A judge has refused a request from the jailed mother of missing Idaho siblings Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan to significantly lower her $5 million bail.
Lori Vallow, 46, was arrested in Hawaii on Thursday and charged with two felony counts of desertion of a child and misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt, the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney’s office said in a news release last week. Her two children have not been seen since September, and police have said that Vallow has been uncooperative with their investigation.
Vallow appeared in court on Wednesday, where a judge denied her request to lower her bail, NBC News reported. Her attorney, Craig De Costa, has argued that his client is not a flight risk, according to the outlet. Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell moved to Hawaii soon after the investigation began, police previously said.
Her lawyer contended that she’d already been planning to move before the charges against her were filed, and she did not attempt to flee the area afterward.
“She’s not hiding from law enforcement,” De Costa said.
He also argued that the bail amount was unreasonable for the charges that Vallow is facing, and requested that the amount be lowered to $10,000, the New York Post reported.
Prosecutors argued against reducing Vallow’s bail, citing the fact that she has $152,000 in her bank account, according to the outlet.
“Given the extensive media attention, she is clearly aware that the authorities have prioritized her case,” prosecutors argued in a court filing obtained by the outlet. “She also has the means to move across an ocean.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, Vallow waived her right to an extradition hearing and will be returned to Idaho, where the charges against her were filed, CNN reported. She did so in order to “expediate her return there, so she can defend herself against these false accusations,” her lawyer said.
JJ, 7, and Ryan, 17, have not been seen alive since last year; JJ — Vallow’s adopted son — was last seen on Sept. 23, 2019 at the elementary school he attended before Vallow withdrew him, telling school officials that she was going to homeschool him instead, according to court documents obtained by the East Idaho News.
Authorities believe that Ryan was last seen alive during a day trip to Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 8, 2019. They believed that she traveled to the park with her mother, her brother JJ, and Vallow’s brother Alex Cox; photos retrieved from Vallow’s iCloud account show Ryan at the park, as do photos that police were able to get from the National Park Service, court documents state.
Investigators plan to search the park once the snow in the area melts, CBS News reports, citing anonymous law enforcement sources.
Police said in December that they believe that Vallow knows where the children are or what happened to them, but has refused to work with them. They also stated that they “strongly believe” that the children’s lives are in danger. After authorities located Vallow and Daybell in Hawaii, they issued a court order for Vallow to produce the children in five days, but she ignored it, and the children’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
Sparking further concern is Vallow’s alleged involvement in what her family members have described as a cult. The former partner of Vallow’s niece Melani Pawlowski claimed in court documents that Pawlowski is in a cult “where numerous members, adults and children alike have been killed off like flies,” local outlet KSAZ-TV reports.