Police in Phoenix, Arizona are doubling down on how Lori Vallow‘s third husband Joseph Ryan died. He passed from natural causes, and there was no criminality associated with it, Sgt. Mercedes Fortune told Law&Crime in a brief phone interview on Thursday. There was nothing to lead investigators to believe it could be foul play.
This conclusion was first reported by the East Idaho News. Ryan’s death was previously determined to be from a heart issue: arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. It’s a straight forward development linked to a convoluted case: Vallow and her fifth (and current) husband Chad Daybell are charged in Idaho with hiding the bodies of her younger son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and her daughter with Ryan, Tylee Ryan, 17. The kids were last seen alive in September 2019 and were discovered months later in June 2020 in gravesites on Daybell’s Fremont County, Idaho property.
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow are fighting the charges.
But, like we said, this case is convoluted. Vallow’s brother Alex Cox shot and killed Vallow’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, months after the elder Vallow told police his wife threatened to kill him. Cox said he fired in self defense. Cox died in December 2019 of what the medical examiner’s office determined to be a blood clot. Yet his presence continues to hang over the case. Authorities in Idaho said, however, that cellphone data put Cox at the children’s gravesites in separate instances shortly after both JJ and Tylee were last seen.
On top of that, Idaho authorities had exhumed the body of Daybell’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell, who died in October 2019. The exhumation occurred was after the children disappeared but before Chad Daybell married Lori Vallow in November 2019.
Audio recordings indicate Vallow wanted to murder her third husband. But the findings that Joseph Ryan died of a heart issue will close one piece of the story, and Ryan’s ugly history with Vallow’s family shapes the broader narrative.
Cox pleaded guilty to an aggravated assault charge in 2008 after authorities said he tased Joseph Ryan and threatened to kill him. Colby Ryan, who is Vallow’s son from a previous relationship, said in 2020 that his stepfather Joseph Ryan physically and sexually abused him. As indicated in court records, Tylee Ryan, at age 5, also said that her father had sexually abused her and Colby.
Also in this doc, 5-yr-old #TyleeRyan, after saying how much she likes visits w/her dad, tells the therapist she was scared of overnights with her father #JosephRyan. She said, “because he molested me and Colby”. #LoriVallow then walks in and Tylee turns to Lori, “I toldher” pic.twitter.com/MPZSiCvNT7
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) July 7, 2020
[Image via National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]
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