New details released about attempted shooting tied to Daybells as police recommend charges

Chad and Lori Daybell are pictured Jan. 26, 2020. Police in Arizona have asked prosecutors to review charges against the pair for conspiracy of attempted murder in connection with an incident involving Lori's former family member.

Chad and Lori Daybell are pictured Jan. 26, 2020. Police in Arizona have asked prosecutors to review charges against the pair for conspiracy of attempted murder in connection with an incident involving Lori's former family member. (Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews)



Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

GILBERT, Arizona — Police in Arizona have asked prosecutors to review charges against Chad and Lori Daybell for conspiracy of attempted murder in connection with an incident involving Lori Vallow Daybell's former family member.

The request came Tuesday after the Gilbert Police Department spent the past two years investigating the Oct. 2, 2019, attempted shooting of Brandon Boudreaux, Lori's former nephew-in-law. Court and police reports show Boudreaux, Melani Pawlowski's former husband, were in a contentious divorce at the time of the shooting.

The Daybells already face murder-related charges in connection with the deaths of two of her children and the couple's deceased spouses.

Investigators released details of the investigation Wednesday in a 304-page police report and a handful of body-worn camera videos. Police are not submitting charges against Pawlowski, according to the report. It's unclear if she could be charged in the future.

Based on evidence obtained during the investigation, police believe Alex Cox, Lori Daybell's brother and Pawlowski's uncle, drove a green Jeep Wrangler from Rexburg, Idaho, fired a single shot at Boudreaux and missed. Cox then drove back to Idaho. He cannot face charges since he died on Dec. 12, 2019, at his home in Arizona of what the medical examiner says were natural causes.

In the 48 hours leading up to the shooting, on Sept. 20, 2019, Lori Daybell made a search tied to her Gmail account. On that same day, Cox visited Lori Daybell's apartment and received a phone call from a burner phone belonging to Chad Daybell, according to the documents.

About 37 hours before the attempted shooting, a green Jeep Wrangler registered to Charles Vallow, Lori Daybell's husband killed by Cox in July 2019, was spotted, presumably by a license plate reader, driving southbound on Interstate 15 near Blackfoot. DNA evidence points to Cox driving the Jeep.

After about 11 hours of driving, the Jeep was spotted again westbound on Interstate 40 near Holbrook, Arizona, which is about three hours northeast of Gilbert. Twice that morning, Cox and Chad Daybell made calls between their burner phones, according to police reports.

Thirteen hours before the shooting, Cox's Gmail account show he searched Boudreaux's new rental address, which Pawloski and a few others knew. More communications took place between Chad Daybell and Cox's burner phones around this time, according to police.


Eyewitness accounts confirmed a dark-colored Jeep Wrangler with a Texas license plate, dark tinted windows and no wheel affixed to the back was parked idling on the wrong side of the street immediately west of Brandon's address.

–Police report


On Oct. 2, 2019, Cox's phone searched for directions to Boudreaux's address shortly after 7 a.m. Cox then drove to the address in the Jeep and stayed outside of Boudreaux's home until 9:17 a.m. Police reports show during that time, Chad Daybell and Cox communicated multiple times using their burner phones. Cox also called and texted Lori Daybell's personal cell phone while posted outside of Boudreaux's home, according to the report.

"Eyewitness accounts confirmed a dark-colored Jeep Wrangler with a Texas license plate, dark tinted windows and no wheel affixed to the back was parked idling on the wrong side of the street immediately west of Brandon's address," the police report reads.

Boudreaux told investigators he left the house around 7:25 a.m. with his four children, and when he returned around 9:14 a.m., he saw the back window of the Jeep open up. Boudreaux said he saw the muzzle of a gun pointed toward him and the gun was fired. The bullet hit the front driver's side door frame of Boudreaux's Tesla.

When Boudreaux drove away, the Jeep followed him briefly before turning out of the neighborhood. As Cox drove away, he called Chad Daybell twice through the burner phones, police said. Communication between the two continued until Cox approached Green River, Utah.

The day of the shooting, surveillance video obtained by EastIdahoNews.com showed Lori and Chad Daybell placing a single wheel with a tire into a Self Storage Plus storage unit in Rexburg that Lori Daybell had rented the day before.

Police reports show the evening after Cox is believed to have shot at Boudreaux, Lori searched the internet for "man shot in gilbert az," "man shot in gilbert az 10/2/2019" and "avc news brandon budreaux."

The Jeep driven by Cox made it back to Rexburg around 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2019. Hours after Cox returned, he and Lori were seen on surveillance cameras removing the single wheel with a tire and a back seat to a Jeep from the storage unit.

Investigators spoke to Pawlowski the day after the shooting and she denied knowing anything about it. Police said Pawlowski could not explain details of what she was doing when Cox is believed to have shot at Boudreaux. Pawlowski did not want to share the phone numbers of Cox and Lori Daybell, "because she believed their phones could be tracked and listened to," according to police.


Ian told Rexburg PD and the FBI that Melani said she would go to prison or die before turning against Lori and Chad.

–Police report


Following the shooting, investigators in both Arizona and Idaho learned that Pawlowski, Cox, and Chad and Lori Daybell were close. Pawlowski moved to the same apartment complex in Rexburg and married a man named Ian Pawlowski.

"Ian told Rexburg PD and the FBI that Melani said she would go to prison or die before turning against Lori and Chad," according to police. "That statement was not recorded."

As the investigation unfolded, police seized the Jeep in Rexburg. Not only did police find Cox's DNA in the Jeep, but also gunshot residue around the back window.

Before the attempted shooting of Boudreaux, police learned Lori Daybell's two children, 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, had vanished. Their bodies were found in June 2020 buried in Chad Daybell's backyard. Investigators also say Chad Daybell's first wife, Tammy Daybell, was killed in October 2019.

Chad and Lori Daybell, are already charged with multiple crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder. They are in connection to JJ, Tylee, Tammy Daybell and Charles Vallow's deaths.

The date for the Daybell's trial is not yet scheduled. Lori's case remains on hold after District Court Judge Steven Boyce committed her in June to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. A mental health professional determined Lori Daybell was not competent to stand trial and assist in her defense.

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Eric Grossarth

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