REXBURG – The grandparents of missing Joshua Vallow and Tylee Ryan have posted a $20,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of the two children.
Kay and Larry Woodcock met with area reporters at the Standard Journal office Tuesday morning where the couple pleaded with the children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, to let them and law enforcement know the whereabouts of the children.
The youth were reported missing in November, and since that time, the Woodcocks have been meeting with reporters in hopes of finding the children. Numerous reporters from area news outlets as well as an ABC reporter from Portland attended Tuesday's meeting.
The Woodcocks said how worried they are about the two children. The couple is especially attached to Joshua who they cared for 9 months prior to allowing Kay Woodcock’s brother, Charles Vallow and his wife, Lori Vallow, to adopt him. Joshua is Kay Woodcock’s biological grandson, but Larry Woodcock is very close to Joshua or J.J., as he’s called.
“J.J. is my heart," Larry Woodcock said. "I’m hoping this will allow one person to simply say ‘I saw (him). I know where he’s at,’ and give us that information, so that we can bring J.J. and Tylee back."
The Woodcocks became concerned about Tylee and J.J. after not hearing from them for several weeks last fall. In November, they asked Rexburg Police Officers to do a welfare check on the children. When officers met with Lori Vallow and her new husband Chad Daybell, the couple said that J.J. was in Arizona living with family. After officers learned that wasn’t the case, they revisited the Vallow-Daybell home and found that the newlyweds had fled. It’s not known where they are, but police believe that Lori knows where her children are and what has happened to them.
During Tuesday’s press conference, the Woodcocks were asked if they believed the Vallow children were dead.
“We want and believe that they are alive, and that’s the reason for the reward," Larry Woodcock said. "It’s the reason, we don’t say, the ‘d’ word. We’re not going to because we hope and pray these kids are alive."
Between Lori and Chad Daybell, they have three deceased spouses all of which have died since 2018. Chad is Lori’s fifth husband. She was widowed in July after her brother, Alex Cox, killed her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, allegedly in self-defense. Tammy Daybell died in October, that same month, Lori’s former in-law Brandon Boudreaux, who was once married to Lori’s niece, reported someone trying to kill him. On Dec. 12, Cox died and that same day, Tammy’s body was exhumed from a Springville, Utah, cemetery.
Witnesses also reported to police that Lori told others that Tylee died in 2017 and Chad told others that Lori had no minor children. Both statements are untrue.
“It sends chills up our spines," Kay Woodcock said. "That’s just (what) brought it home for us. ‘Oh, my God, this is something really bad.'"
The couple reported that Lori had known Chad Daybell for quite some time. They say that Charles Vallow told them he believed Lori and Chad were having an affair. The couple may have bonded over their shared interest in the end of the world and the afterlife.
“Charles suspected they were having an affair," she said. "He told me about it. He told me what he had that made him think that. He was spot on. There were just some things that we discussed, and he showed me (the evidence).”
Kay Woodcock would not elaborate on what evidence Charles Vallow showed her before his death.
The Woodcocks said that Lori Vallow was an exceptional mother up until 2018.
“If somebody two years ago would have said ‘This is what’s going to happen with Lori,’ I would have never believed it," Larry Woodcock said. "Kay would have never believed it. If Kay and I would have had any thought in the future that we were going to be involved in an issue like this, we never would have let J.J. (get) up for adoption. It never would have happened, and now this happened. Lori was a good mother when J.J. was young. You couldn’t ask for a better mother.”
Larry Woodcock said he doesn’t understand how someone could go from being mother of the year to a special needs child to a person who won’t reveal the whereabouts of her missing children.
“That just doesn’t happen," he said. "There’s no way. I do know Lori always had the absolute best interests at heart for J.J. She and Charles were the absolutely perfect parents."
The couple spoke several times a week with J.J. and often those conversations were short and sweet. Yet, it wasn’t unusual for J.J. to call his grandparents back shortly after talking to them. Lori Vallow never prevented the Woodcocks from talking to or visiting with J.J. It wasn’t until just before the Vallow children went missing that they noticed a change in J.J.
During their last conversations with J.J., it appeared that someone was monitoring what he said. They also noticed that J.J.’s hair didn’t appear to be as groomed as it had been previously. Lori had once worked as a cosmetologist and took exceptional care of her son’s hair, Kay said.
Kay Woodcock said the picture of J.J. on the missing person poster shows his hair matted and not in it's usual style.
“His hair was always perfect," she said. "He knew from when he was tiny, ‘If mom did my hair, I didn’t mess with it.'"
The couple says they’re dealing with their missing grandchildren the best they can. Larry says that he may appear calm on the outside, but he’s very worried about the youth.
“You just don’t know what it’s like. The old proverbial duck floating along the water," he said. "The duck has no cares in the world, but (it’s) paddling hard."
If the couple could speak to Lori Vallow, they would ask her to let them know where the children are.
“Lori, you know how much we love J.J. You know my heart beats for him," Larry Woodcock said. "Kay loves him. All our family loves J.J. Pick up the phone. Call me. Call Kay. If you don’t want to talk to authorities, talk to us."
Anyone with information on the missing Vallow-Daybell family is asked to call Rexburg Police at 208-359-3000 or 1-800-843-5678. They may also visit the family's website www.findjjandtylee.com.