WHAT HAPPENED? (1)
This case is really, really crazy with a lot of moving parts. The date I chose is the date that just one small part of the entire story took place. And, interestingly (and sadly) enough, just over one month ago, a horrifying new discovery was made by investigators.
At the crux of the story are Tylee Ryan, age 16, and Joshua "J. J." Vallow, age 7, 2 children from Rexburg, Idaho who went missing in September of 2019. Their remains were found just over a month ago on June 10, 2020. Until that point, there was a chance they were deceased, but many were still holding out hope that they children would be found alive.
Tylee was last seen alive at Yellowstone National Park on September 9, 2019, and J. J. was last seen alive on September 23, 2019 at his elementary school. Relatives began to worry when they hadn't heard from the children and weeks, among a few other suspicious circumstances, and the mother of both kids, Lori Vallow Daybell, was questioned in November of 2019.
Lori, along with her new husband Chad, lied and said that 7-year-old J. J. was staying with a family friend in Arizona, but the lie came crashing down when the police called the friend and she said she had not seen him in months. (Seems like such an easily verifiable lie, why even go for it?) Over a week later, the friend, Melanie Gibb, called the police and said that Lori and Chad had asked her to lie about their son's whereabouts. When the police realized he was missing, they also discovered that his older sister, Tylee, was missing.
I told you this is a pretty odd, convoluted case so bare with me - this is just the intro! So, the mother refused to cooperate with the investigation. But, additionally complicating the case was a string of suspicious deaths and attempted deaths.
First up was Lori's estranged husband, Charles Vallow, who was shot and killed in Phoenix on July 11, 2019, by Lori's bother, Alex. Alex's self-defense claim was accepted by the police. But then, Alex died of a blood clot in December. Between those deaths, in October, Lori's niece, Melani's, estranged husband Brandon Boudreux, was shot in his driveway from a car registered to the deceased Charles Vallow. Also in October, Chad Daybell's wife at the time, Tammy, was attacked in her driveway, and then died in her sleep from "natural causes" a few weeks later. 2 weeks after Tammy died, Chad married Lori.
So obviously, somebody is after this family.
On February 20, 2020, Lori was arrested and charged with desertion of her children. She was extradited from Hawaii to Idaho. She remains in jail as of now. On June 9, 2020, police executed a search warrant at Chad's home and, sadly, on June 10, found the bodies of J. J. and Tylee. Chad was arrested and remains in jail.
THE DAYBELLS (1)
Chad Daybell (married to Tammy who died, then married to Lori who's children went missing, then had the remains of said children found in his home, that Chad) was born on August 11, 1968 in Utah. He married Tammy in 1990, meaning he was married to her for nearly 20 years and then remarried 2 weeks after her death, but I digress.
Chad graduated from Brigham Young University in 1992 with a degree in journalism, and he worked various jobs, including one as a gravedigger. In 2004, he founded a book company "devoted to his end times fiction and other religious books" which sounds terrible. The couple had 5 children together named Garth, Emma, Seth, Leah and Mark. In 2015, he "heard a voice" telling him to relocate to Rexburg, Idaho. For some reason, his wife was like "sure, that's fair reasoning" and they picked up and moved that summer.
On October 9, 2019, Tammy posted on Facebook that she was shot in her driveway by a masked man. She believed she had been shot by a defective paintball marker. However, after reporting it to the police, they did not find the perpetrator. A mere 10 days later, she was found dead in her home, from "natural causes" - however, despite her complaint only 10 days prior, and the other string of deaths surrounding her husband's soon-to-be wife's family, no autopsy or post-mortem was done.
Lori Daybell was born on June 26, 1973 in San Bernadino, California. She married her first husband, Nelson Yanes, in 1992, her high school sweetheart. The marriage quickly ended in divorce, and at age 22, she married her second husband, William Lagioia, who gave her her first child, a son named Colby, before they divorced.
Lori's 3rd husband was Joseph Anthony Ryan Jr., who legally adopted Colby before their daughter, Tylee, was born in 2002. And, if you are sensing the correct pattern, you'll already know that this marriage also ended in divorce, in 2005. In 2007, he was attacked, tasered and threatened by Lori's brother, Alex. However, he survived and Alex spent only 90 days in jail. He died of an apparent heart attack in April of 2018.
In February of 2006, Lori married her 4th husband, one Leland Vallow, better known as Charles Vallow. They stayed together for the longest out of all of her marriages. In 2013, they adopted Charles' grandnephew, J. J. Vallow before moving to Hawaii in late 2014.
In 2015, Lori got her hands on Chad Daybell's series of end-times-related books, and quickly became obsessed with them. The family (including Tylee and J. J.) moved from Hawaii to Arizona, and on December 5, 2018, Lori joined Chad on his podcast, becoming a regular guest. In February of 2019, Charles said that it felt like his wife no longer cared for him or their children. Charles filed for divorce, claiming Lori had threatened to kill him, but withdrew it later on saying he wanted to try to make the marriage work. He would die that summer on July 11, 2019 at the hands of Lori's brother, Alex.
