The search for Lori Vallow’s two missing children is officially over.
Authorities confirmed Saturday that the bodies found at doomsday author Chad Daybell’s property belonged to Vallow’s children, Tylee Ryan, 17, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, who have both been missing since September.
“It is with heavy hearts that we know confirm that those remains have been officially identified as those of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan,” Rexburg Police said in a statement after the discovery.
The bodies were found during a search of Daybell’s Freemont County home Tuesday by the Rexburg Police, Freemont County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho state investigators and the FBI.
Lori Vallow—the children’s mother—married Daybell shortly after the children disappeared and both of their previous spouses had died.
“It is not the outcome we had hoped; to be able to find the children safe. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of JJ and Tylee,” police said.
The investigation into the deaths remains “ongoing,” police said.
Tylee was last seen during a family outing with her mom, brother and uncle, Alex Cox, to the Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 8, 2019, according to an affidavit of probable cause released by the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney.
Her younger brother JJ was last seen a few weeks later on Sept. 23 at his elementary school. The following day Lori called the school to say she planned to homeschool the 7-year-old.
JJ’s grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, contacted police in November to request a welfare check on JJ after they were concerned that they hadn’t been able to reach him in months. That launched a months-long search to find the children.
Lori initially told authorities JJ had been staying with a family friend, but authorities quickly determined that wasn’t the case. When they returned to Lori’s Idaho home to follow up, they discovered she had fled the area.
She was later located—along with Daybell—in Kauai where they newlywed couple had been staying without the children.
Lori was arrested and charged in February with felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children after she failed to produce them by a deadline given by authorities.
Daybell was arrested last week and charged with destruction or concealment of evidence, according to East Idaho News.
Both are being held on a $1 million bond as the investigation into the children’s deaths continues, CNN reports.
The couple are also under investigation by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office for the death of Tammy Daybell, Chad’s wife who died in October just two weeks before Lori and Chad got married.
Lori’s estranged fourth husband Charles Vallow was also killed in July by her brother Alex Cox. Cox, who died himself in December, had claimed he had shot Charles in self-defense.
Those who knew the missing children are now left grieving their loss.
Shortly after the bodies were discovered, Kay and Larry Woodcock, along with Lori’s oldest son Colby Ryan, issued a statement asking for privacy, according to the East Idaho News.
“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 statement read.
The school JJ attended in Arizona before the family moved to Idaho also plans to hold a memorial service in his honor Friday morning.
The Laurens Institute for Education, a school serving children and adults with developmental disabilities, announced it will hold the memorial event at 8:30 a.m. to honor their former student and “show support for his grieving family,” the school’s co-founder and CEO Margaret Travillion said in a statement obtained by Oxygen.com. JJ had been diagnosed with autism, Travillion said.
“We owe it to JJ and all those we serve to stand up for and advocate for these very fragile children who need a greater sense of protection and advocacy,” she said. “JJ was beyond special and he truly was a light in this world.”
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