Arizona Police Investigating Death Of Lori Vallow’s Third Husband
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Officers with the Phoenix Police Department confirmed they are investigating the death of Joseph Ryan, Tylee Ryan’s father and Lori Vallow’s third husband.
Police are looking into whether Vallow was involved in his death after an alleged confession on tape surfaced.
In a records request obtained exclusively by KSL-TV, 121 images were released by the Phoenix Police Department from the day Joseph Ryan’s body was found in his Phoenix apartment on April 3, 2018, following a welfare check. The pictures were taken by detectives as part of their investigation.
“I was going to murder him [Ryan]. I was going to kill him, like the scriptures say,” a voice allegedly belonging to Vallow could be heard in an Oct. 2018 recording. “I didn’t have a murderous heart, I just wanted to stop the bleeding and stop the pain.”
KSL-TV obtained the recording from Ryan’s sister, Annie Cushing, who said it took place in October 2018, six months after 59-year-old Ryan was found dead inside his Phoenix apartment.
Listen to the full recording below:
Vallow also accused Ryan of sexually abusing her children, Tylee Ryan and Colby Ryan. Joseph Ryan was Tylee Ryan’s father and had legally adopted Colby Ryan following his marriage to Vallow.
Court documents indicate Vallow made similar allegations during the couple’s bitter divorce and custody battle for Tylee Ryan. Investigators were never able to substantiate Vallow’s claims, instead questioning whether the children were being “coached” by their mother.
During the recording, Vallow described her desire to kill Joseph Ryan as a turning point in her life and push to attend the temple, considered a sacred place of worship by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Members of the Church considered in good standing are able to attend the temple with a valid recommend.
“I went and met with my bishop and I was like, I’m either going to turn my life to the temple or I’m going to commit murder, so do you want to give me a temple recommend?” Vallow said she told her church leader, in the recording.
“I don’t know if she had a role in Joe’s death, but she sure wasn’t acting like an innocent person,” Cushing said.
"I couldn't believe that was him, he was left a shell of a man. The pictures show he wasn't in a good place." Annie Cushing says of stark contrast in #JosephRyan's driver's license picture from years before. DL was photographed day Ryan's body was found by police. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/CJtNDCRKJe
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) December 9, 2020
Phoenix police confirmed the audio recording is part of a review into Ryan’s death investigation.
It is now one of several cases tied to Vallow and Chad Daybell, her fifth and current husband.
“This is indicative of Lori’s perspective on not just Joe, but all of these victims. It was like their lives had no value, they were just cast aside,” Cushing said.
The couple is currently in custody facing charges related to the deaths of Vallow’s two children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow.
“When no one knew where Tylee was, I was like this is impossible,” Cushing said. “Again, she just kind of slipped away quietly like her dad.”
KSL-TV obtained 121* pictures that are part of the investigation into Joseph Ryan’s death. The pictures were taken by detectives inside Ryan’s apartment on April 3, 2018 — the day his body was found.
Police discovered Ryan’s body during a welfare check requested by his neighbor after their dog found a strong odor coming from Ryan’s apartment.
The neighbor told police he hadn’t seen Ryan in about a week.
“It [the apartment] was pretty threadbare, that stood out to me,” Cushing said. “He was a really organized guy and he was really into decorating. Everything looked like he had just moved in.”
Police also found Ryan’s passport and driver’s license — issued September 2017, seven months before his death.
“I just stared at it in disbelief, I hardly recognized him. He looked like a shell of a man,” Cushing said.
According to police reports, officers found no signs of forced entry. Ryan’s wallet was found in a kitchen near an open spaghetti jar on the stove and a few dishes in the sink.
Ryan’s body was found in a bedroom in a state of decomposition, with the TV apparently still on.
The medical examiner later ruled Ryan’s death of natural causes and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease — known as a trigger for heart attacks and strokes.
The pictures show several medications and toxicology reports indicate Ryan was taking anti-depressants and suffered from high blood pressure.
According to Cushing, Vallow told her she went to the apartment with Tylee Ryan shortly after Joseph Ryan’s death, taking “boxes and stacks” of photo albums and documents.
Cushing said Vallow asked her to go through Ryan’s photo albums during a May visit to Arizona.
“The albums still had that strong smell of death, but Lori didn’t seem to care,” she said. “When she was talking about his death … she went into pretty graphic detail about the state of his mattress … I had to stop her from sharing more.”
According to Cushing, Vallow didn’t call and inform his family about his death, despite being on good speaking terms.
“I called and texted her as soon as I found out,” Cushing said. “When I didn’t hear back, I emailed her saying it was about Joe and urgent. When I finally got a hold of her, she already knew and acted like it was no big deal.”
Cushing said it was the medical examiner that called and informed her of Ryan’s death. Later, Cushing said Vallow lied about the date police called her.
According to police records, an officer spoke with Vallow on April 13, 2018. However, Cushing said Vallow told her police called her on April 18, 2018.
“Why wouldn’t she inform me that Joe had passed?” Cushing said. “Was she just riding out the clock in hopes that Joe would be cremated before any family had been notified that he had passed?”
According to Cushing, Ryan was cremated by the county since there was no claim made for his remains.
“When Joe died, there wasn’t even an obituary for him. It was as if this guy passed without any recognition for his life. Even if there is a lot of animosity between them, you do that for your child,” Cushing said.
Cushing hopes a second look at Ryan’s case will determine if there was any foul play by Vallow.
“There’s a suspicious light over everything and nothing that she said checks out,” Cushing said.
A judge has ruled to combine the trials of Vallow and Daybell, scheduled for next year. Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, recently filed a motion in support of a change of venue, requesting the trial be held in Boise, Idaho.
Prior argued difficulty in finding an unbiased jury in Madison County due to intense media coverage.
“The largest population in the state is in the Boise, Nampa Caldwell area in Western Idaho. The hope of finding an impartial jury from a larger population is far more likely than in a very small number of eastern Idaho rural communities whose local media agency has an incredible following,” Prior said.
*KSL-TV has published 29 of the 121 pictures. Most of the unpublished photographs are considered very graphic and can be disturbing or are of a very similar nature.
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