Mom of Missing Idaho Kids Abandoned Their Things In A Storage Locker: Report
Where are JJ and Tylee? That's the question investigators and the children's extended family continue to ask six days after their mother missed the court-ordered deadline to physically show them to authorities in Idaho.
"We are frustrated but [authorities] have a job to do, this case is very complex," JJ's grandmother, Kay Woodcock, told InsideEdition.com.
Now, family members, text messages and photos of items from a storage unit are revealing new details about the bizarre events surrounding the children's disappearance. Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, were last seen on Sept. 23 in Rexburg, Idaho.
Lori Vallow Daybell and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, have been named persons of interest in their disappearance, but neither has been charged with a crime.
Police found Lori and Chad Daybell living in Kauai, Hawaii on Jan. 25 and conducted searches of the couple and their rented vehicle. But the children were not with them and "there is no evidence that Tylee and J.J. were ever in Hawaii," the Madison County, Idaho, prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Police also served Lori with a child protective action, which mandated that Lori physically bring JJ and Tylee to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or the Rexburg Police Department by 5 p.m. MST on Jan. 30. But Lori did not appear.
An attorney for the couple, Sean Bartholick, told InsideEdition.com that because of the sealed nature of the child protective action, he could not comment. Bartholick had previously issued a statement on behalf of the couple on Dec. 23.
“Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter. Lori Daybell is a devoted mother and resents assertions to the contrary. We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor," Bartholick wrote in the statement. Bartholick also reportedly said that he does not have any information about the missing children.
Here's what we have learned about the case since Lori missed the deadline to produce the children to authorities Jan. 30.
Abandoned storage unit
Lori Vallow Daybell rented and then failed to pay the bill for a storage unit full of the children's things in Rexburg, according to a contract reviewed by EastIdahoNews.com. The Rexburg Police Department did not immediately respond to InsideEdition.com's request for comment about the storage unit.
Lori began renting for $53 per month from Self Storage Plus on Oct. 1, according to the contract, and surveillance footage reviewed by EastIdahoNews.com appears to show Alex Cox, Lori's late brother who fatally shot her ex-husband, visit the storage unit multiple times.
On Nov. 27, after performing a welfare check for JJ Vallow at Lori's home and not finding him there, police obtained a warrant to search the home and the storage unit.
"Inside the storage unit, officers found bikes, a scooter, winter clothing, a photo album with pictures of JJ and Tylee, sports equipment, a backpack with JJ’s initials and a jersey with Colby Ryan’s (Lori Daybell’s oldest son) name on it. There were blankets showing photos of the children – one focused on JJ, and the other had pictures of Tylee," EastIdahoNews.com reported.
In January, after Lori Vallow Daybell's credit card was declined to pay the storage unit's monthly fee, Self Storage Plus notified the police, EastIdahoNews.com reported, and the items are being held pending a police investigation.
Lori's son speaks out
Ryan told the station that his mother abruptly moved to Hawaii with Tylee, leaving JJ and her then-husband, Charles Vallow, back in Arizona.
She moved back to Arizona a month later, Ryan told the station, and then Charles and Lori separated. Ryan told KSAZ-TV that his mother had told him Charles had a heart attack, but later revealed he had been shot and killed by Lori's brother, Alex Cox, on July 11, 2019, in Chandler, Arizona, at the home where JJ and Tylee were living with their mother.
Alex Cox, Lori's brother, told police he acted in self-defense when he shot Vallow, according to body cam footage released by the Chandler Police Department. Cox was not charged in the incident.
"No matter what happened, why was he shot in the chest, why was he killed? That just doesn't make sense, why did he have to die for a fight?" Ryan told KSAZ-TV.
Cox died himself on Dec. 12. Both Cox and Charles Vallows' deaths are now under investigation.
Ryan told the station that a month later, in August 2019, Lori told him she was moving to start a new job but she didn't tell him where, and then his contact with his mom and Tylee dropped off.
Ryan told KSAZ-TV he knew something was wrong when police visited him on the day before Thanksgiving.
"I called my mom and I'm like 'Two detectives just came to my door, what is going on?' And she said 'I got it, I'll take care of it... Love you and that was it," Ryan told the station.
New details emerge about Charles Vallow's death
KSAV-TV also obtained text messages the station said Lori sent to Charles Vallow's sons on July 12, 2019 telling them he had died.
"Hi boys. I have very sad news. Your dad passed away yesterday. I'm working on making arrangements and I'll keep you informed with what's going on. I'm still not sure how to handle things. Just want you to know that I love you and so did your dad!!" Lori wrote to Vallow's sons, according to KSAZ-TV.
But when the sons texted and called Lori to ask what had happened, she waited hours to respond and was not forthcoming about the circumstances around his death, according to KSAZ-TV.
Cheryl Wheeler, Charles Vallow's ex-wife and the boys' mother, told EastIdahoNews.com she was with her son when he received the message.
“He had just literally received a text from Lori saying his dad was dead,” Wheeler told EastIdahoNews.com. “We were shocked. He tried calling her back, he tried texting, but she would not answer.”
“I checked the medical examiner’s webpage and found Charles had been killed the day before, and they had it classified as a homicide,” Wheeler told the website. "We further Googled and saw all of the news reports out of Chandler. We found out that Alex (Cox, Lori’s brother) had shot him.”
Wheeler told the website she believes " Charles' death was "100% planned." But Cox was never charged in the incident. Wheeler said Lori did not organize a memorial service for Charles.
“Lori’s family scheduled no funeral services — nothing,” Wheeler said. “The Vallow family put together a memorial and Lori sent all of Charles’ ashes. Kay and Larry (JJ’s grandparents) begged Lori to have JJ there, but she didn’t let him go to his own dad’s funeral. They didn’t even have an obituary.”
How the public can help
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding the children's whereabouts or welfare to contact the department at 1-208-359-3000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST.
JJ has brown hair and brown eyes, is 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. He has autism and "may be in need of medical attention," according to authorities. Tylee Ryan has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.
Larry and Kay Woodcock, JJ's biological grandparents, are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the missing siblings and have also launched a website, FindJJandTylee.com, to help collect leads.
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