BY: BILL HUTCHINSON, MIKE REPPLIER, JENNIFER LEONG AND MARYELLEN RESENDEZ, ABC NEWS
(NEW YORK) — The estranged husband of Lori Vallow, the Idaho mom facing trial on charges stemming from the baffling disappearance of her two children, told police she “lost her mind” and threatened to kill him roughly six months before he was fatally shot by her brother, according to police bodycam footage obtained exclusively by ABC News.
Charles Vallow, according to the footage, told a Gilbert, Arizona, police officer in January 2019 that his then-wife, Lori, had been behaving erratically, withdrawing large amounts from their bank account and threatening his life.
“‘I will kill you because you’re not Charles, and nobody will care,'” Charles Vallow told police of the threat Lori allegedly made to him, according to the bodycam footage obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
He said Lori kept referring to him as “Nick Schneider,” a name he was unfamiliar with.
“It’s the name she used. I don’t know where it came from. I’m just like … I’m as bewildered as you are,” Charles Vallow said in the video.
The footage adds another layer to the mysterious case opened in November when extended family members contacted Rexburg, Idaho, police to request a welfare check on Lori Vallow’s two children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17. Police have been searching for the children ever since and suspect their mother has something to do with their disappearance.
Lori Vallow, 46, was arrested in February in Hawaii on a warrant for failing to comply with a court order to produce her children. At the time, she was living on Kauai with her new husband, Chad Daybell.
She was extradited back to Idaho to face multiple felony counts, including desertion and non-support of dependent children.
Lori Vallow has maintained her innocence in the case and is being held in an Idaho jail on $1 million bond. Charles Vallow filed for divorce in February 2019 but dropped the divorce petition the following month.
He was shot to death on July 11 during a confrontation at Lori Vallow’s Chandler, Arizona, home with her brother, Alex Cox. Police were investigating claims that Cox shot his brother-in-law in self-defense when he was found unresponsive at his Gilbert, Arizona, home on Dec. 11 and later pronounced dead. An autopsy determined Cox died of natural causes related to a pulmonary blood clot.
In a statement to ABC News, Lori Vallow’s attorney, Mark Means, questioned the timing of the release of the police bodycam footage.
“In regard to said release, and others, this could be construed as a ‘tactically’ timed release in an attempt to ‘control the narrative’ to fit a predetermined conclusion regarding the Cox family and persons, etc.,” Means said in his statement. “If that is the case, that would be an inappropriate use of public resources. All Persons and Media sources should call upon the Gilbert Police Department and all other Agencies involved to release all their findings, reports, videos, photographs, and the like, unredacted and forthwith.”
The video was released by the Gilbert Police Department after ABC News filed a records request in January.
In the footage, Charles Vallow alleged that Lori, who he said belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was under the belief that she was “a resurrected being of God” and threatened to murder him with her “powers.”
He told the officer that he hadn’t been able to get in touch with his children, JJ and Tylee, and expressed fear that she could hurt them.
“How does she pose a threat to your children?” the officer asked Charles Vallow, according to the video.
Charles Vallow responded that in a phone call earlier in the day Lori allegedly told him and his church bishop, “Come take the kids. I don’t care what happens to them.”
“I don’t know what she’s going to do to them. I don’t know if she’s going to flee with them, if she’s going to hurt them,” he said, adding that Lori allegedly called him “a dark spirit.”
“I love her to death. This is killing me, officer,” he said. “Our 13th anniversary is next month. We’ve had a great marriage. All of a sudden in the last month it just blew up. She just lost connection.”
At the time, authorities had issued an order for Lori Vallow to receive a mental health evaluation. But according to a police report obtained by ABC News, when she visited officers, she was allowed to drive herself to the hospital with a friend.
In the police report, the officer apparently seen in the bodycam video with Charles Vallow, wrote: “During my conversation with Charles, 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.”
Charles Vallow’s sister, Kay Vallow Woodcock, responded to the release of the police footage in a statement to ABC News, saying the January 2019 incident “signifies the first domino to fall leading a path of catastrophic damage which nobody could ever have imagined.”
“Charles reached out for help, to no avail,” Woodcock said. “He prayed Lori would regain her good judgment. She has always known right from wrong.
She ended the statement by repeating a question she has been asking for eight months, “Where are the kids????”
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