Lori Vallow’s mother is “positive” her daughter has not done anything to hurt her missing children.
“I’m positive beyond any doubt that she hasn’t harmed those kids,” Janis Cox told CBS News in a new interview.
Vallow remains behind bars on a $1 million bond after she was arrested on felony charges of desertion in connection with her missing daughter Tylee Ryan, 17, and adopted son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7.
Neither of the children has been seen since September—but Vallow’s mother insists her daughter is devoted to her kids.
“She’s invested her whole life in those children, so we know there’s another whole side to this,” she said. “We don’t know what it is but we know her.”
Vallow’s sister Summer Shiflet also defended her sister telling the news outlet that Vallow has been unable to tell the family where the missing children are because she’s currently behind bars where all communication is closely monitored.
"She's in jail. She's not — everything's recorded. So she's not gonna tell us, she can't discuss anything about the case," Shiflet said.
Shiflet said it has been difficult for the family to see her sister’s high-profile case play out across the national media.
“I have to see my family slaughtered on the news every day,” she said. “This mob mentality of calling for … Lori to just be hung in the public square, basically is what it feels like.”
Vallow was arrested in Kauai in February after she had gone to the Hawaiian island with her new husband Chad Daybell, a religious novelist whose work focuses on the end of days.
Her two minor children were not with the couple at the time of her arrest and have not been seen since since last year.
Detectives from the Rexburg Police Department have said the last known images of 17-year-old Tylee Ryan were taken on Sept. 8, 2019 during a family outing to Yellowstone National Park, according to an affidavit of probable cause released by the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney. Ryan can be seen in one image at the park’s entrance and in another photo inside the park. The images were found in Lori’s iCloud account.
“This photo is the last time we can find any record of (Ryan) being with Lori Vallow,” the affidavit said. “We have found no witnesses who can verify they have seen (Ryan) since September 8, 2019.”
Ryan’s younger brother JJ was last seen a few weeks later, on Sept. 23, at his elementary school. The following day, Lori Vallow called the school to say he would no longer be attending the elementary because she planned to homeschool him, according to the affidavit.
However, Shiflet told CBS News that she spoke to JJ on the phone after that date and described a brief conversation she had with the 7-year-old on October 1.
“I talked to him,” she said. “He just takes the phone, you know, and he knows—you know, he knows who were are.”
Vallow married Daybell later that fall, just two weeks after his 49-year-old wife Tammy Daybell died under what investigators now believe to be suspicious circumstances.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office is currently investigating both Vallow and Chad Daybell for possible murder, conspiracy or attempted murder charges in connection with Tammy’s sudden death, according to East Idaho News
Vallow’s husband Charles was also shot and killed in July 2019 by her brother, Alex Cox. Cox, who mysteriously died himself in December, told authorities at the time that he had shot Charles in self-defense during a heated argument. No charges were ever filed against Cox in the fatal shooting.
The FBI is also investigating the death of Lori Vallow’s third husband and Tylee’s father, Joseph Ryan. Ryan died in 2018 in his apartment from what was ruled a heart attack, 14 years after his marriage to Lori had come to an end.
“We are aware of Mr. Ryan’s death and it has become part of the investigation into Lori Vallow,” an FBI spokesperson told People.
As the investigation into the mysterious deaths surrounding the newlywed couple continues, Lori Vallow remains behind bars at a Madison County jail where she is being held on two counts of felony abandonment.
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