This story caught my attention on Christmas Day, 2019 and I’ve been absolutely consumed by the twists and turn it has taken ever since.
Last week, the remains of seven year old JJ and eighteen year old Tylee were found, charred, in the back yard of their step-father’s home in Rexburg, Idaho. The saddest possible ending to the most deep, dark and twisted story I’ve heard in (quite possibly) my lifetime.
If you’re unfamiliar, JJ and Tylee have been missing since September 2019. They weren’t publicly reported as missing until Christmas 2019, though. How that happened? Well, I don’t know. I don’t know how any of this string of events happened. While their mother and step-father have not been officially charged with their deaths, I have no doubt in my mind that it’s coming. The police are likely just making sure they have an iron-clad case prior to filing charges.
This case has left me with a lot of questions, though.
- How are kids missing for three months without anyone knowing about it?
- What is the magic number of suspicious deaths in one’s past that would cause police to actually consider that person’s involvement?
- What kind of gall does a person have to show up for the court hearing of his wife, knowing full well he was the one who burned the bodies of the children that she was on trial for desertion of?
- How did NO ONE put this string of events together, chronologically, until January of 2020 if two children went missing in September of 2019?
- Why were two kids left in the custody of two deeply-disturbed individuals who had a trail of dead-bodies in their recent pasts?
I have so many questions and I’m almost certain that we’ll never get answers to any of those questions. Unless someone decides to make a movie about this, I’ll likely spend my lifetime confused and wondering.
This story is such a doozey. Here’s some brief details:
- 2006 – Lori Vallow married her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, and together they were raising her daughter from her previous marriage, Tylee Ryan. Lori also had a much older son named Colby Ryan who was not in her custody.
- 2014 – Lori Vallow and Charles Vallow legally adopted JJ Vallow and began raising him. JJ was an extended family member of Charles Vallow and required consistent care due to several special needs including severe autism. The couple were raising their children in Arizona.
- 2018 – Summer – Joseph Ryan, Lori’s third husband and Colby/Tylee’s father, mysteriously passed away of a heart attack in the summer. At the time his death was not considered suspicious, but now that everything has unfolded this year, an investigation into his death is now being re-opened. Lori was still emergency contact for Joseph Ryan at the time of his passing and, thought she was beneficiary of his life insurance policy. When she learned she wasn’t the beneficiary of his life insurance policy she told her son, Colby Ryan, that his father had passed away via text message and that’s all she was going to say and she refused to speak of it any farther. She also refused to give Joseph a proper funeral.
- 2018 – Fall – Whilst married to Charles Vallow, Lori Vallow meets doomsday cult follower/rumoured cult leader and author, Chad Daybell.
- 2019 – February – Charles Vallow files for divorce from Lori after proclaiming to multiple people, including authorities, that she was making concerning statements about zombies, the end of the world and threatening to end his life.
- 2019 – July – In Arizona, Lori’s brother Alex Cox shot and killed her soon-to-be ex-husband Charles Vallow in front of Tylee Ryan, in what Alex claimed was self-defense. Following the death of Charles Vallow in Arizona, Lori high-tails it out of Arizona and moves her and her children, abruptly, to Rexburg, Idaho. (Home of Chad Daybell) JJ was pulled from his school for special needs children, causing the school’s faculty to report the abrupt move to police, due to his severe autism and the move happening less than two weeks after the death of his father, they were worried for his well being.
- 2019 – September – September 9th was the last time Tylee was seen and September 23 was the last time that JJ was seen.
- 2019 – October – Chad Daybell’s wife of more than a decade, Tammy, died in her sleep. The death was deemed a suspicious circumstance as she was a healthy year old woman, but with Chad being her husband he ordered there be no-autopsy to find cause of death rushed to have her buried within less than a week of her death.
- 2019 – November – Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow got married only two weeks after the death of Tammy Daybell, in Hawaii. The pair married using wedding rings that were purchased with the credit card of Lori’s now-deceased former husband Charles Vallow. This marriage makes Chad Daybell Lori’s fifth husband.
- 2019 – November – JJ Vallow’s grandparents asked for police to do a welfare check on the family as they had not been able to speak to their grandson in eight weeks, and they were worried that Lori’s excuses each time they had tried to speak with him, were becoming more than excuses. Police perform a welfare check and Lori says the children are visiting their Aunt Melanie. The police said they would return to check on the children when they came back from their aunt’s house. The next day Chad Daybell and Lori high-tail it out of Rexburg and are gone. No one knows where they went, they didn’t leave a forwarding address and no one knows where JJ and Tylee are.
- 2019 – November – Police learn that JJ and Tylee were never at their aunt’s house and that their aunt is going through a tumultuous divorce with her soon-to-be ex-husband Brandon. Brandon was shot at, in an attempted murder, by someone who was driving Tylee’s car. Police now believe that Brandon was shot at by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, who had used Tylee’s car.
