The months-long search for Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, two Idaho children last seen in 2019, officially ended Saturday after authorities confirmed the human remains found earlier this week belonged to the children.
“It is with heavy hearts that we now confirm that those remains have now been officially identified as those of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan,” Rexburg police said in a statement Saturday.
JJ and Tylee were last seen in September and were reported missing by extended family members to police in November.
Their mother, Lori Vallow, and her husband, Chad Daybell, have been charged in the case.
Vallow, 46, was arrested in February and is facing two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children and one misdemeanor count each of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt.
Daybell, 51, was taken into custody Tuesday on two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence after the remains were found on his property.
Each is being held on a $1 million bond.
The case received national attention as it’s been shrouded in mystery, and after rumors of a cult and other deaths in the family surfaced.
The mysteriousness around the children’s deaths still remains. Authorities did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment as to how the children died or if charges for Vallow or Daybell will upgraded.
Vallow was lambasted by police throughout the search for the children, including in the early days when police said she “completely refused” to help.
“It is astonishing that rather than work with law enforcement to help us locate her own children, Lori Vallow has chosen instead to leave the state with her new husband,” police said, referring to Vallow’s sudden move to Hawaii with Daybell.
She also was condemned by officials while in Hawaii, when she failed to produce her children after she was ordered to do so by an Idaho court. She spent about a month in Hawaii with Daybell before she was arrested by police there on a warrant issued by authorities from Madison County, Idaho. Vallow was extradited to Idaho.
Vallow, through a statement from her attorney, has maintained her innocence and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Daybell has not yet entered a plea.
Concerns about Vallow began well before the children went missing.
Charles Vallow, the adopted father of JJ, filed for divorce from Lori Vallow in February 2019, court records from Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona show.
His attorney in the proceedings, Steven Ellsworth, said Charles Vallow expressed “genuine fear for his life and under our advice obtained an Order of Protection against Lori Vallow,” according to a statement Ellsworth sent ABC News.
His “fear for his life” appeared to stem from statements that Lori Vallow made after meeting Daybell.
She had at one point claimed she was “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020” and didn’t want anything to do with her family “because she had a more important mission to carry out,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News.
Daybell is the author of several religion-themed fiction books and spoke at some Preparing a People events.
Preparing a People issued a lengthy statement in December on its website, which appears to have since been deleted, explaining that the multimedia company has been providing services to a variety of clients over the past seven years.
“It is not a ‘group’ and is not a ‘Cult’ or something people join, but has educational lecture events that can be attended or watched on video,” the statement reads. “We also do not share any of Chad Daybell’s or Lori Vallow’s beliefs if they are contrary to Christian principles of honesty, integrity and truth.”
Beyond rumors of a cult, the case made headlines because of numerous family deaths.
Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Lori Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, in her Chandler, Arizona, home on July 11, 2019, police said. Cox was never charged, and the case was being looked at as self-defense.
Cox ended up being found unresponsive about six months after that shooting, on Dec. 11, 2019. He was found in his Gilbert, Arizona, home and later pronounced dead. An autopsy was performed and it was discovered that Cox died of natural cases.
In between Vallow and Cox’s death, Chad Daybell’s wife, Tammy Daybell, also died under circumstances that are now believed to be suspicious. Her autopsy results have not yet been released.
After the remains were discovered this week, the grandparents of JJ and eldest son of Lori Vallow issued a joint statement. They confirmed the remains were those of the children before authorities publicly said so.
“We are filled with unfathomable sadness that these two bright stars were stolen from us, and only hope that they died without pain or suffering,” the family said. “We have only just been told of the loss of our loved ones and need time to process.”
Human remains found on Chad Daybell’s property were of missing Idaho kids: Police originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
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