Here's the Latest Twist in Bizarre Saga of Missing Kids

Charles Vallow switched his insurance beneficiary to his adopted son's grandma
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2020 3:12 PM CST

The strange and sad story of the two Idaho kids missing since September continues to get stranger: Charles Vallow, the adopted father of one of the missing children, changed his insurance policy months before his death so that wife Lori Vallow, a person of interest in the children's disappearance, was no longer the beneficiary. In her place he named his sister, Kay Woodcock—who is the biological grandmother of JJ Vallow, 7, who was born to her son before being adopted by Lori and Charles Vallow. "He had a $1 million dollar policy with Lori as the beneficiary and he told me he wanted me to be the sole recipient," Woodcock tells East Idaho News. "I told him to leave it to his boys [Charles Vallow also had two sons from a previous relationship] but ... [he] said, 'Lori doesn’t want me anymore. She doesn’t want JJ and you’ll end up raising JJ so I want you to have the money.'" More on that, plus other recent news on the case:

  • Woodcock says Lori Vallow found out about the switch when she called the insurance company days after Charles Vallow's July death (amid his divorce and custody battle with Lori Vallow he was killed by Lori Vallow's brother, who claimed it was in self-defense; in December that brother also died under mysterious circumstances) and the agent told her she was not entitled to the money.

  • Lori Vallow sent Woodcock an angry text after getting the news, Woodcock says, in which Vallow referred to "five kids and no money" (JJ, his 17-year-old sister Tylee Ryan who is also missing, her older son Colby Ryan who has pleaded with his mom to produce his missing siblings, and her two stepsons). "I believe if Charles had left her the million dollars, she would have given JJ back to us," Woodcock says. "She puts a price on people and if they are no longer of value to her, she eliminates them."
  • Tylee Ryan is Lori Vallow's daughter from one of her previous marriages; Tylee's father died of an apparent heart attack in 2018, USA Today reports. Lori Vallow married her fifth and current husband, Chad Daybell, soon after the deaths of both Charles Vallow and Daybell's own former wife, Tammy; both Vallow and Daybell are persons of interest in the children's disappearance.
  • "Things started changing over the past 18+ months when Lori began spending all her time with a new religious group, that we refer to as a 'cult,'" Woodcock wrote in a Facebook post in December. Daybell is the self-published author of dozens of books that discuss spirituality, near-death experiences, doomsday prophesies, and apocalyptic events. KTVB takes a look at the couple's religious beliefs.
  • Tylee Ryan's aunt, the sister of Tylee's father, spoke to KSL-TV and says that around the time of her brother's death in March 2018 she noticed a change in Lori Vallow, starting with how "casually" Vallow seemed to take her ex's death; she also says it was around that time Vallow seemed to become obsessed with the end times. The aunt says that while discussing that obsession with her, Lori Vallow told her, "Sometimes, I think it would be better just to put my kids in a car and go off the side of a cliff."
  • The Mercury News reports that in addition to the deaths of Vallow's and Daybell's spouses and Vallow's brother, there was a shooting outside the home of the estranged husband of Vallow's niece Melani Boudreaux in October from a car registered to Charles Vallow. Brandon Boudreaux believes it was Lori Vallow's brother who shot at him; he says Melani had gotten involved in the same religious group as Lori Vallow and wanted a divorce. Melani Boudreaux, in turn, was arrested at the home of Brandon Boudreaux's parents in November after having been driven there by Lori Vallow's brother. She banged on the door saying she was there for her children, of whom Brandon Boudreaux has custody. The couple's divorce was finalized in November, and Melani married a divorced Idaho man days later.
  • Dateline is premiering a report on the case Friday, and People has a preview, reporting that one of Lori Vallow's friends says in the episode that Vallow is "telling people there’s a lot of media hype around her right now, and she’s waiting for that to die down."
  • She's waiting it out in Hawaii, where she and Daybell were located by authorities after fleeing Idaho shortly after a welfare check was carried out on the children in November and it was discovered they were missing. Lori Vallow had actually come to Idaho abruptly as well; she previously lived in Arizona with JJ and Tylee (and Charles Vallow before his death) and pulled JJ out of school there in September to relocate. She married Daybell in Idaho. Melani Boudreaux also lived in Arizona before relocating to Idaho.
(More of the odd developments in the sad case can be found here.)

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