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 haven’t been seen since September 2019. In the months since they were reported missing, officials have been unable to locate the children, and the case became increasingly convoluted.
In November of last year, 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 that the couple had abruptly fled. The couple was later found in Hawaii, where police finally arrested Vallow in February. This summer, police found human remains on Daybell’s property, which they later confirmed belong to JJ and Tylee. Now, Daybell and Vallow are each facing felony conspiracy charges, and both have pleaded not guilty. Trials are scheduled to begin next year.
Here’s everything we know about the case.
Vallow’s children went missing in 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.”
A few months later, the couple was discovered in Hawaii.
On January 25, police located Vallow and Daybell driving near a beachside resort in Kauai. 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.
On February 20, Kauai police arrested Vallow on a $5 million warrant from Madison County, Idaho. She has been charged with two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children; arrests and seizures — resisting or obstructing officers; criminal solicitation to commit a crime; and contempt of court — and willful disobedience of court process or order, per the Kauai police department.
In June, police found human remains belonging to JJ and Tylee at Daybell’s house.
In June, local law enforcement and the FBI traveled to Daybell’s home, where they executed a search warrant, East Idaho News reported. In the ensuing hours, police took Daybell into custody and confirmed that human remains had been found on his property. Days later, police announced that the remains belonged to JJ and Tylee.
The next day, Daybell was officially charged with two felony counts of concealment or destruction of evidence.
According to CNN, a probable cause affidavit filed on June 29 in Fremont County, Idaho, described JJ’s body as “well-preserved,” wrapped in a double-layer of plastic and buried under rocks. Tylee’s body was “too damaged by fire and dismemberment and no longer had any recognizable features,” per the affidavit, and identified through an x-ray of her jawline.
Vallow and Daybell are both facing felony charges.
Vallow and Daybell are each facing their own charges, though Special Prosecutor Rob Wood has asked district judges to combine their cases. Vallow has been charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to alter, conceal, or destroy evidence, and three misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing officers, a solicitation to commit a crime, and contempt of court; Daybell has been charged with four felony charges of conspiracy to and destruction of evidence.
Both have pleaded not guilty and are now awaiting trials, which have been scheduled for early 2021.
A number of other people close to the couple have mysteriously died.
While JJ and Tylee were reported missing in 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 came under investigation, some of their beliefs 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.
This article has been updated.