Is Lori Vallow going to be a free woman? Nevermind the long-term answer to that question. What about the short-term?
A judge dropped Vallow’s bond from $5 million to $1 million last Friday in her desertion case, but that’s still a heck of a lot of money. Defendants in that position usually connect with a bail bondsman to help cover the costs, but it’s being reported that Vallow is having trouble with that. Two bond companies in Rexburg, Idaho told East Idaho News that they declined to work with her when her reps contacted them. These businesses were not named in the report.
The defendant would have to pay a tenth of her bond ($100,000), and more jail and state fees. That’s still more than most people’s annual incomes, but assuming she can somehow cover it, what’s stopping bondsmen from doing business with her? Those companies would take on the liability if a defendant ran.
Danielle Kingston, owner of A+ Idaho Bail Bonds in Rexburg, laid out the dynamics at play. She told Desert News that $1 million was a “big bond for our area.”
Vallow is charged in a desertion case involving her missing kids Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17. The children’s whereabouts remain publicly unknown.They were last seen in September, cops said. Defendant Vallow allegedly fled Idaho instead of helping cops find them, tried to get someone to lie to investigators, and snubbed a court order to turn over the children. Her new husband Chad Daybell has cryptically said the kids are safe.
Kingston laid out the typical elements of a bond decision. She said defendant had to follow a company’s polices, and that the company would assess the risk of an individual.
“It doesn’t work out if we don’t feel comfortable,” she told the news outlet. Kingston said the company would have to become familiar with the inmate’s family members, so that they would know where a fleeing inmate would go.
Chad Daybell appeared at his wife’s bond hearing last Friday. It’s also worth mentioning that Vallow’s niece Melani Boudreaux Pawlowski has been accused by ex-husband Brandon Boudreaux of knowing the children’s whereabouts, but through attorneys, she denied wrongdoing or having knowledge of where Joshua and Tylee are. The defendant’s eldest son Colby Ryan has voiced significant frustration (to say the least) with his mother.
“I’m done,” he told Fox 10 Phoenix in February. “I’ve been done the day that I saw them [his mother and Chad Daybell] without the kids walking around Hawaii.”
With that in mind, we should also mention what else Kingston said about bail.
“If no one’s coming to your aid, if nobody is coming to post your bond, if nobody is surrounding you and saying you’re a good person,” she said, adding, “That’s a red flag for a bail bondsman. That’s where you start seeing it either falls apart because nobody is willing to help.”
Another local Rexburg businessperson voiced concern about the circumstances of the Vallow case. His analysis was even more blunt than Kingston’s.
“I think that’s a lot of risk to ask somebody to take for her,” Guy Chaffin, owner of Bandit Bail Bonds, told PEOPLE in a Thursday report.
Chaffin mentioned how Vallow and Daybell “abruptly vacated” their Idaho home, and that the defendant had to be extradited from Hawaii.
“There’s going to be a really, really high risk of her running,” he said.
Chaffin said his company was not asked to cover Vallow’s bond.
Lori Vallow remains at the Madison County Jail as of Friday afternoon, a jail official tells Law&Crime. Her attorneys did not immediately respond to multiple Law&Crime requests for comment.
At the bond hearing last Friday, Vallow attorney Edwina Elcox told the judge her client was not a flight risk. The defendant’s passport had expired, and her move to Hawaii had been planned, she said. The lawyer asserted Vallow would live locally if out on bond.
Joshua Vallow has brown hair, has brown eyes, stands 4’0″, and weighs 50 pounds, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Tylee Ryan has blonde hair, has blue eyes, stands 5’0″, and weighs 160 pounds. Officials said Joshua “may be in need of medical attention.”
[Screengrab via CBS This Morning]