Cult Mom Lori Vallow is once again a person of interest in a family member's death, as police are reviewing their investigation into the death of her third husband, Joseph Ryan. This decision comes just days after OK! and other news outlets posted an audio recording of Vallow in which she could be heard saying that she "was going to kill" Ryan. He died of a heart attack in 2018.
The Phoenix Police Department confirmed the news in a statement on Monday, November 9, saying: "The Phoenix Police Department has been made aware of the information and is reviewing the 2018 death investigation of Joseph Ryan." OK! later spoke with two individuals who have knowledge of the investigation and learned that both Vallow and her late brother Alex Cox are persons of interest to investigators.
"He was cremated, so there is not going to be any new physical evidence," explained one source. "It is really just looking at what they already have from the autopsy, and what Lori and her brother Alex were doing around that time, where they were doing it."
This review is thanks in large part to the work of Ryan's sister, Annie Cushing, who provided OK! and others with the 30-minute audio recording. OK! reached out to Annie for comment on Monday but she has yet to respond.
Vallow says on the audio that she had been “married to someone who was very awful, who raped my children, and I had divorced him and gotten away from him.” When he kept returning, Vallow claimed that she went to the scriptures — and learned that she would be justified in murdering Ryan. Vallow has now been charged with murdering the children, Tylee Ryan, 17, and JJ Vallow, 7, she was purporting to protect and then burying their bodies on the property of her fifth husband, Chad Daybell.
Vallow is also being investigated in the deaths of at least two more people, making her one of the few women in this country to have ever been a suspected serial killer.
Later in the recording, Vallow tells those in attendance that she is a warrior for God who has been sent to lead survivors of the upcoming apocalypse to a new promised land. The group of acolytes say nothing of this proclamation, which only encourages the cult mom to keep dispelling her divine delusions.
“I have been administered to by the angel Moroni. I have seen him. I have had lots of angelic ministry with people who wake me up at 4 o’clock in the morning and tell me things to do,” declares Vallow at one point.
“I no longer need to sleep very much, because I’m woken up constantly by angels giving me instructions on things I can do to help further the father’s work. The Lord is gathering his people. He is calling people to the 144,000. They’re already being called."
Lori Vallow is not the only member of her family under investigation in Ryan's death. Police are also looking at Vallow's brother, who violently attacked Ryan soon after the meeting where she spoke of killing him.
Alex Cox threatened to murder the cult mom's third husband — 12 years before he shot dead her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, in what he claimed was an act of self-defense. The incident occurred when Ryan was leaving a supervised visit with his daughter Tylee. Vallow, who had mandated that the visits be supervised, has now been charged with the murder of Tylee.
Of particular interest to the investigation is a letter Cox wrote to his girlfriend while serving time for tasering Ryan, in which he wrote: "P.S., can you get a picture from Lori of one of her ex-husbands and send it to me? Some of the guys would like to hang out with him."
Ryan was walking to his car in August 2007 when Cox approached him after waiting for him to leave the facility. Cox asked Ryan if he knew who he was before pulling out a stun gun and shooting him in the shoulder, according to the Affidavit for Warrant of Arrest and Detention obtained by OK!.
He initially thought Cox was armed with a loaded gun and began to run towards his car, but was sidelined when Cox shot him with the stun gun a second time — right in the back. "At one point Cox made a threat to kill Ryan," stated the warrant.
Ryan was able to stagger away from the scene, but Cox followed him even as he fled while fearing for his life. At that point an eyewitness arrived on the scene, which sent Cox running off on foot while Ryan collapsed and waited for EMTs to arrive.
Cox was eventually indicted by a grand jury and decided to enter a guilty plea to a charge of aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Ryan said that, in addition to fearing for his life, he also fractured his wrist when he fell after being stun-gunned that second time.
Cox ultimately served a few months in prison as a result, but a decade later suffered no repercussions after he shot dead his sister's fourth husband, Charles Vallow. That shooting, just like the incident with Ryan in 2007, also happened during a custody exchange amid a contentious divorce.