5 Things To Know About Lori Vallow And The Investigation Into Her Missing Kids

The Idaho mom’s son and daughter disappeared without a trace in September.

January 31, 2020

Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan [NCMEC/Associated Press]

Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan [NCMEC/Associated Press]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

In late September, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, seemed to vanish into thin air. When police began investigating their disappearances at the urging of extended family, the kids’ mom, Lori Vallow, and her new husband, Chad Daybell, abruptly vacated the family’s home in Rexburg, Idaho. Months later, the case continues to take multiple twists and turns.

How the Investigation Began

On November 26, Rexburg police officers attempted to conduct a welfare check on Joshua, Vallow’s adopted son who has special needs. Vallow, 46, and Daybell, 51, claimed the boy was with a family friend in Arizona, but investigators determined that that wasn’t true. The couple was gone when cops went back to their home the next day, NBC News reported.

The Couple Was Tracked Down in Hawaii

Investigators recently located Vallow and Daybell in Kauai, Hawaii, and a Madison County prosecutor in Idaho filed a child protection order on behalf of the missing kids on Jan. 25. In a statement obtained by NBC News, the Kauai Police Department said they had served Vallow with the order, which required the mom to “physically produce her children to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare” by Jan. 30.

"KPD's desire is to continue to assist the Rexburg police in whatever way we can with their efforts to locate the missing children," said Kauai Police Chief Todd G. Raybuck. "It's our sincere hope that the children have a safe return."

Rexburg police claim Vallow knows what happened to her children but she and Daybell have refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Was the Couple Involved in a Cult?

Those close to Vallow and Daybell had grown concerned about the couple’s unorthodox religious beliefs and interest in the world ending.

In divorce documents filed in February 2019, Charles Vallow alleged his ex-wife believed she was "a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020,” USA Today reported.

Daybell, who wrote and published several apocalyptic novels, claimed he previously died and was able to have visions of the future, according to Boise’s KBOI-TV.

"Nothing with Lori right now makes sense," Larry Woodcock, Joshua’s biological grandfather, told ABC News, adding that the Vallow he once knew "is not the same person that is here on Earth today."

Vallow and Daybell Were Linked to Several Suspicious Deaths

After Vallow’s kids went missing, police began digging deeper into several deaths linked to the couple.

Vallow’s estranged husband, Charles Vallow, 62, was killed in July after her brother, Alex Cox, shot him to death during a fight in her home. Cox claimed self-defense at the time. Cox, 51, passed away on Dec. 12. Authorities are awaiting autopsy results before determining the cause of his death, according to KBOI-TV.

On October 19, just weeks before Vallow and Daybell were married, his first wife, Tammy Daybell, died in her sleep at age 49. Her death was initially determined the result of natural causes, but police have since ruled it suspicious. Her body was exhumed in December, and the Fremont County Sheriff’s office in Idaho is awaiting autopsy results, East Idaho News reported.

Vallow Failed To Prove Her Children Are Alive

According to the Rexburg Police Department, the court ordered Vallow to present her children to police in Idaho by Thursday, Jan. 30, or face possible civil or criminal contempt of court, ABC News reported.

JJ's grandmother, Kay Woodcock, said she is frustrated and baffled by the ongoing case.

“I'd love to know where those kids are and I think all of America wants to know where they are," Woodcock said at a Jan. 30 press conference.

She added: “How do you not have your child for four months? What kind of a mother does that? The only word that is coming to my mind right now is ‘monster’ and as much as I loved Lori…all this has just been very disheartening and I have so many questions.”

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