The timeline in the disappearance and tragic deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan
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Editor’s note: This timeline was originally published Jan. 17. It has been updated with the latest events as of Sept. 23.
REXBURG — In December 2019, the world learned that two children Joshua JJ Vallow and his sister Tylee Ryan disappeared.
Since then, their mother, Lori Vallow Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell were arrested and are facing charges. EastIdahoNews.com created the following timeline of events:
The following is an interactive timeline of events unfolded during the course of the investigation:
Written timeline of events
- Chad and Tammy Daybell married on March 9, 1990, in Manti, Utah, according to her obituary. The couple lived in Springville, Utah, where they founded Spring Creek Book Company, through which Chad Daybell, an author, published many of his books. The couple had five children before moving to their home in Salem, Idaho, in 2015. Tammy Daybell worked as a school librarian.
- In 2006, marriage records show Lori married her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Lori came to the marriage with her kids, including Tylee, the daughter of her third husband, Joseph Ryan Jr. Family members say that in 2014, Charles and Lori Vallow adopted Joshua “JJ” Vallow. He is the biological grandson of Charles’ sister Kay Woodcock, who is married to Larry Woodcock.
- Social media posts indicate that sometime in 2014, the Vallows moved to the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The couple operated a small business on the island, as indicated by business records. The family then moved back to the mainland between 2016 and 2017.
- While the Vallow family lived in Arizona, Tylee’s father, Joseph Ryan, died on April 3, 2018. According to a copy of the medical examiner’s report obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, the cause of death was ruled as a heart attack. He was cremated, but little other information is available about his death.
- Almost one year before the public announcement of the cases, Chad Daybell and Lori made their first appearance together on the Preparing a People Podcast Network’s “Time to Warrior Up.” The two appeared with others on several of the podcast, many of which talked about the end of the world. Preparing a People has since removed the podcast and publicly dissociated itself from Chad and Lori Daybell.
- Body camera footage shows Charles Vallow attempting to have Lori receive mental health help at Community Bridges on Jan. 31, 2019.Police thought her to have a normal state of mind and she was medically cleared by Community Bridges.
- Two months after the podcast began, Charles Vallow filed for divorce from Lori in February 2019, claiming she viewed herself as a god preparing for the second coming of Christ, according to court documents obtained by Fox10 Phoenix. Charles Vallow also claimed in these documents that his wife would kill him if he got in her way to perform that mission. The divorce proceedings were latter stopped after Charles said he wanted to make the marriage work.
- During divorce proceedings, the family says Lori disappeared in February for nearly two months, leaving the children with others. It remains unclear where she went during those weeks before returning to the children.
- Around June, Lori Daybell’s niece, Melani Boudreaux, demanded a divorce from her husband, Brandon Boudreaux, as first reported by Fox13 Salt Lake City. Brandon Boudreaux claims his then-wife affiliated herself with similar beliefs as her aunt and had joined “a cult.” The demands for a divorce came as a shock to Brandon Boudreaux as he thought their marriage to be in a good place.
- On July 11, 2019, the Chandler Police Department in Arizona discovered Alex Cox shot and killed Charles Vallow. Although police are still investigating, detectives initially ruled the shooting as self-defense. By the end of August 2019, Lori Vallow Daybell, the children, Cox and Melani Boudreaux moved to Rexburg, Idaho.
- On Sept. 8, 2019, Tylee, JJ, Lori and Alex visit Yellowstone National Park. Officials say this is the last time anyone has seen Tylee. The FBI asked for anyone help from anyone who may have photos from that day at the park.
- Once in Rexburg, Lori Vallow Daybell enrolled JJ in school on Sept. 3, 2019, Kennedy Elementary School Principal Josh Wilson told EastIdahoNews.com. Less than three weeks later, JJ last attended class and his mother unenrolled him, saying she would homeschool the boy. Police say Tylee was also last seen in September, but it remains unclear where. The family says she wasn’t enrolled in school since she graduated early.
- On Oct. 1, 2019, Lori Vallow Daybell rents a 10×10 storage unit from Storage Plus in Rexburg. Surveillance cameras at the facility show Daybell and a man associated with her visited the unit nine times in October and once in November. Often the man, who appears to be Alex Cox, Daybell’s brother, came alone.
