Police searching for Rexburg children believed to be in serious dangerPublished at | Updated at
LATEST UPDATE: Attorney representing parents of missing Rexburg children issues statement, says they are ‘loving’ and ‘devoted’
REXBURG — Two local law enforcement agencies and the FBI are investigating a possible connection between the death of a Fremont County woman and two missing Rexburg children who are believed to be in serious danger.
The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of 49-year-old Tammy Daybell. Daybell, who had worked as a school librarian in Rexburg and Sugar City, was found deceased in her home Oct. 19, and her death was initially believed to be from natural causes, according to a Rexburg Police Department news release. She was buried in Springville, Utah, on Oct. 22, but a later investigation by the sheriff’s office revealed the death might be suspicious.
Read Tammy Daybell’s obituary here.
The sheriff’s office exhumed her remains Dec. 11, and the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy.
Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman tells EastIdahoNews.com that during the investigation into her death, law enforcement was made aware that two Rexburg children, ages 7 and 17, were missing. They also determined that within weeks of Tammy Daybell’s death, her surviving husband, Chad Daybell, had married Rexburg resident Lori Vallow, who is the mother of the missing children, according to a news release.
It’s not clear what the connection is between the two cases. Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries declined to comment.
No one involved in this case has been charged with any crime, but Turman said the parents have repeatedly lied about the whereabouts of the children.
“They’ve told us several stories about where the children are, but when we investigate, the children don’t exist where they say they should,” he said. “We don’t know where they are at, but we think they are in pretty serious danger.”
On Nov. 26, Rexburg Police tried to conduct a welfare check on Joshua Vallow, Lori Vallow’s adopted 7-year-old special needs son, at their home at 565 Pioneer Road in Rexburg. Relatives outside of Idaho had requested the check because they hadn’t spoken to Joshua since September.
Rexburg investigators spoke with Vallow and Daybell, who said Joshua was staying with a family friend in Arizona. That turned out to be a lie, Turman said.
On Nov 27, Rexburg police executed search warrants at locations in Rexburg associated with Vallow, in an attempt to locate Joshua. As the search warrants were being executed, investigators determined that Vallow and Daybell had abruptly left their home and Rexburg. Police do not believe the children were with them when they left.
Turman said they have been in contact with the couple, but authorities do not know where they are, and they continue to be uncooperative.
Investigators also determined Joshua last attended school at Kennedy Elementary in Rexburg on Sept. 23. Additionally, investigators learned Vallow has a 17-year-old daughter, Tylee Ryan, who was living with Vallow in Rexburg. The teen has not been seen since September either.
Investigators have contacted several members of the children’s extended family, but no one has been in contact with the children since September. Additionally, the children have not been reported missing to any law enforcement agency.
Joshua is a 7-year-old with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. Tylee is a 17-year-old with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the children since September is asked to contact the Rexburg Police Department, at (208) 359-3000, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), at (800) THE-LOST.