The grandmother of a missing 8-year-old boy and his 17-year-old sister is now saying a $1 million life insurance policy could be partly to blame for the children going missing.
On Friday's "Dateline NBC," in a two-hour special, Kay and Larry Woodcock of Lake Charles will talk with host Keith Morrison about their desperate search for their grandson, Joshua Jaxon "J.J. Vallow and his sister, Tylee Ryan.
The children were last seen in September in Idaho and their mother, Lori Vallow, has refused to tell authorities the children's location.
Kay Woodcock's brother, Charles Vallow, was J.J.'s father. Charles and his wife, Lori, adopted J.J., who was Charles' grandnephew.
They were also raising Lori's daughter, Tylee, from a previous relationship, at their home in suburban Phoenix, according to the grandparents.
Charles Vallow filed divorce documents in an Arizona court last year, claiming Lori Vallow believed she was a "translated being." Vallow also accused Lori of threatening to kill him if he got in her way and he sought an order of protection.
The divorce never took place because Charles Vallow was killed last July by Lori Vallow's brother, Alex Cox, according to police. Cox told authorities he shot Charles in self-defense after the man hit him with a baseball bat, and the case remained open. Cox died of unknown causes in December, 2019.
"We know it was murder; we know Charles' death wasn't a justifiable homicide," Kay Woodcock said.
Last August, shortly after Charles died, Lori Vallow, 46, moved to Rexburg, Idaho, with J.J. and Tylee, according to the grandparents. It brought her closer to Chad Daybell's home in Salem, Idaho, where he lived with his wife, Tammy Daybell. Two months later, Tammy Daybell was dead of what police then said were natural causes but that has since been questioned and the body exhumed, although results have yet to be released.
Lori Vallow, in what was her fifth marriage, got married to Chad Daybell within weeks of Tammy Daybell's death.
Days after Charles Vallow was killed, Lori Vallow reportedly called his insurance company and asked about his $1 million life insurance policy. The agent told her Charles had changed his beneficiary information and she would not be receiving any money.
Kay Woodcock told a reporter with an Idaho television station that months before her brother died, he went to her to discuss life insurance. "Charles and I had a conversation," she said. "He had a $1 million policy with Lori as the beneficiary and he told me he wanted me to be the sole recipient. I told him to leave it to the boys (he also had two sons from a previous marriage)."
She said they didn't talk about it again but Kay Woodcock did confirm to the reporter that she received the money, which was not contingent on having custody of J.J.
A couple of weeks after Charles' death, Woodcock said she received a text message from Lori that said: "Five kids and no money; his sister gets everything." The text message was the last time she heard from Lori. And she believes the money could be the reason the children are missing.
"She (Lori) puts a price on people and if they are no longer of value to her she eliminates them," Woodcock said. "To her, it's all about the dollars. It's about the fact we got the money and she did not. She was bound and determined to hurt us and she used J.J. That's been her revenge."
The grandparents said they still feel hopeful about a positive resolution, especially since Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell were recently served with search warrants in Hawaii. Authorities said the couple, who were not arrested, had been living inside a gated community for several months. According to police, neither J.J. or Tylee were at the home and neither had been spotted in Hawaii.
Now, the previous spouses of both Vallow and Daybell are both dead, the children haven't been seen in months, and compounding the situation is the couple's doomsday beliefs.
Authorities have said the couple has continued to refuse to divulge the whereabouts of the children. Police in Hawaii briefly detained Vallow and Daybell to serve them with search warrants, and gave them five days to produce the children before the court in Rexburg, Idaho, or be found in contempt of court. She did not produce the children but no action has been taken yet on the matter.
Kay Woodcock has referred to Lori Vallow as a "black widow" (two previous husbands have died) who is "evil and wicked."
The FBI continues to investigate this case along with authorities in Arizona and Idaho, where Vallow and Daybell previously lived.