- On Oct. 2, 2019, Brandon Boudreaux said he was shot at with the bullet missing his head by inches. Arizona Central reports the shooter was driving a Jeep registered to then-dead Charles Vallow. That same day, Lori Vallow purchases a wedding ring on Amazon, latter seen on a finger at a beach wedding.
- Days later on Oct. 9, 2019, Tammy Daybell called 911 and said a masked man shot at her with a paintball gun. She wrote about her experience in a Facebook post, saying she has no idea what the motive was.
- Ten days later, the family called 911 saying Tammy Daybell died in her sleep at their Salem home. Detectives visited the home. Investigators ruled the death as natural. Tammy Daybell was buried at the Evergreen Cemetary in Springville, on Oct. 22, 2019. The family held a memorial service in Rexburg the following day.
- A friend of Tylee told the Post Register she received a text from Tylee’s number on Oct. 25. The newspaper reports the text read ““hi. miss you guys too …luv ya.”
- The Rexburg Police Department said in a news release that within weeks of Tammy Daybell’s death, her husband, Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell, were married. The couple married in Hawaii on Nov. 5 before returning to Rexburg. Over the coming weeks, Rexburg police say Chad Daybell told witnesses that Lori Daybell had no minor children. Police also say Lori Daybell told people Tylee died years ago.
- On Nov. 26, 2019, the Rexburg Police Department conducted a welfare check for JJ at the request of the extended family who had not spoken with the boy in months. Police did not see JJ at the townhome at 565 Pioneer Road and said the Daybells told them JJ went to stay with someone in Arizona. When checking the story, police determined JJ never stayed with who the Daybells said.
- The next morning — Nov. 27, 2019 — the Rexburg Police Department serve a search warrant. A Madison County Sheriff’s dispatch log indicates a phone pinged at the 565 Pioneer Road townhomes at that moment. The log also indicated the call related to a missing 7-year-old, now known to be JJ, and “homicide” investigations in Arizona. When police arrived, they discovered the Daybells had “abruptly” left.
- Court documents indicate that on Dec. 1, 2019, Chad and Lori Daybell caught an American Airlines flight to Lihue Hawaii on the island of Kauai. The couple did not fly with the children according to police
- On Dec. 6, 2019, Melanie Gibb contacts the Rexburg Police Department to say that Chad and Lori Daybell called her on Nov. 26, 2019, to ask her to lie about the location of the missing children
- As deputies uncovered more details, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office began calling Tammy Daybell’s death suspicious. Investigators exhumed Tammy Daybell’s body on Dec. 11, 2019, to perform an autopsy in Utah. The results of the autopsy are pending.
- On Dec. 12, 2019, Alex Cox, the brother of Lori Daybell, dies under mysterious circumstances in Gilbert, Arizona. Little is known about his death as investigators await results from an ongoing autopsy.
- On Dec. 20, 2019, the Rexburg Police Department went public on their search for JJ and Tylee. Police also say the children’s disappearance is possibly linked to the suspicious death of Tammy Daybell. The following day, police then call Chad and Lori Daybell persons of interest in the kids’ disappearance.
- The Monday following the announcement on Dec. 23, 2019, the attorney representing the Daybells, Sean Bartholick, of Rigby, Andrus & Rigby, released a statement. Bartholick called the parents loving and devoted. He said they will address the allegations once they move beyond rumor and speculation.
- One week after the public announcement, Rexburg Police Assistant Chief Gary Hagen told EastIdahoNews.com that investigators are no closer to finding JJ and Tylee. He also said investigators are using every tool available to find the missing kids.
- On Dec. 30, 2019, the Rexburg Police Department issued an updated news release, saying, “we also have information indicating that Lori knows either the location of the children or what has happened to them.” They called the parents’ lack of cooperation astonishing as the couple left the state rather than help law enforcement.
- Local investigators and the FBI served a search warrant on the Daybell home in Salem on Jan. 3. Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries said investigators recovered 43 items, which included computers, cell phones, journals, documents and medications. These were sent to labs for further analysis.
