REXBURG — In a tale of possible murder, missing children, alleged affairs and death threats — the Daybell case captured the attention of national media. It began when J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan went missing.
Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries reports that he has received numerous calls and visits from reporters.
“I think CBS from New York called,” Humphries said. “I certainly understand this case has mushroomed. It involves numerous agencies from Arizona to Idaho. Everyone is concerned about the safety of the kids that are missing.”
Humphries emphasized that the focus belongs on J.J. and Tylee, finding them safe.
The two haven’t been seen since September. After the children’s grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock, expressed concern about the children’s whereabouts. Police say they don’t believe either child is with their parents.
While Fremont County officials are focused on the suspicious death of Tammy Daybell, the Rexburg Police have allocated a large amount of resources to finding where the children are and what has happened to them.
The Rexburg Police have been interviewed by the Daily Mail, a news outlet from the UK, and other local media.
In a recent press release, Rexburg Police say it’s unfathomable that Lori won’t cooperate with them and asked her to do so.
The Woodcocks held a press conference on Tuesday at the Standard Journal. There they were interviewed by various news organizations throughout southeast Idaho, and by an ABC News worker who put them in touch with Good Morning America. The couple also appeared on the Dr. Oz Show on Thursday afternoon.
Humphries reported that the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t experienced this type of a case before.
“We’ve never had anything quite like this,” he said. “It has certainly required a lot of attention on everyone’s part.”
It has also caused family members of Upper Valley residents living elsewhere to let loved ones know that numerous national newspapers are reporting on Rexburg and its missing children.
Such was the case for Chamber of Commerce CEO and Rexburg City Councilman Christopher Mann whose New York City based daughter, Karyn Mann, told him that the Vallow story was featured in Tuesday’s New York Daily News.
“The story is getting a lot of national press,” Mann said. “It has a mix of a small rural town, religion, alleged affairs and missing people.”
Mann said his heart goes out to the missing children and hopes that they are quickly found. Part of the interest in the case may result from Rexburg being such a caring tight-knit town where such things don’t usually occur, he said.
“These are the kinds of things that don’t normally happen in a small Idaho town,” he said.
Christopher Mann said that his heart breaks for the missing Vallow children.
“This is a community that cares about its children and wants the very best for them,” he said.
Christopher Mann was stunned by what the New York Daily News reported on Tuesday. Much of the article centered around a February 2019 divorce filing by Lori’s late husband Charles. The couple had been married for about 12 years. Lori’s brother Alex Cox shot and killed Charles in July during an argument at Lori’s Arizona home. Cox died in December of unknown causes.
In the divorce papers, Charles stated that Lori had become obsessed with the afterlife and the end of the world. Chad Daybell had written books with such a theme, and the two got acquainted. In September, Lori Vallow moved to Rexburg.
During Tuesday’s press conference, the Woodcocks reported that Charles told them he had evidence of Lori and Chad’s alleged affair. The Woodcocks declined to go into specifics but said what Charles told them had proven true.
The paper reported that in the divorce filings, Charles stated that Lori believed she was married to the ancient Book of Mormon Prophet Moroni, and that she had lived other lives on various planets.
“On January 29, 2019, during a phone conversation between the parties and after their physical separation, Mother informed Father that she was a God assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020, and that, if Father got in her way of her mission, she would murder him,” stated the divorce papers.
About five months later, Cox killed Charles Vallow, but Cox claimed it was in self-defense.
In addition to the “New York Daily News,” the Vallow-Daybell story has been reported on “Inside Edition,” “CNN,” “FOX News,” “People,” and “The Jewish World Review.”
Humphries urged the parents to be more forthcoming with law enforcement.
“Come talk to us,” he said. “Come see us.”
Anyone with information on the missing Vallow-Daybell family is asked to Rexburg Police at 208-359-3000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
For further details and a complete timeline of events visit our website at uvsj.com.