Police in Phoenix are reexamining the death of Lori Vallow’s third husband, Joseph Ryan, after a new recording came to light during which Vallow, who is facing charges in connection with the disappearance and death of her two children, said she “was going to murder” Ryan.
The Phoenix Police Department confirmed that it was aware of the recording and reviewing Ryan’s 2018 death investigation as a result. Ryan’s death was originally ruled to be from a heart attack.
“The Phoenix Police Department has been made aware of the information and is reviewing the 2018 death investigation of Joseph Ryan. No person of interest has been identified,” Mercedes Fortune, a spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY.
Vallow’s attorney did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
A ‘precious’ boy and ‘feisty’ sister,: Missing Idaho children found dead, police say
The review of Ryan’s death is just the latest twist in a bizarre case that spans multiple states, death investigations and “cult”-like religious beliefs.
Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, face felony charges alleging they concealed the remains of Vallow’s children, Joshua “JJ’ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, who were found buried around Daybell’s property in June.
The children had been missing from their Idaho home for months and the search for them garnered international attention as details of the couple’s radical beliefs came to light and Vallow and Daybell were spotted island hopping in Hawaii with the children no where to be seen.
Weeks before the children went missing, Daybell’s wife, Tammy Daybell, was found dead. Police initially believed her death was due to natural causes as Daybell said she died in her sleep. But police exhumed her remains in December and said the circumstances “may be suspicious.”
Vallow also could face charges in connection with the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Police in Chandler, Arizona, said in August that charges could be filed before the end of the year. Lori Vallow allegedly was in a dispute with Charles Vallow in July 2019 when Alex Cox, Lori Vallow’s late brother, fatally shot Charles Vallow.
Cox — who later died from a pulmonary blood clot in December, a medical report said — claimed self-defense but the case was being investigated as a homicide.
In the recording of Lori Vallow released earlier this month, Vallow described a custody battle and alleged abuse she and her children faced from Ryan.
“I was going to murder him. I was going to kill him. Like the scriptures say. Like Nephi killed. Just to stop the pain and to stop him coming after me and to stop him coming after my children. And I just thought I couldn’t take it anymore,” Vallow said.
Nephi is a prophet in the Book of Mormon, however, friends and family have described Vallow as holding extreme beliefs divergent from mainstream Mormon faith.
Lori Vallow arrested: What to know about deaths, marriages surrounding mom of missing Idaho kids
Cushing, who shared the audio with news media, said it was recorded after her brother’s death. She told the Post Register the audio was shared with her and that it came from a gathering connected to a group called Preparing a People, which had featured Vallow and Daybell on podcasts together.
Cushing told East Idaho News she was sharing the audio in hopes of it reopening her brother’s case. “You think you can’t be shocked anymore by Lori Vallow Daybell, and then you get a recording like this,” Cushing told the news outlet.
In the recording, Vallow said Ryan raped her children. She described emotional distress in dealing with him and how he allegedly tried to cast her as the “lying crazy Mormon”
“I did not have a murderous heart,” Vallow said. “I just wanted to stop the bleeding and stop the pain.”
In the audio, Vallow also described how her faith gave her strength during the troubling time. She spoke about her then-husband, Charles Vallow, and her late children, too.
At one point in the audio, Vallow also referenced “the 144,000” and said, “The time is now. He is coming. He is preparing us.”
In divorce documents before his death, Charles Vallow said he believed Lori Vallow would kill him and that she believed she was “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020.”
Vallow also said in the audio that she had been “sweet” and “innocent” her whole life, but that she saw visions of her as a “warrior” fighting in a religious war.
“I only thought that I was sweet and innocent,” Vallow said, then joked: “I am sweet. I am a sweet person. Don’t ask my husband.”
Vallow and Daybell are expected to face trial together later next year.
Contributing: Chelsea Curtis, Arizona Republic
Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lori Vallow Daybell: Phoenix police reviewing ex-husband’s death