- As investigators continued to look for the kids, JJ’s grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock, traveled to Rexburg from their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to meet with investigators. While in town, the Woodcocks held a news conference to announce the $20,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the kids. “These are beautiful young children. They’re two extremely intelligent young children, and we want them back. We want them back in our family,” Larry Woodcock said. “We don’t say the ‘D word.’ We don’t want to and we’re not going to because we truly believe and we hope and pray these kids are alive.”
- Chad Daybell’s brother, Matt Daybell, pleads for him to cooperate with the investigation on Jan. 10. The brother said Chad Daybell’s immediate family had little association with the author due to concerns with his religious claims and particular books he published, “including his own.”
- Fox10 Phoenix obtains records, including body camera footage detailing the moments after Alex Cox is believed to have shot and killed Charles Vallow. In police reports, portions of Cox’s and Lori Daybell’s story contradict one another, the TV station reports.
- On Jan. 25, the Kauai Police Department serves Lori Daybell with a notice that she must produce JJ and Tylee to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or Rexburg Police Department in five days. The Madison County prosecutor says this notice, as well as all other details of the case, remain sealed under Idaho law.
- EastIdahoNews.com flew to Kauai and on Jan. 26, approached Chad and Lori Daybell after police stopped them at the Kauai Beach Resort. Law enforcement seized the couple’s rental car and searched their rental townhome in Princeville, Hawaii.
- On Jan. 29, Kay and Larry Woodcock file for guardianship of JJ in the Madison County Magistrate court. This comes as the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare conducts its own investigation into the children’s safety. According to a copy of the Child Protection Order obtained by EastIdahoNews.com the department has until Feb. 10 to deliver their report to a judge.
- On Jan. 30, Lori Daybell misses the 5 p.m. deadline to produce JJ and Tylee to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or the Rexburg Police Department. At 5 p.m. Kay Woodcock addressed the media how the case is progressing and about what’s next.
- On Feb. 3, EastIdahoNews.com visits the storage unit where Lori Vallow Daybell abandoned several of the kids’ items. Inside the storage unit, officers found bikes, a scooter, winter clothing, a photo album with pictures of JJ and Tylee, sports equipment, a backpack with JJ’s initials and a jersey with Colby Ryan’s (Lori Daybell’s oldest son) name on it. There were blankets showing photos of the children – one focused on JJ, and the other had pictures of Tylee.
- On Feb. 12, Kay Woodcock tells EastIdahoNews.com that in February 2019, her brother, Charles Vallow, removed his wife, Lori Daybell, from a $1 million life insurance policy. Woodcock was named the sole beneficiary. The Woodcocks also appeared in court for a custody hearing on Feb. 12 in Madison County and did not discuss what occurred during the hearing.
- On Feb. 14, Dateline NBC aired a two-hour special called ‘Where are the Children?’ focused exclusively on this case.
- On Feb. 20, police in Kauai arrest Lori Daybell on a $5 million warrant out of Madison County. She is now charged with two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. She was also charged with arrests and seizures – resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, and contempt of court – willful disobedience of court process or order.
- On Feb. 26, Lori Vallow Daybell waives her extradition to Idaho after just six days behind bars in Hawaii. The waiver came after multiple attempts to reduce bail failed.
- On March 4, Lori Daybell appears in a Kauai Court for the last time as the final details of the extradition process are discussed. Her attorneys stand by her using her 5 amendment right to remain silent, especially during the extradition process. She’s scheduled for a court appearance in Madison County in two days from this hearing, meaning she would be on the airplane by the end of the day.
- Idaho authorities extradite Lori Vallow Daybell to Rexburg Idaho on March 5, and land in an airplane at the Rexburg airport. EastIdahoNews.com reporter Nate Eaton attempted to speak with her before deputies drive Daybell to the Madison County Jail
- Lori Vallow Daybell makes her initial court appearance in Rexburg Idaho on March 6. Hundreds waited in line in a hope to catch a glimpse of the hearing where Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins reduces her bail to $1 million. She remains in jail to this day unable to post bond.
