Ian Pawlowski, nephew-in-law to Lori Vallow Daybell, testified in Court Thursday that under request from the FBI, he secretly recorded conversations involving Vallow Daybell, Chad Daybell, Alex Cox and his wife.
The recordings were the subject of debate in the early part of Thursday’s session as the court deliberated on their admissibility as evidence for the jury. The State objected to the defense’s request to play the recordings. Judge Boyce denied their admission because the recordings constituted hearsay as most of the individuals recorded were not present.
Pawlowski married Vallow Daybell’s niece, Melanie Pawlowski, formerly known as Melanie Boudreaux, around the end of November 2019. In his testimony both Wednesday and Thursday, Pawlowski said that his wife “trusted (Chad and Lori Daybell) more than anyone” and that Vallow Daybell had manipulated and taken advantage of her.
Daybell and Vallow Daybell reportedly acted as spiritual mentors to Melanie Pawlowski, giving her spiritual blessings on more than one occasion and teaching her about “dark spirits” that were possessing the bodies of people around them.
At the time Ian Pawlowski met his wife, law enforcement in Idaho and Arizona were already investigating the whereabouts of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Vallow Daybell purportedly told Ian Pawlowski that Detectives Dave Hope and Ray Hermosillo of the Rexburg Police Department, who were involved in finding Tylee and JJ, were “zombies” with “dark spirits.”
Ian Pawlowski, who said he was concerned about the Vallow Daybell’s beliefs about dark spirits and the disappearances of her children, went to Rexburg police less than a week after his marriage to Melanie Pawlowski. FBI agents who were there asked him to make recordings for them.
One such recording, made on Dec. 6, purportedly includes Vallow Daybell telling her niece that she had just cast Satan out and “folded him like a taco and locked him in a box in Antarctica.”
On Dec. 12, 2019, the same day Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, died, she told Melanie Pawlowski that “spiritual attacks” were coming and that she should find “a place of safety.” After learning of the news of her uncle’s death, Ian Pawlowski said his wife received a blessing from both him and the Daybells. The Daybells did it over the phone — something not typically practiced by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which all involved parties belonged.
Ian Pawlowski said that what he viewed as blessings then now appear to have been manipulation. He said Vallow Daybell took advantage of his wife’s vulnerability caused by her divorce and led her to believe in such things as “dark spirits” and that her uncle had been killed by a “spiritual attack.”
“There’s reality and the layers of spiritual explanation laid over reality,” said Ian Pawlowski.
Melanie Pawlowski was previously married to Brandon Boudreaux. On Oct. 2, 2019, three weeks after their divorce was finalized, Boudreaux was shot at while in his car outside his house in Gilbert, Arizona. He said the assailant was inside of a Jeep Wrangler with Texas license plates.
Gilbert Police Officer Ryan Pillar testified in court Thursday that after he learned that Boudreaux’s ex-wife’s uncle, Alex Cox, was previously involved in the death of Charles Vallow, he investigated further and found that Vallow had a vehicle fitting that description registered in his name. The Jeep was later to tracked to Rexburg and seized by police there. Upon searching the vehicle, police discovered gunshot residue in the back that tested positive for having been discharged from a firearm.