- 2019 – December – Lori’s brother Alex Cox was murdered. The death, at the time, was deemed to be of ‘natural causes’ but has since been reopened.
- 2019 – December – Police go public with their investigation into the whereabouts of JJ and Tylee. The public goes wild. Are they being held in some underground bunker? Their mom and step-dad are in a doomsday cult. Anything could be possible, right? People begin to hope that’s where they are because that would mean they were still alive and people just wanted to believe these kids were okay. Still, no one knows where Chad and Lori are.
- 2020 – January – Chad and Lori are found in Hawaii, ‘living their best lives’ at the beach. JJ and Tylee are nowhere to be found, though. What is found with them in Hawaii is Tylee’s cell phone. Tylee’s cell phone had been making regular text messages to her older brother Colby long after the time in which she’d actually been declared missing.
- 2020 – February – After failing to produce the whereabouts of her children to Kauai police, Lori Vallow-Daybell is taken into custody and extradited back to Rexburg, Idaho.
- 2020 – February – Colby Ryan, Lori’s oldest child, makes an appearance on the Dr. Phil show, pleading for anyone who might have seen his mother in Hawaii to share what they saw and if they ever saw his siblings with her.
- 2020 – March – Lori Vallow-Daybell makes her first court appearance in Rexburg, Idaho where the judge lessens her bail from 5 million to 1 million dollars due to their being no legal precedence on the case and his feeling as though 5 million dollars was an excessive bond when people couldn’t even prove where these kids were. Chad Daybell was in court, supporting Lori that day as she smugly sat and laughed at the prosecutor making his case for why she needed to stay in jail and should be required to turn over her kids.
- 2020 – March – Lori’s next court date was postponed from mid-March to July 2020 due to the Corona Virus outbreak. People, at this point, have lost any hope that JJ and Tylee are still alive.
- 2020 – June – The charred remains of JJ and Tylee’s bodies are found on the property of their step-father, Chad Daybell. Chad has been arrested and charged with destroying/concealing evidence.
So. Why no murder charges? Neighbours of Chad Daybell report a suspicious bonfire being held in his yard in October 2019 that was very out of character for him. Also, in the past week, court documents have been released publicly stating that it was actually the cell phone records of Chad Daybell and Alex Cox that lead police to Chad Daybell’s back yard where they inevitably found the remains of JJ and Tylee.
Also in the court records are transcripts of Lori proclaiming that her children, JJ and Tylee had been consumed by demons and that they would no longer be able to live and breathe as human beings because the demon spirits were within them. She claims that the demon spirits only die when the human body dies.
Now, Aunt Melanie is making her media tour, proclaiming that she knew Chad and Lori were bad all along and that she just needed time to process it. This a personal opinion here, but I think he’s highly culpable in this too. I think the fact that she knew as much information as she did about all of these suspicious events and how they strung together.
There’s so much to unpack with this story.
How is this going to be tried in a court of law? Two kids lost their lives and were mutilated. Four adults are also dead, all of suspicious circumstance. $75,000 went missing, and all of the evidence tying Chad and Lori to any of this was destroyed. Literally, they went so far as to burning JJ and Tylee’s bodies to try and destroy evidence.
How did no one in Chad Daybell’s neighbourhood smell the burning flesh? Why did no one listen to JJ’s grandparents or Tylee’s older brother for three months before they started actually taking the investigation seriously? How many mysterious deaths have to be in a person’s past before they’re considered a serial killer?
WHY DID NO ONE TAKES THESE KIDS AWAY from Lori and (by proxy) Chad? Will any of the people who lost their lives in this story get justice?
Chad and Lori believe that the end of the world is coming on July 14, 2020. So, when they’re still sitting in a jail cell on July 15th, are they going to be pissed off? Are they going to think it was all for nothing? Or, now that bodies have been found and details have been released about what actually happened to those kids, will someone in jail ‘take care’ of each of them? I’ve never been to jail but I’ve heard rumours that even people in jail live by a code.
Whatever happens, I hope there’s some justice for everyone who lost their lives in the path of the hurricane that is Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow-Daybell. Authorities dropped the ball big time
Joseph Ryan’s death… okay that could be chalked up to chance. But the moment Charles Vallow was killed, in front of Tylee no less, that’s when police should have intervened and removed those kids from her custody. Your brother murdering your ex-husband in front of your kid, to me, doesn’t seem like a fit place for a child to be living…
Every day more comes out about this story. Every day it gets more and more twisted. Those two kids deserved so much more in this life. I hope that Chad and Lori go to jail for a long time. And I hope that Tammy Daybell’s death, Charles Vallow’s death, Alex Cox’s death and Joseph Ryan’s death are all investigated as having ties to this story now. Because, this is a totally personal opinion here, these are all related.