As the search for missing Idaho siblings, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, continues, authorities will be taking the investigation to Yellowstone National Park after newly discovered photos suggested that one of the siblings was last seen there.
After authorities searched the iCloud account of 46-year-old Lori Vallow, the mother of the two children who authorities say has been largely uncooperative with their investigation, they found evidence that Ryan went on a day trip to the park with JJ, Lori’s brother Alex Cox, and Lori on September 8, 2019, according to court documents obtained and published online by the East Idaho News.
Authorities were also able to work with the National Park Service to obtain a photo that shows Ryan posing at the park’s entrance, as well as photos of Ryan that were on Lori's iCloud account, court documents state.
“This photo is the last time we can find any record of [Ryan] being with Lori Vallow,” court documents read. “We have found no witnesses who can verify they have seen [Ryan] since September 8, 2019.”
Investigators are waiting until the snow melts at the park to begin searching the area, unnamed law enforcement sources told CBS News.
Neither JJ nor Tylee have been seen alive since September, in a case that has greatly concerned authorities and attracted nationwide attention. Police said early on that they suspect that Lori knows where the children are or what happened to them, but she has “refused to work with law enforcement.” Instead, she and her new husband, 51-year-old Chad Daybell, left their home in Rexburg, Idaho soon after the investigation began, and were later tracked down in Kauai, Hawaii. The children were not with them.
Lori then ignored a court order to produce the children within five days. She was arrested Thursday in Princeville, Hawaii and charged with two felony counts of desertion of a child, in addition to misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt, the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney’s office said in a news release.
“The complaint filed by the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office in Rexburg, Idaho alleges that Vallow abandoned her two minor children, delayed law enforcement’s attempts to locate her children, and encouraged another individual to delay law enforcement’s attempts to locate her children,” the release reads.
She was booked on a $5 million bond as she awaits her extradition to Idaho, according to the office. However, Lori is asking for that amount to be reduced, NBC News reports.
JJ was last seen alive at his former elementary school on September 23, 2019, according to court documents obtained by the East Idaho News. Police have previously said that they “strongly believe” that both children are in danger.
Family members of Lori, including her late ex-husband, have claimed that Lori changed when she began getting involved with a religious group that some in her family referred to as a “cult,” according to the New York Post.
In court documents Lori's former husband Charles Vallow filed before his death, he alleged that his ex had begun to believe that she was “a God assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020,” according to Salt Lake City’s Fox 13.
Similarly, Chad Daybell is an author whose work focuses on end-of-the-world scenarios and prophecies, according to PEOPLE.
Most recently, it has been alleged that Lori’s niece Melani Pawlowski may know the whereabouts of the children, with Pawlowski’s former partner claiming in court documents that Pawlowski and Lori are both involved in a cult “where numerous members, adults and children alike have been killed off like flies,” according to court documents obtained by KSAZ-TV.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.