Video of a boy happily playing outside and a photograph from a family trip to Yellowstone are the last images authorities have of two missing Idaho children, who disappeared months ago while in their mother’s care.
The last known images of Tylee Ryan, 17, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, were described in an affidavit of probable cause released by the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney as the search for the children continues.
The children’s mother, Lori Vallow, also referred to as Lori Daybell, was arrested last week in Hawaii on charges of felony desertion and nonsupport of dependent children after she refused to produce the children by a deadline given by authorities.
Detectives from the Rexburg Police Department said Tylee, whose father is deceased, was last seen in photographs captured Sept. 8, 2019 on a day trip to Yellowstone National Park. Investigators discovered a photograph showing her at the park entrance and also found a photo of her at the park in Vallow’s iCloud account.
“This photo is the last time we can find any record of (Tylee) being with Lori Vallow,” the affidavit stated. “We have found no witnesses who can verify they have seen (Tylee) since September 8, 2019.”
Vallow had allegedly told a friend that Tylee was attending classes at BYU-Idaho after the family had moved to Idaho near the beginning of September; however, there is no evidence the teen was ever enrolled at the college, the affidavit said.
JJ, who was adopted by Vallow and her now-deceased husband Charles Vallow, was last seen a couple of weeks after his older sister.
The short clip, obtained by East Idaho News, shows the young boy running across the courtyard of the complex with a friend as they played together before they disappear into the townhome rented by Vallow
The last time he was seen was on Sept. 23, 2019 at the Kennedy Elementary School, where he had been enrolled just a few weeks earlier. The following day, Vallow told the school that JJ would no longer be attending because she planned to homeschool him, according to the affidavit.
Neighbors living in the same complex also told police that their son had gone to play with JJ sometime in late September and was told by Vallow that he’d had gone to stay with his grandma.
A babysitter who had been hired to care for the 7-year-old also told police that she had watched JJ on Sept. 18 and believed she was being hired for an “ongoing” job, but when she reached out to Vallow on Sept. 24 she was told that JJ had gone to stay with his grandma and that her services were no longer needed, according to the affidavit.
Those who know Vallow have said the once dedicated mom began to change a few years ago after adopting doomsday-cult-like beliefs, according to the Associated Press. In court documents filed by her now deceased husband, Charles Vallow said he was afraid his wife was going to kill him and that she believed she was a “god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020.”
She also began growing increasingly close to Chad Daybell, a religious author who often wrote about doomsday scenarios, who she eventually married.
In November, JJ’s biological grandmother became increasingly concerned about his whereabouts after she had not been able to reach him for monts and called police to request a welfare check.
When authorities questioned Vallow on Nov. 26 about the boy’s whereabouts, she told them he was staying with her friend in Arizona; however, that woman later told police she was not watching him and that he had not been there for “several months,” according to the affidavit.
When authorities returned to Vallow’s townhome the following day, the newlywed couple had fled. Investigators have found evidence that the couple flew to Kaua’i on Dec. 1, where they remained until Vallow’s arrest last week.
The missing children have not been seen with the couple in Kaua’i, authorities said. A search of their condominium on the island also revealed “nothing” that appeared to belong to a 7-year-old child, authorities said. Investigators just found two beach chairs, two yoga mats and two beach towels in the garage of the condominium.
During a search of a storage garage unit in Idaho on Nov. 27, investigators found multiple items connected to the missing children including bikes, a scooter, photo albums, children’s clothing, toys, a backpack with JJ’s initials, and blankets with photos of the children, according to the affidavit.
Along with the disappearance of the two children, the couple has also been connected to a string of unusual deaths. Lori’s husband Charles Vallow, who had filed for divorce, was killed by her brother Alex Cox over the summer. Cox told authorities he’d shot Charles in self-defense, People reports. He was never charged in connection with the death and Cox himself died in December.
Chad Daybell’s wife, 49-year-old Tammy Daybell, also died on Oct. 19, 2019. The death was initial ruled the result of “natural” causes, but investigators have since exhumed the body and performed an autopsy. The results of that autopsy are still pending, according to People.