MESA, Ariz. — The niece of Lori Vallow appeared in court Thursday for a child custody hearing that involves allegations made by her ex-husband that she knows where Vallow's missing children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, could be.
Melani Pawloswki is trying to get joint custody of her four children amidst a divorce from her ex-husband, Brandon Bourdeaux. In divorce papers filed last week, Bourdeaux stated that Pawloswki "is under investigation relating to the disappearance of her aunt's two missing children," and "knows the whereabouts of her aunt's two missing children."
JJ Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, were last seen in September, but were not reported missing until November. Their mother, Lori Vallow, was arrested and charged with desertion and lack of support of her children in Hawaii in connection to their disappearance. She is awaiting extradition to Idaho.
During Thursday's court appearance, Pawloswki's lawyers said she has cooperated with the FBI several times in Idaho and gave them her laptop.
"She made three separate interviews with them that took several hours. She did that on her own jeopardy," Pawloswki's attorney Garrett Smith said. "She did not invoke her right to remain silent as was her right to do so. She cooperated and participated because she's got nothing to hide."
Boudreaux has also claimed that Pawloswki followed Vallow to Idaho and joined a cult "where numerous members, adults and children alike have been killed off like flies."
Pawloswki's lawyers said she doesn't share any extreme beliefs and she's not part of any cults.
"The fact that she is fond of her Aunt Lori and wants to be with her is not anything to use to cast aspersions against her," Smith said.
In his divorce filing, Bourdeaux also accuses Pawloswki and her uncle, in attempting to murder him on Oct. 2.. Bourdeaux asserts that on that night, he was in his car in front of his Gilbert, Arizona home when someone fired a shot, striking his car just above his head.
Bourdeaux later says he found a rifle with a silencer in a gray Jeep Wrangler registered to Vallow's ex-husband, Charles Vallow. He believes Melani was "hoping to cash in on that (insurance) policy to help support the cult that she is believed to be a part of."
In court documents refuting Brandon's claims, Pawloswki accused Bourdeaux of "questionable business dealings in Arizona." She goes on to say that, "there are many people who believe (Bourdeaux) stole from them or financially harmed them."
Pawlowski also alleges that she once confronted Boudreaux with proof of a pornography addiction and homosexual affairs. Boudreaux then allegedly retaliated with threats to attack her and to take her kids away.
"He has carried through with his threats by lying in his court documents," the statement reads. "Sadly, and irresponsibly, much of the media has quoted Brandon Boudreaux's biased, vindictive, and fake accusations as truth and fact when they are his resentful, vengeful, and dishonest efforts to get full custody of Melani's children."
Bourdeaux was not at Thursday's hearings. The judge set another hearing for March 26.
This story was originally published by Claudia Rupcich on KNXV in Phoenix.