities that he had been “suffering shortness of breath with the slightest of movements” in the days before he died and an autopsy determined that he died from blood clots and heart failure.

Cox had actually killed Vallow’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, months earlier, in July 2019, claiming to have acted in self-defense during an argument.

Vallow got married a fifth time in November of that year to religious author Chad Daybell—whose own wife Tammy had died just two weeks before the nuptials under what authorities now believe had been suspicious circumstances.

The Idaho Attorney General’s Office has said it's investigating both Vallow and Daybell for possible murder conspiracy, or attempted murder charges in connection with Tammy’s sudden death, although no charges have been filed in the case, according to an earlier report from East Idaho News.

Two of Vallow’s children—16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow—disappeared in September 2019 and were later found buried on Daybell’s property. No murder charges have been filed in the case, but both Vallow and Daybell are currently behind bars on charges connected to the heartbreaking discovery.

Daybell has been charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence and felony conspiracy to conceal evidence charges. Vallow is also facing a felony conspiracy to conceal evidence charge in the case.

The pair are expected to face trial together later this year.

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