A judge in Hawaii has refused to lower the $5 million bail of an Idaho mother whose two children have been missing since September.
Lori Vallow is behind bars in Hawaii after being arrested on Feb. 20 for two counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. Vallow was ordered by authorities to present her children, 7-year-old Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and his sister, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, by January 31 after they went missing from Rexburg, Idaho, in September.
Police in Rexburg have said they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger” after learning that Lori and her newlywed husband, Chad Daybell, an author who writes about doomsday prophecies, had “abruptly vacated” the couple’s Rexburg home and left the area last November as police began a search for the two children.
But on Wednesday, Vallow’s attorney argued that Vallow moved to Hawaii to be with her husband and was not a flight risk.
“She’s not hiding from law enforcement,” Craig De Costa said, according to NBC News.
Prosecutors allege Vallow has defied court orders in the past, claiming she “abandoned her two minor children, delayed law enforcement’s attempts to locate her children and encouraged another individual to delay law enforcement’s attempts to locate her children.”
The search for the children began in November when Rexburg police attempted to conduct a welfare check on 7-year-old J.J., who is adopted and has special needs. Vallow and her husband told police the boy was staying with friends in Arizona, but police later learned that was not true.
Vallow‘s adult niece allegedly knows the whereabouts of the two missing children, and is “involved in a cult where numerous members, adults and children alike, have been being killed off like flies,” according to allegations raised in a divorce filing by the niece’s husband.
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The search for Vallow’s children has since yielded a second look at the October death of Daybell’s former wife, Tammy, which officials now term “suspicious,” and focused renewed attention on the July shooting death in Lori’s home of her former husband, Charles, by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, during an alleged altercation. Cox, who claimed self-defense and was not charged in the shooting, also has since died under circumstances that authorities are reviewing.
After apparently fleeing Idaho in late November, Vallow and Daybell were located January 25 in Kaua’i, Hawaii. Authorities said there was no indication the children were ever in Hawaii with the couple.
Vallow will return to Idaho after she chose to waive extradition Wednesday. She has not yet entered a plea.