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“Melani was being manipulated in one of the most difficult times of her life” – Melani Pawlowski’s husband during Lori Vallow-Daybell trial

ADA COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - As court resumed Thursday morning, John Thomas continued with cross examination of Ian Pawlowski.

Pawlowski met Melani Boudreaux (now Pawlowski) in November 2019. The couple was married in Las Vegas, Nevada 10 days after they met. 

Pawlowski says he had to ask Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow for her hand in marriage.

“At that time Chad and Lori were the closest family that she had, she trusted them more than any of her other relatives,” Pawlowski said.

At the request of the FBI, Pawlowski began recording phone conversations between his wife, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell. The arrangement lasted two weeks.

“The mutual hope was that we could get anything to help find Tylee and JJ,” Pawlowski said.

He says he made more than nine recordings for the FBI during the search for the children. 

“They were snippets with discussions between Melani and I and there were discussions between chad lori and Melani,” Pawlowski said. “I was trying to figure out what she was hearing and what she was understanding.”

“One thing that stands out is that Lori said she was able to cast Satan out by folding him up into the shape of a taco and locking him in a safe in Antarctica,” Pawlowski said.

The death of Alex Cox

Alex Cox died Dec. 12, 2019. Alex was Melani’s uncle and Pawlowski says she was understandably distraught. He says it was a very emotional day for wife and he tried to support her. 

“From what I recall, Melani had been told by Chad and Lori to go to a place in safety,” Pawlowski said. He said he recorded the phone conversation that day to turn them over to law enforcement.

Thomas asked him if he ever received or gave a blessing with Lori Vallow or Chad Daybell. Pawlowski said he did not remember any specific blessing, but “it was very possible, blessings were flying around like flies.”

“So Chad and Lori weren’t giving these blessings in a dark way, they were trying to raise you up to a higher level?” Prior asked. Pawlowski responds it did at the time.

“Now it feels more like manipulation,” Pawlowski said. “More than anything it feels like Melani was being manipulated in one of the most difficult times of her life.”

Thomas asked Pawlowski to further explain why he believes that his wife was being manipulated.

“She(Lori) was telling her that Brandon was dark,” Pawlowski said. “...that law enforcement officers that she was talking to were dark. When in reality they were investigating the disappearance of the children.

Thomas then asked him if Chad and Lori gave Malani a blessing at the time or in the past. Pawlowski said there were a handful, but there weren’t very many. 

Thomas then repeatedly asked him if he ever participated in a blessing with Chad and Loir over the phone. Pawlowski repeatedly answered maybe he did, but he didn’t remember a specific time.

Chad Daybell looks for new insurance

The state then called Taylor Ballard, a health insurance broker at the Ballard Insurance Group in Rexburg to the stand. Taylor met Chad Daybell on Oct. 31, 2019. He asked about getting health insurance for himself and his children after his wife passed away.

“At the time Idaho was looking to expand medicaid,” Taylor said. “ He made the comment that his income was going to look different now that he didn’t have his wife’s income.”

Given the situation, Taylor told him he would only need to purchase coverage until January 1. 

This is a developing story. We will continue to update it as court continues.

You can view a timeline of events and all our past stories on Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow-Daybell HERE.

Article Topic Follows: Vallow-Daybell Coverage

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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