Lori Vallow’s niece Melani Pawlowski gave another interview in which she again insisted she doesn’t know where Vallow’s missing children are, and claimed that Vallow was trying to protect 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow from relatives of her recently deceased husband.
In the interview for East Idaho News with reporter Nate Eaton, Melani and her husband Ian Pawlowski — joined by their laywers — described the weeks before police in Rexburg, Idaho, discovered the children were missing during a welfare check, leading Lori and her new husband Chad Daybell to flee the area. They were discovered living in Hawaii in January, though they may have been living there for weeks prior.
Melani said in the interview that she had not seen the children in person since they were packing up to move from their Chandler, Arizona, home late this summer, weeks after Vallow’s previous husband Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Lori’s brother Alex, who claimed self-defense. Melani said that Vallow and her children moved to Rexburg from Arizona just ahead of the start of the school year, and that at her aunt’s urging, Melani followed in early November, with at least one visit to Rexburg during the time Lori lived there.
From the interview:
“[Lori] said, ‘Just come. Try out somewhere new and come see if you like it up here.’ We toured BYU-Idaho and she said Tylee was with friends. [Tylee] always was with friends so I didn’t ask any questions about that. And JJ is either doing some type of therapy or with a nanny or in a school that will help him. So if I didn’t see him, I wasn’t asking, ‘Where is he?’ I just have always trusted her.
I had known that they left to Idaho because they were being threatened by people. I didn’t want to ask so many questions and I didn’t know what to do with that.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Melani suggested that Lori was trying to protect the children from Kay Woodcock, Charles Vallow’s sister and JJ’s biological grandmother. Melani claimed hat after she moved to same apartment complex where Lori was living in early November, she didn’t see much of Lori at all, so it didn’t concern her that she didn’t see the children. Instead, she said her uncle Alex visited her almost daily, and she was consumed with a custody battle between her and her ex-husband. Shortly after moving to Rexburg, Melani met her current husband Ian, who she married after only two weeks of dating.
“So if I saw Lori, she was still moving in and getting situated so I didn’t spend a lot of time over there. I did see some of their things and she had a room set up perfectly for Tylee and JJ and it didn’t seem strange to me,” Melani said in the interview.
“I knew the threats she was getting from Kay Woodcock and from others and I guess I didn’t ask questions because I knew that history. I knew what was going on and in my own head I’m trying to find out where my own kids are.”
Watch the interview on EastIdahoNews.com.
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