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Valley prosecutors consider charging Lori Vallow in ex-husband’s death

FILE - In this March 6, 2020, file photo, Lori Vallow Daybell, left, glances at the camera during her hearing, in Rexburg, Idaho. In an indictment, Monday, May 24, 2021, Daybell, the mother of two children who were found dead in Idaho, in 2020, and her new husband were charged with murder in a case involving doomsday religious beliefs. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)

PHOENIX – Metro Phoenix prosecutors are considering whether to charge Lori Vallow Daybell in the death of her estranged husband, who was fatally shot nearly two years before she was indicted for murder in Idaho this week in the deaths of her two children.

The Chandler Police Department announced Thursday that it submitted its investigation of Charles Vallow’s death to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on April 1 and recommended charging Vallow Daybell with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

MCAO declined to comment beyond saying the case has been received and is under review.

“There is not a timeline for a charging decision at this time,” MCAO spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer said in an email.

Alex Cox, Vallow Daybell’s late brother, fatally shot Charles Vallow on July 11, 2019, in what Cox said was a case of self-defense. Charles had expressed concerns about Lori’s mental state when he filed for divorce in February of that year.

Cox wasn’t charged before he collapsed and died in Gilbert on Dec. 12, 2019. The county medical examiner said Cox, 51, had blood clots in his lungs and died of natural causes.

Shortly after Charles Vallow’s death, Lori Vallow Daybell — then still Lori Vallow — and her children moved to Idaho to live with Chad Daybell.

On Monday, Vallow Daybell and Daybell were each indicted by an Idaho grand jury on charges of conspiracy, murder and grand theft in connection with the deaths of Vallow Daybell’s two youngest children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.

Chad Daybell was also charged with one count of murder and insurance fraud in connection with the death of his late wife, Tammy Daybell, just weeks before his marriage to Lori.

The Idaho indictment, released Tuesday, doesn’t reveal any details of how the three victims died. But it does say that both Daybell and Vallow Daybell endorsed and espoused specific religious beliefs in order to justify or encourage the killings.

The children were missing for several months starting in 2019 until last year when authorities found their bodies buried on Chad Daybell’s property.

Both suspects have been in jail for months awaiting trial on charges including conspiracy or destruction of evidence after prosecutors said they conspired to hide the childrens’ remains. The indictment released Tuesday marked the first time murder charges have been brought in the case.

If convicted in Idaho, the Daybells could face life in prison or the death penalty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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