Netflix’s focus on true-crime productions continues with the recent release of a three-part documentary dubbed Sins of Our Mother. It looks at the murders of Tylee Ryan and Joshua Vallow allegedly by their mother, Lori Vallow, and her husband, Chad Daybell. Prosecutors have charged Lori and Chad with the murders, and the trial is set for early 2023. 

As viewers learn in the documentary, Alex Cox, Lori’s older brother, was a key player in her life. Some fans believe that Alex was complicit in Tylee and Joshua’s deaths. 

Alex passed away in December 2019, months before authorities found the children’s bodies buried in Daybell’s yard. 

Alex Cox complained of chest pain before dying of a pulmonary embolism

On 12th December 2019, Alex’s stepson found him gasping for air on the bathroom floor. First responders rushed Cox to Banner Gateway Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. East Idaho News reported that Cox’s wife, Zulema Pastenes, didn’t appreciate a detective’s questions about Alex’s death. 

“Zulema asked me why she was being questioned, and if she was considered a suspect in the death of her husband,” the detective wrote. “I assured her she was not a suspect.”

Despite an initial autopsy concluding that Alex died of natural causes, police continued investigating the death until a medical examiner confirmed the autopsy’s results. 

A 58-page report by the medical examiner stated that Alex Cox died due to lateral pulmonary thromboembolism, with hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease listed as contributing factors. A pulmonary embolism blocks arteries leading to the lungs, explaining why Cox was gasping for air when his stepson found him. 

Zulema had told FOX 10 that Cox had no medical history and wasn’t taking medications. However, the autopsy report found Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, in Cox’s system. 

Cox’s family hoped the medical examiner’s report would end conspiracy theories about Alex’s death. The family’s statement read:

“Alex’s death had no sinister aspect. With a degree of vindication, the family hopes that the confirmation of this truth will help all to step back, take a breath, and allow the truth to unfold throughout the process. Rampant rumors of evil plots and conspiracy robbed the family of their time to grieve the loss of their husband, son, brother, and uncle.”

Cox killed her sister’s fourth husband months before his death

2019 was a year of loss in Lori Vallow’s life. On 11th July 2019, Cox fatally shot Lori’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Alex cooperated with investigators, telling them that he shot Charles in self-defense. 

Cox said he confronted Vallow about allegedly abusing his sister before Charles struck him with a bat. Alex responded by shooting Charles. 

In 2007, Alex spent time in jail for assaulting Cox’s third husband, Joseph Anthony Ryan Jr. Cox attacked Ryan with a taser and threatened to murder him, claiming he’d abused Lori. Alex pleaded guilty to the assault and spent 90 days in jail for the crime. 

Cox and his sister were very close and shared cult-like beliefs. For instance, they believed that people with dark spirits had to be killed. According to reporter Justin Lum, Alex was Lori’s hitman, taking out dark souls at her sister’s request. 

Adam Cox, Alex and Lori’s brother, warned the police about his siblings. He allegedly told officers:

“Lori and Alex planned Joe’s death. I’m telling you there is something wrong about Lori and Alex and this belief they have. Lori thinks death is nothing. There are just a lot of red flags for me.”

If Alex was still alive, he’d likely face murder charges. Following more extensive investigations, the police ruled Charles’ death a homicide. Furthermore, Cox was one of the last people to see Tylee and Joshua before they disappeared. 

Investigators suspected Alex of involvement in the children’s murders but couldn’t charge him: Cox was long dead by the time authorities found the bodies. 

Cox was accused by an ex-wife of sexual misconduct with Lori

In September 2020, a woman named Debbie contacted the Chandler Police Department to report sexual misconduct between Alex and Lori. Debbie claimed she was briefly married to Alex in the early 1990s. 

“There was just a lot of crazy dynamics in that family back then and it caused a lot of issues right away,” Debbie told a detective, as reported by East Idaho News. “There was a lot of inappropriate sexual touching and things going on in the family, particularly between him and his sister Lori.”

Debbie said Alex and Lori would simulate sexual acts, which she considered unusual for a brother and sister. “For example, he would pick her up and she would wrap her legs around his waist and he would kind of bounce her up and down on himself in front of me and they would moan and simulate sex acts,” Debbie added

Debbie said she left Alex after four or five months. “I just knew that that family was too weird, that I made a big mistake, and so I got out,” Debbie said. Debbie revealed she didn’t think Alex and Lori slept together.