Nearly all the coverage, court documents and police reports involving the Rexburg missing children case have cast a poor light on Lori Vallow, the mother of the missing children and the new wife of Chad Daybell, whose first wife died Oct. 19.
The story of newlyweds, their respective recently dead spouses, their reported cult-like beliefs and Vallow’s missing children has captivated attention across the nation and around the world.
“Doomsday Parents of Missing Kids” read part of a Daily Beast headline on Jan. 1.
That Vallow and Daybell lied to police about her children’s whereabouts nearly two months ago, fled their Rexburg home the next day and have refused to cooperate with law enforcement since then has not won Lori Vallow any supporters. Neither have allegations laid out by her former spouse Charles Vallow in a January 2019 divorce filing, months before he was shot dead in her home. And claims from Charles’ sister and Lori’s former nephew-in-law about her and Chad’s reported cultish beliefs have only fanned the internet’s flames.
But a January 2019 police report from the Gilbert, Ariz., Police Department paints a more favorable portrait of Lori’s public demeanor before her infamy.
While Charles was away on a business trip in January 2019, Lori drained his bank account and canceled his return ticket, forcing him to buy a last-minute $600 one-way fare. When he landed in Arizona, his truck was gone from the airport parking lot. Lori had taken it. And when he finally made it home, he found an empty house. She’d even taken his underwear and shoes.
At least that’s the version of events Charles and his lawyer described in divorce documents. It was the only version of those events publicly available until recently.
The Gilbert Police Department’s incident/investigation report was made on Jan. 31, 2019, after Lori went to the police department to give a statement regarding Charles’ reported actions. She was accompanied by her daughter, Tylee Ryan, and a friend whose name was redacted. Lori told officers that Charles had gone into her car and stolen her purse, which contained her wallet, IDs, credit cards and cellphone. The theft reportedly happened when she went into J.J.’s school to drop him off.
“It should be noted Lori provided a lot of background information regarding her and Charles’ relationship,” the report said.
That information included that “Charles had cheated on her while on business trips.”
Lori also said she had left their home with Tylee and J.J., her and Charles’ adopted son, prior to Charles’ return to Arizona.
Lori told the officer she did not want to press charges for the purse’s theft, but she did want her property back and for the incident to be documented.
“During my contact with Lori, I found her to be in a normal state of mind but only slightly upset she did not have her property. Lori showed no signs of mental distress as she described what was occurring and appeared to be in a good mood. Talking with Lori’s daughter and friend, they did not seem concerned for anything other than Lori getting her property back,” the police report stated. (The author’s name has been redacted.)
Though parts of the report are redacted, based on additional information from the divorce documents, it seems the Gilbert police officer was informed by another officer that Charles had filed a petition asking for Lori to be involuntarily brought to Community Bridges Healthcare for mental health care help after increasingly erratic behavior, as detailed in the divorce filing.
The officer writing the report then encouraged Lori to talk to employees at Community Bridges and said he could give her a courtesy ride there.
“Lori was confused as to how someone could make up information to get someone involuntarily committed … I informed Lori, if she didn’t take care of it, it would still be official, and I would then have to take her involuntarily,” the report said.
Based on information the Gilbert Police officer had received, including Lori’s demeanor, and assurance from Tylee and Lori’s friend that Lori would contact the care center, the officer did not feel it necessary to “take Lori against her will.”
When contacted about the stolen purse, Charles told police Lori had been acting irrationally, had changed the locks on his house and had moved out with the children.
Charles told officers he had taken Lori’s purse in order to prevent Lori from leaving the school. At one point, Charles told the officer he had found the purse on the ground and picked it up to keep it safe.
“Charles had many excuses as to why he did not give it back to her,” the report said.
Charles said he called police from the school and asked that they fulfill the involuntary pickup order. Lori, however, was able to use her spare car key to drive away.
Charles then went to the Hyatt Hotel with a hotel key he had found in Lori’s purse. He was trying to find her room. While he was at the hotel, officers contacted Charles on his cellphone. The officer writing the report noted that Charles’ biggest concern was obtaining the money Lori had taken from their business account. The officer suggested Charles be more concerned with his child’s welfare. Charles, however, said J.J. could stay in school and then suggested they catch Lori when Lori picked J.J. up.
“I told Charles we weren’t going to do a ‘sting operation’ to catch Lori … I found his demeanor to be strange for a person in his circumstances. He seemed more concerned with asking questions about the legality of financial withdrawals Lori had made than her alleged incoherence,” the report stated.
In the phone call, Charles agreed to bring Lori’s property and the petition for her involuntary commitment to the police.
The next day, an officer confirmed that Lori had checked herself into a location, the name of which was redacted, presumably Community Bridges Healthcare based on Charles’ divorce filing, and was discharged a few hours later.