Hundreds remember JJ and Tylee during candlelight vigil
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IDAHO FALLS — As the sun set over eastern Idaho Friday night, hundreds of people gathered in a field to remember Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
A candlelight vigil was held near Soda Tsunami in honor of the two children whose remains were found this week buried in property belonging to Chad Daybell. JJ and Tylee had been missing since September and their mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, refused to tell authorities where they were located.
Families as far away as Arizona attended the vigil. April Raymond was friends with Lori in Hawaii and drove up from Utah with family members to pay her respects.
“I’m glad we have some answers but I’m waiting for a lot more,” Raymond told EastIdahoNews.com. “We really wanted to be here. It was important for me to have an opportunity to remember Tylee and JJ the way that we would like to.”
Timanee Olsen, who does not know anyone in JJ or Tylee’s families, organized the event, which included poetry, music, and prayer. Many in attendance wiped tears from their eyes as Erika Wohlschlegel sang ‘In the Arms of an Angel’ by Sarah McLachlan. Melissa Padigimus sang “Jealous of the Angels” by Donna Taggart.
“Everybody’s feeling the devastation and heartache,” Olsen said. “I think it was one of those things that somebody needed to do it and I happened to be one of the people that was able to make it happen.”
After everyone lit a candle, a moment of silence was held for the children. Attendees wrote messages on index cards that will be delivered to JJ and Tylee’s families.
“Most of us haven’t felt this kind of pain or loss,” Lee Linde said during the closing prayer. “I think we can all feel the pain of this loss whether you knew JJ and Tylee or not because this kind of tragedy affects us all.”
JJ’s grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, were unable to attend the vigil but watched a livestream on the EastIdahoNews.com Facebook page. When it was over, Larry posted a message in the comments.
“God bless you all! Thank you for supporting the loss of our kids,” he wrote.
PHOTO GALLERY OF THE VIGIL
Photographers: Tony Blakeslee and Nate Eaton