The Maricopa County Medical Examiner has ruled that a Gilbert man whose death was suspected of being linked to a bizarre missing children case in Idaho died of natural causes but town police are still investigating the death.
Alexander Cox’s death last Dec. 12 was one of several peculiar events that preceded a criminal investigation into Lori Vallow, Cox’s sister, and the whereabouts of her two children.
Vallow was arrested in February on felony charges of child desertion and remains in police custody. Her 17-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son have not been seen since last September.
Vallow’s case has attracted national media attention, in part because of several suspicious deaths that occurred in the months leading up to her arrest.
Her estranged husband Charles was shot and killed by Cox last summer during a domestic dispute inside the family’s Chandler residence. Authorities initially determined Cox had acted in self-defense and and not immediately pursue criminal charges against him.
According to public records, Cox told Chandler Police he shot his brother-in-law after Vallow grabbed a baseball bat and threatened to harm the family.
Vallow told investigators an argument erupted between them after she confronted her husband about “plotting something” against her.
About six months after Charles Vallow’s death, Cox was found unresponsive by Gilbert Police at his home and died shortly after he was taken to the hospital.
The autopsy reports released this week conclude Cox died from a blood clot in his lungs.
The Medical Examiner’s report suggests Cox had been suffering from cardiovascular disease, which may have been a contributing factor in his death.
Cox’s wife allegedly told authorities he had complained of chest pains about a week before his death, according to autopsy reports.
A toxicology report indicates Cox had ingested naloxone, a medication used to quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, shortly before his death. No other substances were found in his system.
Despite the recent rulings by medical examiners, local law enforcement agencies have not yet officially closed their investigations into the deaths surrounding Lori Vallow.
Gilbert Police said detectives are reviewing Cox’s autopsy reports and the investigation into his death remains active.
Chandler Police said its investigation into the death of Charles Vallow is also open and ongoing.
Vallow moved out of her Chandler home shortly after her husband was killed and relocated to Rexburg, Idaho – the last known place Vallow’s children were seen alive.
Cox’s connection to the case didn’t end with the death of his brother-in-law.
Surveillance footage recovered from a storage center in Idaho suggests Cox may have helped his sister drop some items off at the family’s unit last October.
Rexburg Police later searched Vallow’s unit and recovered several items belonging to her two children.
The investigations into Vallow’s missing children have sparked infighting within her own family, with some relatives accusing others of practicing cult-like behavior.
A Gilbert man who had been married to Vallow’s niece has repeatedly claimed that some members of the family belong to a radical doomsday cult.
Melani Pawlowski, Vallow’s niece, has denied any assertions made by her ex-husband, according to statements from her attorneys.
Authorities in Idaho have additionally been investigating the untimely death of a woman who had been married previously to Vallow’s latest husband.
Tammy Daybell’s death in October had initially appeared to be the result of natural causes, but local law enforcement later exhumed her body on suspicion she may have been the victim of foul play.
Daybell’s husband, Chad, married Vallow within weeks of her death. He has not been charged with any crimes related to Vallow’s missing kids.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office claims it has not yet received the final results of Tammy Daybell’s autopsy, according to local media reports.