Case of the Missing Idaho Kids: A Timeline in the Disappearance of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan

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The search for 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and his sister, Tylee Ryan, 17, has entered its fifth month. The disappearance of the two siblings from Rexburg, Idaho, and their mother's refusal to help find them has sparked a nationwide search. 

It's also led investigators to reexamine a number of suspicious deaths and events surrounding the children's family. 

Here is a timeline of what we know about the case. 

July 11, 2019

JJ Vallow's adoptive father, Charles Vallow, was shot and killed by his mother's brother in Chandler, Arizona, at the home where JJ and Tylee were living with the mom, Lori. Charles Vallow had come to pick up JJ. 

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 also claimed Vallow came at him with a baseball bat after fighting with Lori and that Tylee had tried to defend her mother with a bat, according to the footage.  

Cox was not charged in the incident. 

July 12, 2019

KSAV-TV obtained text messages the station said Lori sent to Charles Vallow's sons the next day 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 she was with her son when he received the message. 

“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.”

August 2019 

Colby Ryan, Lori's oldest son, told KSAZ-TV that 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. 

Lori also returned JJ's specially-trained service dog to its trainer.

Neal Mestas recently told Inside Edition that he had trained a Goldendoodle puppy named Bailey for JJ, and the two became very close. 

"Bailey just helped him stay calm," Mestas said. "Was a comfort to him as well. One of the things that JJ really struggled with and the family struggled with was him sleeping through the night. He would get up and often times even try and sneak or wander out of the house. And so, when we first introduced Bailey to the home, that was one of the first nights that JJ stayed in his bed and slept through the night."

But Mestas said Lori told him they would be giving the dog back before their move to Idaho. When he inquired further about why they were giving the dog back, he said, Vallow told him it was too hard to talk about. 

August is also the last time JJ's biological grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, said they last spoke to him. While JJ used to speak with his grandparents all the time, the last time they FaceTimed with JJ, Kay Woodcock said it seemed like someone else was holding the device and the call lasted less than a minute. The couple never heard from JJ again. 

“We don’t know why we weren’t allowed more access to him, but we reached out constantly in every way – email, voicemail, text, phone call, whatever – and never, ever got a response, so that was very concerning to us," Kay Woodcock said during a Jan. 7 press conference.

Sept. 3, 2019

Lori enrolled JJ at Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg, the school's principal, Josh Wilson, told

Sept. 5, 2019

Lori told JJ's former school, Laurens Institute for Education, also known as LIFE Academy, in Gilbert, Arizona JJ would not be coming back to school this year, according to emails obtained by KTVB

"Since the circumstances in our lives have changed drastically since my husband passed away last month. I have been offered a job out of state and have had to accept it. we have had to move quickly since the job started asap. so I’m sad to inform you that Joshua won't be returning this year," the email from Lori read, according to KTVB. 

Sept. 23, 2019 

JJ is last seen at his elementary school in Rexburg, Idaho.

September 23 is listed as the day both JJ and Tylee were last seen in Rexburg, according to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, but Tylee's aunt, Anne Cushing, recently expressed her concerns to KSL-TV that Tylee could have been missing for longer because she was homeschooled. 

"We know when JJ was last seen but nobody seems to know when Tylee was last seen," Cushing told the station. 

Sept. 24, 2019

Lori Vallow Daybell unenrolled JJ from Kennedy Elementary School, explaining she planned to homeschool JJ, the school's principal told

Once JJ was unenrolled, he was no longer tracked by the school, because "Idaho does not regulate or monitor home school education," according to the state's Department of Education.  

It was also Tylee's 17th birthday. 

Oct. 1, 2019 

Lori began renting a storage unit for $53 per month from Self Storage Plus, according to a contract reviewed by

Surveillance footage reviewed by appears to show Alex Cox, Lori's late brother who fatally shot her ex-husband, visit the storage unit multiple times.  

Oct. 10, 2019 and Oct. 16, 2019

In October, two Venmo payments were made from Tylee's account to her brother, Colby Ryan. The memo for one payment on Oct. 16, 2019 is a heart emoji, and the message for another payment from Oct. 10, 2019 reads "we love you." 

Colby Ryan previously told KSAZ-TV his mom used Venmo to transfer money within the family. 

"My mom is not tech-savvy, so Tylee's account for Venmo was the account she used to transfer money to us," he told the station. Whether Tylee or Lori made the transfers is unknown.

Oct. 19, 2019 

Tammy Daybell, 49, was found dead in her home, police said. Her death was initially believed to be from natural causes. A later investigation "determined that [Tammy] Daybell's death may be suspicious," according to police. Her body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed, the results of which are still pending. 

A few weeks later, Chad and Lori Daybell married. 

Nov. 26, 2019

Authorities performed a welfare check on the Chad and Lori Daybell's home after being contacted by other family members. Lori and Chad tell police that JJ is staying with family friends in Arizona, but investigators learn this is false. 

Nov. 27, 2019

Police return to Lori and Chad's home to ask questions about the missing children and find that they have "abruptly vacated their residence and left Rexburg." 

Police obtained a warrant to search the home and the storage unit Lori had rented, reported

"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," reported

Dec. 12, 2019 

Lori Vallow Daybell's brother, Alex Cox, was found unconscious inside his home. 

A transcript of the 911 call obtained by KTVB shows that the person calling police said Cox was his mother's boyfriend and that he was not breathing. Cox later died. 

His death is currently under investigation. 

Dec. 19, 2019

Lori and Chad Daybell were named persons of interest in the children's disappearance. Neither have been arrested or charged with a crime and both deny any wrongdoing. 

Dec. 20, 2019

The Rexburg Police Department announced their search for JJ and Tylee, adding that the FBI had joined in the investigation. 

Dec. 23, 2019

An attorney for the Chad and Lori Daybell, Sean Bartholick, issued a statement on their behalf. 

“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. The couple have not issued another statement since. 

Jan. 3, 2020

Investigators seized 43 items from Chad Daybell's home, including computers, cell phones, journals, documents and medications, reported.

Jan. 25, 2020

A child protective action is filed on behalf of JJ and Tylee, and Lori Vallow Daybell is served with the order in Princeville, a city in Hawaii, by the Kauai Police Department.

The order gives Lori until Jan. 30 to physically produce the children to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in Rexburg or to the Rexburg Police.

Lori's fifth husband, Chad Daybell, was with her in Hawaii when the order was served, but the children were not and "there is no evidence that Tylee and J.J. were ever in Hawaii," according to the Madison County, Idaho Prosecutor’s Office. 

The Kauai Police Department also "served a search warrant on the vehicle and persons of Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow," according to the statement. Neither Chad nor Lori were arrested or charged with a crime. 

That same day, Nate Eaton, a journalist with, confronted Lori and Chad about the children's whereabouts. 

"Where are your kids?" Eaton asked the couple on camera shortly after they were stopped by police. 

"No comment," Lori Vallow Daybell told Eaton as she and Chad walked away. 

Jan. 30, 2020

Lori fails to produce the children to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in Rexburg or to the Rexburg Police by the deadline set forth in the child protective action. Lori's failure to comply with the order opens her up to potential civil or criminal contempt of court, according to the Madison County, Idaho Prosecutor’s Office.

Kay Woodcock, JJ's grandmother, said she didn't expect Lori to appear. 

"Show us the kids and end this craziness! It’s not hard to do," Kay Woodcock told

February 2020

Tylee's cellphone was found in her mother's possession in Hawaii, CBS News reported.  daho authorities have previously said "there is no evidence" that Tylee and her adopted 7-year-old brother, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, "were ever in Hawaii." 

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 has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds. 


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