Once both Lori and Chad's spouses were dead, they married in Hawaii on November 5, 2019. Around the same time, they were telling people that Tylee had died back in 2017, or that they had no children at all. J. J.'s grandmother requested the police perform a welfare check on the boy, but Lori claimed that he was visiting friends in Arizona.
THE CRIME-LINE (1)
The brunt of the activity in this wild case takes place in 2019, but for a quick background, I'll run through everything notable that happened before 2019.
In 1990, Chad and Tammy get married.
In 2002, Tylee Ryan is born to Lori and Joseph Ryan, but they divorce
In 2006, Lori marries Charles Vallow
In 2007, Lori's brother Alex attacks Lori's ex-husband, Joseph Ryan (he survives)
In 2012, J. J. is born, the son of Charles' nephew
In 2014, J. J. is legally adopted by Lori and Charles
Later in 2014, Charles, Lori, Tylee and J. J. move to Hawaii (it is unclear where Colby is at this point)
In 2017, the family moves to Arizona
In 2018, Joseph Ryan apparently dies of a heart attack
Later in 2018, Lori meets Chad Daybell
Okay, now we are in 2019, so I will spend a bit more time on these critical parts of the story.
From February to March 2019, the Vallow's relationship is skating on super thin ice. For 58 days during these months, Lori disappeared. This is around the time she is becoming obsessed with Chad Daybell, and she's regularly spouting off end-times and super religious thoughts on his podcast. Her 58 day disappearance is not detailed very well, but we do know her husband and children did not know where she was for that time period.
Also in February, Charles filed for divorce on the grounds that his wife threatened to murder him if he "got in the way of her preparations for Christ's second coming in July 2020". (I love that the date is not specific, it seems like a movie poster. CHRIST'S SECOND COMING. COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU IN JULY 2020). Anyway, he eventually revoked his divorce paperwork because he wanted to make his marriage work.
On July 11, 2019, 1 year ago today, something happened between Lori's brother, Alex Cox, and her husband, Charles Vallow, because he was shot dead. However, Alex claimed self-defense, and the police went with it, so it is a bit unclear what happened between the 2 of them. But given this would not be the first of his sister's exes to attack, I would give him a second look. The next day, Lori texted Charles' sons from another marriage of his death VIA TEXT MESSAGE, and doges all questions regarding the cause of death.
A few days later, Lori found out that her late husband had changed the beneficiary of his million dollar life insurance policy to Kay Woodcock, his sister, who is J. J.'s paternal grandmother, instead of to Lori. Oops. If his death was a hit, this was perhaps something they should have checked before committing murder.
August 10, 2019 would be the last time Kay and her husband, Larry, would ever speak to their grandson J. J.
In September of 2019, Lori, Tylee and J. J. moved to Rexburg, Idaho to be with Chad. However, at this point, he is still a married man for nearly 20 years.
On September 8, 2019, Tylee was seen alive for the last time. She had visited Yellowstone National Park with her brother, Lori, and Alex. She was never seen alive again. However, in October, 2 Venmo payments were made from Tylee's phone to her older half-brother, Colby, one with the message "we love you" and the other with a heart emoji. Colby texted her, but she responded and said she was safe, but too busy to talk. He became worried about his half-sister when repeated calls to her phone went unanswered.
On September 23, 2019, J. J. was last seen at his new elementary school in Rexburg. The following day, he didn't show up for school, and Lori told the school that he would no longer be attending and will be home-schooled instead. A few days later, Lori rented a storage locker, where she put all of the children's belongings, which were found later.
Okay, so here is where the string of deaths begin. At this point, both children are missing but nobody really knows about it.
On October 2, 2019, Brandon Boudreaux, Lori's nephew-in-law, is shot, but not killed, in a failed drive-by shooting in Arizona, by someone driving a green jeep that is registered to Charles Vallow, who had been dead since July.
On October 9, 2019, Tammy calls the police after a masked man tried to shoot her with a paintball gun in her driveway. The police never find a perpetrator, but is found dead in her home 10 days later on October 19, 2019, of "natural causes". As of February 2020, her death is under investigation.
Elsewhere in October and November, Alex is seen on security video regularly visiting Lori's storage unit. At the end of the month, Alex and Lori's niece, Melani (wife of the shot-but-survived Brandon) are seen packing up in Arizona, leaving the children's items on the curb. Alex and Melani arrive in Rexburg on November 4.
On November 5, 2019, Lori marries Chad in Hawaii. At this point, it has been about 4 months since her husband was murdered, and 2 weeks since his wife has died.
