Authorities in Arizona have released more information about the circumstances of the death of Alex Cox, the uncle of two children who were found dead in their stepfather’s backyard in June.
Cox’s sister is Lori Vallow, whose children Tylee Ryan, 16, and J.J. Vallow, 7, had been missing for several months when investigators found their remains buried in the backyard of Vallow’s husband Chad Daybell’s home in Salem, Idaho. The children were last seen alive on separate dates in September 2019, and investigators traced Cox’s cell phone to Chad Daybell’s property on both those days.
Cox died in December 2019 of what a medical examiner determined was natural causes: A pulmonary embolism stemming from cardiovascular disease. According to new documents obtained by KSL-TV and EastIdahoNews.com, Cox’s wife, who he had married just weeks before his death, told investigators that he had been experiencing shortness of breath in the days leading up to his sudden death. On the day he died, he reportedly received a “blessing” over the phone from Chad Daybell, whose previous wife Tammy Daybell also died suddenly in October. Two months later, the day before Cox died, authorities excavated her body for further examination. The coroner has not yet released the results of Tammy Daybell’s autopsy or toxicology reports.
According to East Idaho News, police questioned family members after Cox’s death, when Cox’s wife Zulema Pastenes and her daughter appear to have given conflicting accounts of how well Pastenes knew Lori Vallow. Pastenes allegedly told police she had met Vallow, but indicated they were not close, and said she had not seen or spoken to Vallow recently. Pastenes’ daughter reportedly said that her mother and Vallow were good friends, and were both doomsday “preppers.”
According to the police documents, Pastenes initially spoke to police while at the hospital where Cox had been taken, but stopped after a family member advised her not to talk to police without a lawyer.
Investigators reportedly searched the home where Cox was found unresponsive, taking away unknown items of evidence. The descriptions of the evidence have been redacted from the police report, according to EastIdahoNews.com.
Neither Daybell or Vallow have been charged with murder, but both are in custody awaiting trial on concealment of evidence and/or conspiracy to conceal evidence charges. No other suspects have been charged in connection to the children’s deaths.
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