REXBURG — One of the major questions surrounding the disappearance of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan is why the local school system didn’t report them missing last September.
Now there is an explanation. The principal of Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg, where Joshua attended, says his mother, Lori (Vallow) Daybell unenrolled him the day after he was last seen on Sept 23.
Principal Josh Wilson told EastIdahoNews.com Friday he recalls Daybell coming to the school on Sept. 24, and telling administrators that she planned to homeschool Joshua. Daybell had enrolled Joshua at the school only three weeks prior on Sept. 3.
“It’s a common process,” Wilson says. “There was nothing at the time that would cause us any alarm.”
Wilson said in Idaho if a parent decides to homeschool their child or move they visit the school and fill out the paperwork to disenroll them. Once the child is disenrolled the school is no longer responsible for the situation.
“He wasn’t absent for months,” Wilson says. “Once they’re disenrolled we don’t track attendance.”
Additionally, the Idaho State Department of Education does “not regulate or monitor homeschool education,” or require attendance to be taken, according to the department’s website.
Joshua was not reported as missing until December, when the Rexburg Police Department issued a bulletin asking for any information about the whereabouts of the children. Police had been trying to perform a welfare check, but Lori Daybell and her new husband Chad were refusing to tell police where the children were, and had actively lied to authorities about the children’s location, Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman told EastIdahoNews.com.
Since then, the parents have ceased speaking with authorities and Lori and Chad have been named persons of interest in connection with the children’s disappearance.
Joshua’s grandparents Kay and Larry Woodcock visited Rexburg earlier this week from their home in Louisiana to meet with law enforcement. The couple hoped to gain an understanding of the case and the days leading up to the children’s disappearance. The Woodcocks told KPVI they hoped the school would allow a short visit with his teacher of three weeks.
“We spoke with the FBI agent that dealt with the school and they were able to answer the questions we had,” Kay Woodcock said at a news conference Tuesday. “We didn’t want to disrupt the school and they’re just getting back.”
The family also clarified that Tylee graduated from high school early and did not attend school in Rexburg. Investigators have not released a place or time when anyone last saw the teenager.
At the news conference, the Woodcocks announced the family is putting up a $20,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to the recovery of Joshua and Tylee.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the children 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.