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Niece of Lori Daybell says ex-husband’s claims are false, makes explosive allegations of her own

Daybell Case

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Melani Pawloski, in back with the blond hair, stands behind her attorneys Thursday in Mesa, Arizona, as reporters ask questions. | Courtesy photo

REXBURG — The niece of Lori Vallow Daybell claims she does not know the location of two missing Rexburg kids, and the statements made by her ex-husband are false.

Melani Pawloski appeared in a Mesa, Arizona, court with attorneys Robert Jarvis and Garrett Smith on Thursday afternoon for an ongoing child custody case between her and her ex-husband, Brandon Boudreaux. Boudreaux did not attend the closed hearing, and Pawloski did not make any comments to the media. After the hearing, she stood behind Smith and Jarvis outside the courthouse, and her lawyers gave a brief statement after taking questions from reporters.

Reporters specifically ask about child custody documents recently filed by Boudreaux that claim Pawloski knows where 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan are. The children disappeared from the Rexburg area in September and have not been seen since. Daybell is currently incarcerated in Hawaii awaiting extradition to Idaho for child abandonment charges in relation to the disappearance.

READ: The news release sent by attorneys for the niece of Lori Daybell

“I don’t know that Melani has an opinion about any of that, other than it’s what some people are saying that’s what she said,” Smith told Fox10 Phoenix. “Here’s one of the problems that we have with questions like that. You are taking material that is taken from a divorce pleading filed by an ex who has, as we’ve seen in this case, motivation to lie, to withhold evidence, to behave in a very bad way.”

The day before the child custody hearing, Pawloski’s attorneys sent a news release to EastIdahoNews.com “strenuously denying” the claims made by Boudreaux in court documents filed last week.

Other claims made by Boudreaux include that his ex-wife knows about an attempt on his life in Gilbert, Arizona, on Oct. 2. Boudreaux said a Jeep registered to Daybell’s dead husband, Charles Vallow, was used in the shooting. Police in Idaho seized the vehicle.

Boudreaux also indicated Pawloski was involved in a religious cult along with Daybell.

In response to those claims, Pawloski’s attorneys made some serious allegations of their own. First, they said Pawloski has cooperated and provided multiple interviews to the FBI that have lasted several hours.

The attorneys also claim Boudreaux has a history of victimizing women, uses “dark and extreme pornography,” engages in homosexual affairs and his family participates in coverups related to organized crime. The attorneys say Pawloski confronted Boudreaux with proof of the alleged pornography and homosexual affairs, which caused him to retaliate.

RELATED | Lori Daybell’s niece knows where JJ and Tylee are, ex-husband claims in court documents

“Boudreaux retaliated with threats to attack her and to take her kids away,” Smith said in the news release. “He has carried through with his threats by lying in his court documents. Sadly, and irresponsibly, much of the media has quoted Brandon Boudreaux’s biased, vindictive and fake accusations as truth and fact when they are his resentful, vengeful and dishonest efforts to get full custody of Melani’s children.”

Following the reported shooting, Boudreaux gained emergency custody of his children in an Arizona court. He fled the state and went into hiding. He said he feared for his life. Since the news broke, Boudreaux has given just one interview with Fox13 News in Salt Lake City.

Melani Pawloski | Facebook photo

Despite having custody, Jarvis says Boudreaux taking the children out of Arizona is unlawful and a violation of a court order.

“The Boudreaux family continues to unlawfully keep Melani’s children out of school and in a home with an abusive history,” he said. “Unfortunately, law enforcement has failed to search for the truth and has given into the manipulations of Brandon Boudreaux.”

Without offering any evidence of his claims, Smith also accused the Boudreaux family of covering up child molestations, drug addictions, kidnappings, assaults and killings.

“Brandon Boudreaux’s family is involved in organized crime,” Smith said. “Brandon Boudreaux has plenty to hide. A closer look would reveal many possible sources who would take a shot at him. Melani is not one of them.”

According to the court documents filed by Boudreaux, Pawloski’s new husband, Ian, told investigators his wife and her uncle Alex Cox conspired to kill Boudreaux. Police have not publicly made any indication on who shot at Boudreaux, but private investigator Rich Robertson, hired by Boudreaux, has suggested Cox pulled the trigger.

“As I understand it, law enforcement has some pretty good evidence to put Alex at that drive-by,” Robertson told EastIdahoNews.com.

But if Cox did shoot at Boudreaux, who came to the Rexburg storage unit on the afternoon of Oct. 2 — the same day — with Daybell?

Surveillance video shows her and another man originally believed to be Cox placing items into the unit. It’s this footage that Pawloski’s attorneys say proves Cox was not involved in the shooting, which occurred around 9:30 a.m, according to the news release.

Surveillance cameras show what appears to be Lori Vallow Daybell and a man visiting her storage unit. | Self Storage Plus

EastIdahoNews.com reviewed airline schedules and also determined the drive from Gilbert to Rexburg at nearly 14 hours. It would be nearly impossible for Cox to be in both places on that date. Robertson said it likely was someone else at the storage unit that day, though a truck matching the description of Cox’s appears on the camera Oct. 6.

Cox died under suspicious circumstances Dec. 12, and police are investigating.

As to a reason to the shooting, Boudreaux claims in documents that Pawloski hoped to cash in on a life insurance policy upwards of a million dollars to fund a “cult” she became involved with “where numerous members, adults and children alike, have been being killed off like flies.”

“Melani has never been associated with a cult,” Jarvis said. “Melani is a lifetime member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and her beliefs are consistent with the church. Melani holds close to her belief in a loving God. She loves her children and respects life.”

Jarvis said Boudreaux’s actions deprive the children of a “necessary relationship with their loving mother.”

He said everyone is asking where Joshua and Tylee are, but “why is no one asking the same question about Melani’s children?”

The Gilbert Police Department told EastIdahoNews.com the investigation of the shooting involving Boudreaux is ongoing. Department spokeswoman Brenda Carrasco said investigators contacted Pawloski, and they haven’t identified her as a suspect in the case.

“We are unable to substantiate the claims made about Mrs. Pawlowski in the child custody court filings submitted by Mr. Boudreaux,” Carrasco said. “Our investigators are continuing to follow up on all leads related to this case.”

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