Lori Vallow, the woman who fled to Hawaii after being unable to account for the location of her children, remains in jail for now despite ongoing issues with her bail bond, her legal team, and a change in presiding judges. Vallow was caught and jailed in February for failing to produce her children for a welfare check after relatives told police they hadn’t heard from them in two months. Her children, last seen in September 2019, remain missing.
Vallow faces two felony charges of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children as well as resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, contempt of court, and willful disobedience of court process or order. Since being extradited from Hawaii to Idaho to face charges, two lawyers from her legal team quit without explanation, and the presiding judge resigned at Vallow’s request.
The judge agreed to remove himself with no reason given, according to a report by East Idaho News. Before removing himself, he set a preliminary hearing date for May 7 and 8 after requests for delay from both Vallow’s remaining lawyer and the prosecution. The judge also set a hefty bond before stepping down. After her first court appearance on March 6, Vallow reportedly could not find a bond company to work with her on her bail, currently set at $1 million. Since Vallow is a flight risk, having previously fled to Hawaii, the court would not allow any reduction to her current bail.
Now, amid the growing coronavirus outbreak, officials say that Vallow’s case will not be halted or slowed due to the severity of her actions and the fact that her children remain missing. Vallow, along with her new husband Chad Daybell, an author who writes about religious doomsday prophecies, moved to Idaho from Arizona with Vallow’s children, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, in August 2019. Vallow and Daybell “abruptly vacated” their Idaho home in late November before police could serve search warrants in an investigation into the children’s whereabouts.
Police in Rexburg, Idaho – where Vallow is set to stand trial – have documented several misleading statements as to the whereabouts of Vallow’s children. Tylee was last seen on September 8, 2019 on a day trip to Yellowstone National Park with her mother, brother, and uncle. J.J. was last seen at his school in Idaho on September 23, 2019, before his mother withdrew him saying she intended to homeschool him, according to a court affidavit. A babysitter, who had watched J.J. before, spoke to police claiming that on September 24, Vallow told her J.J. had gone to stay with his grandmother and she would no longer need a babysitter.
Vallow also reportedly told a friend that Tylee was attending classes at Brigham Young University in Idaho, but there is no record of her enrollment there or at any other affiliated institution. According to Tylee’s older brother, who did not live at the house, he last spoke to Tylee on August 30, 2019. When he called, Vallow made excuses as to why Tylee couldn’t speak to him, he claims in an affidavit.
On November 5, Vallow and Daybell married in Hawaii. It is unclear if the children were with them. According to police, the children do not appear in the wedding photos. When police searched a storage unit rented by Vallow in November, they found toys, clothing, and other items associated with the children. Authorities have said they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger,” reports People.
Despite this, Vallow has yet to enter a plea in the case. Each count filed against Vallow carries a maximum sentence of 14 years. If convicted, she could face 30 years in prison. Vallow remains in jail on a $1 million bond with now one attorney representing her.