A pair of felony child abandonment charges against Lori Vallow, a doomsday cult member and the mother of two children found dead last month, have been dropped.
Vallow remained jailed in Idaho on $1 million bail Friday. The 47-year-old suspect has been behind bars since her February arrest in Hawaii on misdemeanor charges including resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt of court in addition to two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children.
Prosecutors on Thursday announced both felony charges raised against Vallow have been dismissed, East Idaho News reported. The move comes less than a month after investigators unearthed the bodies of her children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and his 16-year-old sister, Tylee Ryan, from a property belonging to their mother’s husband, Chad Daybell.
The gruesome discovery on June 9 brought a close to the months-long search for the missing kids, who were last seen alive in September. Vallow’s 51-year-old husband was arrested the same day the bodies were found and has since pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of concealment of evidence.
Vallow, during a court appearance via Zoom earlier this week, was also hit with additional felony charges for allegedly concealing, altering, and destroying evidence in the case.
According to court documents, Vallow “willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.”
Authorities noted that JJ’s remains were easier to identify while Tylee had decomposed beyond recognition. Investigators had to identify her by her jawline, according to documents.
“It was not possible to identify those remains by simply looking at them as they were too damaged by fire and dismemberment and no longer had any recognizable features,” authorities wrote.
The couple, who are both allegedly members of a doomsday cult, has been under investigation for months in connection with the children’s disappearance. Vallow was taken into custody in February and then jailed in Rexburg, Idaho for failing to meet a January deadline requiring her to prove her children were alive.
Emails attributed to Vallow and Daybell appear to suggest the couple believes Jesus Christ is returning this month.
Their exchanges also reveal conversations about “seven missions to accomplish together,” including the development of “white camps” in Arizona, supplying provisions for “righteous members of families” and food distribution for the tribulations.
No one has yet been charged directly regarding the children’s deaths.
Authorities are also investigating the death of Daybell’s former wife, Tammy, who died two weeks before he married Vallow in 2019. The same year, Vallow’s former husband, Charles, was fatally shot by her brother, Alex Cox, who claimed self-defense and was never charged.
Cox was found dead in his Arizona home months later.