Case of 2 missing kids grows to include deaths, cult rumors

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FILE - This combination photo of undated photos released by National Center for Missing & Exploited Children show missing children Joshua JJ Vallow, left, and Tylee Ryan. Their relatives are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to their recovery. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via AP, File)

BOISE, ID – Two dead spouses, two missing children and rumors of a cult. Confusion is growing around a series of mysterious deaths and the disappearances of a 7-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl that tie back to a couple who have since vanished themselves.

Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan haven't been seen since September. Lori Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, never reported them missing and disappeared soon after being questioned about the children. What has followed is a twisted tale spanning two states that revealed the deaths of both their previous spouses, the couple's doomsday beliefs and children who slowly slipped away from relatives who are desperate to find them.

“All I want before I go is just to see those children, and especially — and I’m being greedy — especially my boy JJ. My little man,” grandfather Larry Woodcock said Tuesday at a press conference in Idaho announcing a $20,000 reward for information leading to the kids.

Wife Kay Woodcock's brother, Charles Vallow, adopted JJ when he was a baby. Charles and his wife, Lori Vallow, also raised Lori’s daughter from a previous relationship at their home in suburban Phoenix.

Lori Vallow was a hairdresser, always keeping JJ’s hair trimmed and styled, Larry Woodcock said. The Woodcocks, who live in Lake Charles, Louisiana, visited their grandson often and shared frequent phone calls and video chats when they couldn’t be there in person.

“I do know that Lori always had the best, the absolute best interest in heart for JJ. She and Charles were the absolute best parents,” he said.

But things began to change a few years ago, Kay Woodcock said. Her brother confided that he feared Lori was cheating on him with Chad Daybell, an author of several religious-themed fiction books about prophecies and the end of the world.

Charles Vallow eventually filed divorce documents in an Arizona court last February claiming that Lori believed she was a “translated being” and “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020,” The Arizona Republic newspaper reported.