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Alex Cox’s Cause of Death: How Did Lori Vallow’s Brother Die?

A comprehensive investigation into the death of Alex Cox, 51, confirmed the cause of death first reported in his autopsy. It says he died of natural causes. His family supported the report, saying in a statement that rumors made it harder for them to process their grief. Cox was Lori Vallow’s brother, and police say he shot her estranged husband, Charles Vallow, in self-defense.

Lori Vallow is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Charles Vallow, and she is also charged with murder in the deaths of her two children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. Lori Vallow’s husband, Chad Daybell, is also indicted for the murder of her children. Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell married five days after his wife, Tammy Daybell, died.

Read the full autopsy report here.

Here’s what you need to know:

An autopsy report showed Cox died of natural causes, but the case remained open until a medical examiner completed a 58-page report confirming the original findings, according to Fox 10 Phoenix.

Gilbert’s Arizona police were investigating his death until the final report, the news station reported. Cox was found unresponsive at his home on December 12, 2019, and police closed the case in January 2021. The 58-page report said Cox had no signs of trauma. He died of bilateral pulmonary thromboembolism, the report said, with contributing factors of atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, the coroner found. A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of the arteries leading to the lungs.

A toxicology report showed that the Cox had naloxone in his system. Naloxone is an overdose medication better known by the brand name Narcan.

The autopsy report said Cox had experienced chest pain and shortness of breath before becoming unresponsive on his bathroom floor on December 12, 2019.

Zulema Pastenes, his wife, told Fox 10 Phoenix that her husband had no history of health problems and that he was not routinely taking medication. His family said in a statement that the coroner’s report gave them closure.

The statement said:

Cox’s stepson found him on the bathroom floor “gasping for air as vomit came out of his mouth,” according to East Idaho News. His stepson called 911 and Cox was rushed to the hospital by first responders. He was pronounced dead at Banner Gateway Hospital, the news channel reported.

A detective wrote a report reviewed by East Idaho News and said he spoke to Cox’s wife at the hospital.

“Zulema asked me why she was being questioned and whether she was considered a suspect in her husband’s death,” the detective wrote in his report. “I assured her she was not a suspect, but I needed information from her about what happened in her house when Alex was discovered.”

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