Lori Vallow Asks for Judge to Be Removed from Her Case as 2 of Her Lawyers Quit

Idaho mom remains jailed on $1 million bond as search for her 2 missing kids continues

Lori Vallow
Lori Vallow. Photo: Madison County Sheriff's Office

With her two children still missing, jailed Idaho mom Lori Vallow’s legal team has undergone a shakeup.

Two of Vallow’s attorneys withdrew on Friday from defending her against charges related to the September disappearance of the kids, 7-year-old Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, according to a videotape of the court proceedings obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.

Her remaining attorney, Mark Means, also filed a motion seeking the removal of Judge Farren Eddins, who agreed to remove himself with no reason given for the change, according to the video.

Neither Vallow nor her attorneys were present for the hearing that was conducted over the telephone in Madison County, where Vallow stands accused of two felony counts 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.

The charges were filed after Vallow defied a court order to produce the two children by Jan. 30 to police or child welfare authorities.

Police in Rexburg, Idaho, where Vallow was living with her newlywed husband, Chad Daybell, an author who writes about religious doomsday prophecies, have said they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger.”

Means, Vallow’s remaining attorney, has not responded to PEOPLE’s previous requests for comment.

Joshua Vallow, Tylee Ryan
Joshua “J.J.” Vallow, at left, and Tylee Ryan. Rexburg Police Department (2)

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Police in Rexburg have documented several misleading statements about the children from Vallow and Daybell, and discovered the couple living in Kaua’i, Hawaii, on Jan. 25 after saying they “abruptly vacated” their Rexburg home in late November before police could serve search warrants tied to the investigation into the children’s whereabouts.

Vallow has not yet entered a plea in the case, after she was arrested and extradited from Hawaii to Idaho to face the charges.

Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell
Lori Vallow, at left, and Chad Daybell. Rexburg Police Department (2)

No reason was given by her two other defense attorneys, Brian Webb and Edwina Elcox, for withdrawing from Vallow’s case.

Before removing himself, the judge set a preliminary hearing date in the case for May 7 and 8, following a requested delay sought by both Means and Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood.

Vallow remains jailed in Madison County on a $1 million bond.

Authorities say J.J. was last seen at his Rexburg school on Sept. 23 before his mother withdrew him. Tylee was last seen Sept. 8 when she accompanied her mother, brother and an uncle on a day trip to Yellowstone National Park.

The investigation into the children’s whereabouts has since yielded a second look at the October death of Daybell’s former wife, Tammy, which officials now term “suspicious,” and which occurred two weeks before he and Vallow married. It has also focused renewed attention on the July shooting death in Lori’s home of her former husband, Charles Vallow, by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, during an alleged altercation.

Cox, who claimed self-defense and was not charged in the shooting, has since died under circumstances that authorities are reviewing.

Charles’ death preceded Vallow’s move with her kids to Rexburg, near the home base for the company that publishes Daybell’s religious writings. She and Daybell had appeared together as early as December 2018 on a podcast promoted by a small media company under the banner “Preparing a People,” designed to help its audience plan for the end of the world.

Each count filed against Vallow carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, according to the prosecutor’s office. Wood said that cumulatively, she could face 30 years in prison if convicted.

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