Lori Vallow Daybell's Niece Says She Experienced Tragedy During Childhood That Kept Her From Her Mother
Melani Pawlowski and her husband, Ian Pawlowski, are among 48 witnesses that could be called by the prosecution in Lori's case.
Lori Vallow Daybell's attorney is asking authorities to release records relating to her niece, Melani Pawlowski, Pawlowski's ex-husband, Brandon Boudreaux, and her current husband, Ian Pawlowski, who wrote a document claiming Lori believes in "zombies," "teleportation" and people who have been "possessed by a demon."
The latest request for discovery, filed Wednesday by Lori's attorney, Mark Means, requests "all recordings, statements, communications, reports, records, communications, exhibits, evidence, data, notes, charts, videos, photographs or the like regarding all interactions, discovery, or the like regarding Mrs. Melani Pawlowski (formerly known as Melani Boudreaux), Mr. Ian Pawlowski, and or Mr. Brandon Boudreaux." It also requests records related to several enforcement agencies.
The request comes ahead of a Dateline NBC special in which Melani and Ian are interviewed about Lori, her religious beliefs and her two missing children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17.
The siblings were last seen in September and their mother, Lori, is being held on $1 million bail in an Idaho jail on charges of deserting them and refusing to help law enforcement find them.
Lori has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Her attorney did not immediately respond to InsideEdition.com's request for comment.
Melani is the daughter of Lori's older sister, Stacey Lynne Cox Cope, who died on May 21, 1998 at the age of 31, according to an online memorial.
Growing up, Lori had two brothers, Alex and Adam, and two sisters, Stacey and Summer, her childhood friend, Bernadette Flores-Lopez, told InsideEdition.com.
Lori's brother, Adam Cox, wrote about Stacey's death in his book, My Crazy Radio Life.
"Stacey had passed away while living with my parents in San Antonio, Texas. She had gone through a terrible divorce," Adam wrote.
Melani mentioned her late mother and a custody battle in an April 25 Facebook post written the day after she turned 31, which was shared by FOX 10 Phoenix and CourtTV.
In the post, Melani wrote she was "unjustly taken away from my mother at age 6 and told all manner of lies about her. I stand here today grateful knowing that no one and no lie can take me away from the bond of my mother who was laid to rest since I was 9."
In his book, Adam wrote Stacey "suffered from a rare form of diabetes type one that she contracted during her pregnancy at age 22. Her style of diabetes was called 'gastroparesis' which prevented her from absorbing nutrients from her stomach into her bloodstream. When Stacey passed away while I was in Arkansas and [sic] a part of me passed away also."
Adam is also listed among 48 potential witnesses the prosecution could call in Lori's case. He did not immediately respond to InsideEdition.com's request for comment.
Melani also discussed her own ongoing custody battle over her four children with her ex-husband, Brandon.
In a court document filed in connection with that custody battle, Brandon claimed Melani "is involved in a cult where numerous members, adults and children alike, have been being killed off like flies," a claim Melani has repeatedly denied.
Brandon also claimed in the document that Melani's "knowledge of the whereabouts of her aunt's two missing children and her unwillingness to cooperate with law enforcement in finding those children is daunting to [Brandon]." Melani has also denied knowing where JJ and Tylee are.
Brandon also alleges that Melani conspired to kill him with her uncle, Alex Cox, in a drive-by shooting outside of Brandon's home in Arizona on Oct. 2. Alex, who is Lori's other brother, died on Dec. 12 and his death is currently under investigation.
Neither Brandon nor Melani's attorneys responded to InsideEdition.com's request for comment.
Melani, Brandon and Ian are also among a list of 48 potential witnesses the state of Idaho may call in hearings related to Lori's case.
Ian wrote about Lori's alleged religious beliefs in a summary of information he gave to law enforcement. Those beliefs include the existence of "translated beings" who "may, with the Lord's permission, teleport" and zombies who "have had their original spirits forced from them and have been possessed" by a "demon," "disembodied spirit" or a "worm/slug."
The document also contains disturbing details about Lori's missing children. Ian wrote that Melani told him she was concerned that Lori's late brother, Alex, might have had something to do with the disappearance of JJ and Tylee.
"Melani had been told by Chad and Lori that their children had been possessed and had become zombies," Pawlowski wrote. "She shared concerns that she's been told Brandon [Boudreaux] needed to die and that may indicate that Tylee and JJ needed to die as well.
"She told me she was worried that Al [Alex Cox] may have had to 'take care' of the kids. She explained that Al had great faith and never wavered in his trust in the Lord. No task would be too difficult or great for him. When I asked for clarification, she restated her concern verbatim."
Melani's attorneys, Robert P. Jarvis and Garrett L. Smith, issued a statement on March 25 accusing Brandon of "lies and deception" and said "Ian’s summary of information given to law enforcement, written and delivered to Melani’s lawyers, includes his conclusions that Melani is not a part of the extremist group."
“Melani Pawlowski has never been part of a cult," Melani's attorney, Garrett Smith, said in the statement. "She may understand some of the extremist beliefs of her aunt, Lori Vallow, and Chad Daybell, but that does not mean that she has adopted those beliefs as her own."
"Melani does not judge those who accept those extremist beliefs, just like she does not judge you or me for what we believe. Melani holds on to her core beliefs as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," he added.
Lori faces two counts of felony desertion of a child in the disappearance of JJ and Tylee, as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt, according to the Madison County, Idaho, prosecutor's office.
Lori was extradited from Hawaii to Idaho to face those charges on March 5 and remains in jail. She is next scheduled to appear in court Friday for a bond reduction hearing.
Her attorney filed a motion to delay her preliminary hearing, which was originally scheduled for May 7 and May 8 before Magistrate Judge Michelle Radford Mallard in Idaho.
Separately, Lori and her current husband, Chad Daybell, are currently under investigation by the Idaho Attorney General's office for "conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder" in the death of Chad's first wife, Tammy. Neither Chad nor Lori have been charged with a crime in connection with Tammy's death, and both deny all allegations of wrongdoing. '
The Dateline NBC special "What Happened To The Children?" airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
The search continues for JJ and Tylee, who were last seen more than six months ago. JJ has brown hair and brown eyes, is 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. He has autism and "may be in need of medical attention," according to authorities. Tylee has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding JJ and Tylee's whereabouts or welfare to contact the department at 1-208-359-3000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST.
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