- On a telephone, Lori Vallow Daybell’s attornies appear before Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins on March 13. At the hearing, Eddins removes himself from the case as requested by Daybell’s defense team. Shortly after, a new judge, Michelle Mallard, is assigned to the case awaiting the May preliminary hearing. Also, defense attorneys Brian Webb and Edwina Elcox share they intend to withdraw from the case soon.
- With one attorney left, on March 24, Mark Means files a motion to reduce Vallow’s bail again. Means noted that “new facts have come to light” since a previous bond hearing, but does not elaborate.
- On April 9, a major development in the case involving the death of Tammy Daybell takes place. In a letter obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell are being investigated for conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.
- On May 1, Lori Vallow Daybell walked into a Rexburg Courtroom to ask again for a reduction in bail. Her attorney Mark Means argued that the jail recording a conversation between the two violated her constitutional rights. Judge Michelle Mallard denied the request, keeping bail at $1 million.
- The Maricopa County Medical Examiner released a report of the autopsy of Alex Cox on May 8. They say Cox, the brother of Lori Vallow Daybell died of natural causes, more specifically blood clots in the lungs.
- At around 7 a.m. on June 9, the Rexburg Police Department, the FBI and Fremont County Sheriff’s Office serve a search warrant at the Salem home of Chad Daybell. Within hours, investigators uncover what they call unidentified human remains and bring in a backhoe to dig deeper in the backyard.
- At around 11:30 a.m. on June 9, Chad Daybell is taken into custody about a mile from his home, just moments after law enforcement finds human remains on his property. He’s booked into the Fremont County Jail on two felony charges of concealment, distribution or alteration of evidence.
- Chad Daybell makes his first court appearance on June 10 via video from the jail. Magistrate Judge Ferren Eddins set’s bail at $1 million. Prosecutor Rob Wood confirms at the hearing that the remains found are that of Children.
- Just after bail is set, family members say on June 10 that the remains found are of Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan who disappeared in September 2019. Memorials were set up in Rexburg and along the fence of the property where the children were found. Police confirm the same on June 13 after the autopsies were conducted.
- On June 29, Prosecutors filed felony charges in Fremont County in relation to the discovery of her dead children’s bodies. two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. A 16-page affidavit of probable cause contains information by detectives that led them to file charges.
- On July 2, prosecutors dismissed two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children. She then, on July 15, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court. These charges in Madison County are set for a jury trial from Jan. 25 to 29, 2021.
- In July, Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood asked Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins to not allow video cameras at the upcoming preliminary hearings of Chad and Lori Daybell. East Idaho News along with other media objected to this motion, hiring Idaho Falls-based attorney Steve Wright. After hearing argument from all attorneys, Eddins agreed to allow the broadcast and live stream of the hearing.
- Over two days on June 3 and 4, the preliminary hearing for Chad Daybell is held in Fremont County. Friends, investigators and witnesses testified at the hearing where Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins ruled the prosecution has enough probable cause to move the case to the District Court. Played at the hearing were explosive phone calls with Chad and Lori talking. One call came from Lori inside the Madison County Jail to Chad as the FBI, Rexburg Police and Fremont County Sheriff uncover the bodies of Joshua Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
- Lori Vallow Daybell waives her preliminary hearing that was set to happen on Aug. 10 and 11 in Fremont County. With the waiver, the case automatically moves to the District Court level where she will enter a plea.
- Chad Daybell appears for his District Court Arraignment on Aug. 21 before District Judge Steven Boyce. He pleads not guilty to the felony charges as a three-week jury trial is scheduled to begin in January 2021.
- On Aug. 27, Defense Attorney John Prior asked that District Judge Steven Boyce dismiss the entire case against Chad Daybell. Prior says that prosecutor Rob Wood failed to provide enough evidence to support the allegations against Chad.
- Preosecutor Rob Wood files a motion on Sept. 1 asking to combine the cases for Chad and Lori Daybell. He says having the cases would be more efficient for those involved since he plans to present the same evidence and witnesses.
- On Sept. 10, Lori Vallow Daybell made her District Court arraignment where she pleaded not guilty to the two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. A jury trial was set to run from March 22 to April 2.