Lori Vallow

Lori Vallow appears in court with defense attorney Mark Means for her second bond reduction hearing at the Madison County Magistrate Court on Friday, May 1, 2020.

The Phoenix Police Department has completed an investigation into the 2018 death of Lori Vallow’s ex-husband, Joseph Ryan.

“There were no new findings,” Public Information Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said in an email. “The investigators concluded that the cause of death was that of natural causes. At this time foul play is not suspected.”

The investigation was opened in November after the Post Register reported on a recording of Lori Vallow discussing killing her ex-husband, the father of Vallow’s deceased daughter Tylee Ryan.

Vallow is heard saying at a religious gathering that she wanted to murder Joseph Ryan after he gained visitation with their daughter.

“I was going to murder him,” Vallow said. “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.”

In court records and interviews, Vallow’s 25-year-old son Colby Ryan accused his adopted father of sexually abusing him, which played into the divorce proceedings.

Joseph Ryan died on April 3, 2018. A medical examiner ruled he died due to a heart attack. His sister, Annie Cushing, however, suspected Vallow may have been involved in his death. Cushing did not return a request for comment on the police investigation.

Vallow has been in jail since June after the bodies of Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow, her adopted son, were discovered on the property of Chad Daybell, Vallow’s fourth husband. Vallow and Daybell had claimed the children were with a friend in Arizona. After the Rexburg Police detectives and Fremont County Sheriff’s Office found their story to be untrue, they learned the couple had fled the state. Vallow and Daybell were later found living in Hawaii.

Daybell and Vallow have both been charged with two counts each of conspiracy to conceal, alter or destroy evidence. Daybell has additionally been charged with two counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. All counts are punishable with up to five years in prison. A motion hearing is scheduled for both defendants for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 17.

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