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Charges dropped against son of Lori Vallow, the Idaho mom accused of killing 2 of her children

The sexual assault charges against Colby Jordan Ryan, 26, were dismissed without prejudice, meaning additional charges can be filed in the future, Arizona prosecutors said.
Image: Colby Ryan
Lori Vallow's son Colby Ryan talks to reporters in Rexburg, Idaho, on March 6, 2020. John Roark / The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool file

Sexual assault charges in Arizona against Colby Jordan Ryan, the surviving son of Lori Vallow, the Idaho woman accused of killing her two younger children, have been dropped, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said.

Ryan was arrested this month in Mesa, Arizona, after his estranged wife accused him of raping her at her home. He was charged with two counts of sexual assault.

The county attorney’s office dismissed the charges without prejudice, “which allows the office to file charges in the future and allows time for additional review of the case,” spokesperson Jennifer Liewer said.

Ryan was released from custody Thursday and must abide by conditions for his release, including not initiating contact with the alleged victim or the arresting officers and not possessing any drugs without valid prescriptions.

The victim, who was not publicly identified, told officers that Ryan went to her home on Aug. 31 to watch television, according to a probable cause statement. The pair are separated and do not live together. The woman told police that the two engaged in consensual kissing but that she did not want to have sexual intercourse. She told Ryan several times to stop, but he inappropriately touched her and then raped her, the probable cause statement says.

Afterward, Ryan told his wife that “he was sorry and started to cry,” the document says. The next day, the woman recorded a conversation with Ryan, who is alleged to have admitted inappropriately touching and raping her.

“During the recorded conversation the Defendant agreed that he ‘raped’ the Victim,” the probable cause affidavit says. Detectives also said Ryan “made verbal admissions” during a police interview, the document says.

Ryan was then charged with two counts of sexual assault and held at the Maricopa County jail. 

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Lori Vallow Daybell sits between her attorneys at a hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 16. Tony Blakeslee / East Idaho News via AP file

Ryan is the son of Lori Vallow, who — along with her husband, Chad Daybell — was charged with murdering her son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and daughter, Tylee Ryan, 17.

Prosecutors have alleged that the couple planned to kill Tylee and steal the Social Security benefits she was receiving because her father had died. They alleged that the couple also killed Joshua.

Authorities in Idaho began looking into the couple in November 2019 after family members reported the two children missing. The couple lied to police about the children’s whereabouts, at one point telling investigators that Joshua was staying with a friend out of state.

The couple eventually stopped cooperating with police and left the state. They were found in January 2020 in Hawaii. Later that year, the children’s remains were discovered buried on Daybell’s property.

Court documents said that Joshua was buried in a pet cemetery and that Tylee’s remains were dismembered and burned in a fire pit.

The couple are also embroiled in at least one other death. According to authorities, they married weeks after Daybell’s wife, Tammy, died unexpectedly. The death was initially ruled as natural, but investigators had the body exhumed for an autopsy. The autopsy, completed last year, ruled the death a homicide.

Prosecutors said Vallow and Daybell had exchanged text messages saying they believed Tammy was “in limbo” and “possessed by a spirit named Viola.”

Vallow is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona in connection with the death of her previous husband, Charles Vallow. He was shot and killed in 2019 by her brother, Alex Cox, who claimed he was acting in self-defense. Cox died later of what police said were natural causes.