Last fall, Idaho officials started looking into the mysterious disappearance of two children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, who hadn’t been seen since last September. However, in the months since they were reported missing, officials have yet to locate the children, and the case has become increasingly convoluted.
In November, law enforcement visited the home of Lori Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, to perform a welfare check on JJ and Tylee, Vallow’s children who had been reported missing, according to the New York Times. The couple told police the children were living in Arizona, leaving authorities suspicious; when law enforcement arrived the next day with a search warrant, they discovered the couple had abruptly fled. What has transpired in the months since has only perplexed officials further. While the couple was recently found in Hawaii, they have ignored court-ordered deadlines to bring the children to authorities, and the whereabouts of the children remain unknown.
Meanwhile, authorities have also started looking into the mysterious deaths of the couple’s former partners, which occurred around the same time the children vanished.
Here’s everything we know about the convoluted case.
Vallow’s children have been missing since September.
Last November, extended family notified law enforcement in Rexburg, Idaho, that they hadn’t been able to get in touch with JJ and Tylee since September. In response to the alert, Rexburg police visited Vallow’s home, where she was living with Daybell, to question them about the minors’ whereabouts. According to police, the couple claimed the children had moved to Arizona, where they were living with other relatives, and requested that law enforcement return at a later date. When investigators showed up the following day, the couple had fled.
In a statement in early January, Rexburg police said, “We strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger.” However, the couple has not yet faced any charges in connection to the missing children.
In late January, the couple was discovered in Hawaii.
On January 25, police located Vallow and Daybell driving near a beachside resort in Kauai, the New York Times reports. Police searched their car but found no trace of the children, and served Vallow with a court order demanding that she bring the children to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare by January 30 or face legal action. According to the Times, Vallow missed the deadline, and as a result could be held in contempt of court.
“The only word coming to mind right now is ‘monster,’” Kay Woodcock, Joshua’s grandmother, said during a news conference on January 30. “All this has just been very disheartening … I’m a lot less optimistic at the moment.”
A storage company recently released footage of Vallow putting JJ’s items in a unit.
On February 4, an Idaho storage company released security footage showing Vallow visiting a storage unit in October and November, where she and a man — presumed to be her brother, Alex Cox — left behind items that reportedly belong to the two children. According to the East Idaho News, the belongings included photographs, clothing, bicycles, and blankets.
Per the News, Vallow’s credit card was declined in January, which is what prompted the storage company to notify police. “Self Storage Plus hopes for the speedy and safe return of Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan,” the company said in a statement, adding that it is “working with local authorities who are investigating the matter.”
A suspicious text was sent from Tylee’s phone after her disappearance.
On February 10, CBS News reported that Idaho police had recently found Tylee’s cell phone with Vallow and Daybell, and that it had been used after the 17-year-old’s disappearance. In October — a month after Tylee disappeared — two small Venmo payments were made from Tylee’s phone to a family member. Also, on October 25, a text was allegedly sent from the phone to a concerned friend: “hi. miss you guys too …luv ya.” According to the report, the friend found the text suspicious.
In the past six months, a number of people close to the couple have mysteriously died.
While JJ and Tylee have been reported missing since September, bizarre occurrences involving the couple date back to July, when Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Vallow’s estranged husband, Charles Vallow. At the time, detectives ruled the shooting a self-defense. In August, Vallow, her children, and Cox moved to Rexburg, Idaho, where Daybell joined them at the end of the month. Then, in December, Cox died of what the Times refers to as “unknown causes.”
There was a mysterious death on Daybell’s side of the family as well. On October 19, Daybell’s wife, Tammy Daybell, died of natural causes, according to her obituary. Approximately two weeks after her death, Daybell and Vallow were married. According to the Times, law enforcement has since exhumed Tammy’s remains, and has also performed tests on Cox’s. However, authorities have not yet released the results of either test.
The couple’s doomsday beliefs have come to light.
As the couple has come under investigation, some of their beliefs have raised eyebrows — notably, their involvement in Preparing a People, a doomsday-prepper group. In fact, one of Vallow’s friends told Fox 5 that Vallow was “100 percent into the end of times,” and found herself drawn to Daybell through the fictional doomsday books he had written.
Additionally, in divorce documents that Charles Vallow filed before his death, he claimed that Vallow believes she is “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020,” according to the Times.