Court documents from Lori Vallow Daybell's bitter custody battle with her late ex-husband, Joseph Ryan, reveal the stress that their daughter, Tylee Ryan, lived with from a young age, as well as the existence of a $350,000 life insurance policy Joseph was required to take out as part of their divorce, naming Lori as the beneficiary.
The documents, unearthed and shared by citizen sleuths on Reddit and Facebook, include the couple's divorce filing, as well as reports from a Texas-based court-appointed guardian ad litem for Tylee.
That guardian, Mary Fogel, described an incident in which Lori's brother, Alex Cox, tasered Joseph Ryan after he dropped off Tylee, then 5, after a visit in 2007.
"There are many disturbing events in this case that included a tasering incident at kids exchange after the first supervised visit and an alleged assault in the courthouse cafeteria after a hearing," Fogel wrote in a 2007 report to a Texas court. "I am concerned about the level of tension effecting Tylee's emotional well being if visits continue during this period of uncertainty. Tylee has spoken to me about being 'scared' and not being able to sleep at night."
On Aug. 5, 2007, as Joseph was leaving the kids exchange after a supervised visit with Tylee, Cox approached him in the parking lot and asked Joseph "if he remembered him" before pulling out a stun gun and shocking him twice as Joseph tried to run away, according to an arrest warrant for Cox in Travis County, Texas, which was obtained and published by FOX 10 Phoenix.
"At the time of the assault, [Joseph] Ryan reported that he was in fear for his life. When the accused [Alex Cox] first reached into his clothing, he thought the accused was going to shoot him. The accused made a threat to kill Ryan," the warrant stated.
Cox was charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, court documents show.
But Lori and Joseph's battle over Tylee continued. Almost two years later, in a report to the court filed on July 15, 2009, Fogel called the fight over Tylee a "highly dramatic and emotional custody suit" that continued to take a toll on the now 6-year-old, who "was diagnosed with pancreatitis, having had two episodes requiring hospitalizations."
"I suspect her medical and emotional state has been adversely affected by the sustained level of conflict and the many trials and legal proceedings in this case," Fogel added.
Fogel also wrote in her 2009 report that "Tylee is in need of a legal advocate," explaining that she believes "Tylee's emotional well being has not been fully examined or explained to the court."
The documents also shed light on Lori and Joseph's financial situation at the time of their divorce. Joseph was required to pay Lori $1,500 per month in child support, and purchase a life insurance policy "for the benefit of the child that on [Joseph's] death will pay to Lori Norene Ryan an amount not less than $350,000," according to those documents.
As Inside Edition Digital previously reported, both Lori and Joseph were in financial trouble at the time of their divorce, according to court records. In a 2005 bankruptcy filing, Lori reported more than $723,000 in liabilities, and both Lori and Joseph were on the hook for $79,440.89 to the IRS.
According to the filing, Lori earned $3,700 per month as a self-employed hair stylist in Texas, plus $1,500 in support payments from her ex-husband, according to the bankruptcy filing. But her total monthly expenses were $6,200.
In addition to the money she owed on the house she lived in, Lori reported more than $28,000 in credit card debt, loans and other bills, including $11,346.03 on Joseph's Bank of America Visa and $5,150 on a Target credit card.
After separating from Joseph, Lori married her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, in 2006. Together, they adopted Charles' biological nephew, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, whom they raised with Tylee and Charles' sons from a previous marriage.
Lori was still listed as Joseph's next of kin when the 59-year-old was found dead in his Phoenix apartment on April 3, 2018, according to a Phoenix Police Department report obtained and published by FOX10 Phoenix. When Lori was notified of Joseph's death 10 days after his body was found, she told officers she hadn't spoken to her third husband in two years and "would let her daughter know of the death of her father," according to the report. An Arizona medical examiner ruled Joseph died from natural causes.
Over a year later in July 2019, Tylee would be captured on police body camera footage with her mother after Lori's brother shot and killed her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, at the home where Lori, Tylee and JJ were living.
Cox claimed he fired in self-defense, and was not charged in the incident. Cox died on Dec. 12 after being found unresponsive at his new wife's home. A medical examiner ruled Alex died of natural causes but his death also remains under investigation by the Gilbert, Arizona police department.
Shortly after Charles' death, Lori moved Tylee and JJ to Rexburg, Idaho with her. Police believe Tylee was killed just before her 17th birthday and buried in the backyard of the man who would become Lori's fifth husband, Chad Daybell. Tylee and JJ's remains were discovered on June 9 and Chad was arrested. He has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of willfully destroying, concealing or altering evidence and conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Chad denies all allegations of wrongdoing, and he is currently set to go on trial in January.
Lori is set to be arraigned on felony charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence on Thursday. She has previously pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Chad and Lori remain in jail in Idaho on $1 million bond.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding the case to contact them at 1-208-359-3000.