In the latter half of 2019 and into the early parts of 2020, a lot happens. The first time red flags are raised about the children is November 26, 2019, when the police conduct a welfare check on J. J., only to be told that he was staying with friends in Arizona. They also claim Tylee was away visiting Brigham Young University. The next day, Chad and Lori are seen packing. They abandon everything, including the storage unit, and disappear to Hawaii until they were found in late January. After they skipped town, the Rexburg police searched for the children in Lori, Alex and Melani's apartments, to no avail.
Additionally in November, Alex marries Zulema Pastenes in Las Vegas and takes her last name, and Melani divorces Brandon and marries one Ian Pawlowski a day later.
In December, given all of the strange things surrounding the family, authorities decide to re-investigate the death of Tammy. The next day, Alex is found dead in his home, attributed to natural causes.
At the very end of December, the police announce an official investigation into the disappearances of Tylee and J. J. At the top of the new year, they searched Chad and Tammy's former Idaho home, and find nothing. At the end of January, Chad and Lori are found in Hawaii, and Lori is told to produce her children within 5 days, however, she misses the deadline. She is arrested on felony counts of desertion and non-support of dependent children.
A few days later, as this is a family affair, Brandon claims that Ian Pawlowski told law enforcement that Melani conspired with Alex to kill Brandon. Indeed, police were investigating Melani's involvement in Brandon's shooting and the disappearance of the children.
In March, Lori was extradited from Hawaii to Idaho. She remained in jail. And until just a month ago, that was the end of the story. Lori was in jail for abandoning her children, and a whole string of people close to her were either missing or dead.
However, on June 9, 2020, human remains were found on Chad's property in Salem, Idaho. He was charged with 2 felony counts of destructing or concealing evidence, and is currently in jail. On June 10, 2020, Kay Woodcock announced that one of the sets of human remains belonged to her grandson, J. J. Vallow. The Ryan family confirmed that the second body belonged to Tylee. Both were confirmed on June 13, 2020.
SO, WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED? (2)
If it didn't come across as such in this article, I'll try to make it more clear: Lori and Chad were a bit crazy. He was a doomsday preacher hearing voices telling him to move to rural flyover states, and she was becoming obsessed with his teachings.
Melanie Gibb, the friend whom Lori claimed her son was staying with after he was found to be missing, said that Lori had told her Tylee had become "a zombie", like her spirit had left her body in the months leading up to her disappearance. In reality, she was just a teenager who was becoming more difficult to deal with, talking back when asked to babysit her younger brother, as most teenage girls would do.
Tylee was dismembered and burned.
Lori told Melanie the same thing about her son, that he had become a "zombie", citing sitting still and watching TV as a zombie-like behavior he had. You know, like being a 7-year-old. Though Melanie felt J. J.'s behavior was exactly as it always had been, Lori claimed he had an extensive vocabulary which spoke to his demon-esque ways, and would tell her he loved Satan. She told Melanie that she and Chad had a mision to rid the world of zombies.
His body was wrapped in tight plastic and secured with gray duct tape.
But what actually happened? Who all was involved? Why did they do it? Who knew about it? Those are all questions that aren't answered yet and may come out in a trial, but may never. Given Lori's dismissal of her children, telling people they had died or were elsewhere, obviously implicates her in their deaths. However, their bodies being buried on Chad's property, and Chad being the one spouting off the doomsday ideals the couple adopted, also indicates that he was likely involved, as well. Alex was more than certainly involved, but he is dead. Killed? Or just another random and convenient "natural cause"?
We know very basic information. We know Alex attacked Joseph Ryan and killed Charles Vallow. We know Brandon Boudreux was shot at by someone driving Charles' car. We know Tammy was shot at. We know Tammy died, and that Alex died, but despite a "natural causes" ruling, we can assume perhaps something else was up. We know both children were brutally murdered and buried on their mother's new husband's property. We know their mother lied about their whereabouts.
But despite a doomsday cult being front and center, we don't really know why the children were so viciously murdered by people who, otherwise, seemed mostly normal. We know a lot of people died, but we don't know if it was random or targeted and if so, by whom and why. We know Alex had something to do with it, and assume perhaps Melani did, too. We assume that all of these deaths tie back to something, with Lori at the center of it, but what?
As of July 11, 2020, that is all I got. I hope more information comes to light. Some has that I didn't include - there is a lot of information and circumstantial evidence in cell phone pings and text messages that I didn't include.
Just over a month ago, many following this insane story were hoping that the children would be found alive. Unfortunately, that was not the case. They were killed, brutally, likely at the hands of someone they loved and trusted. The only saving grace is that they may have been saved from a life of abuse and extreme religious beliefs that would have put them in continual danger.
This is one of the first cases I've written about that had an update so recently to when the story was published. I wish it didn't have the update, though, and that there was still hope the kids would be found alive. I hope the next update brings justice for the innocent kids.