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The most-read stories on EastIdahoNews.com in 2020

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EastIdahoNews.com reporter Nate Eaton, right, asks Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell about the whereabouts of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow in January 2020. The children’s bodies were not discovered until June. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

Although most of us are ready to social distance ourselves from 2020, it’s worth taking a look back at what interested you this year.

We’ve compiled a list of the most-read articles on EastIdahoNews.com. Our goal was to show the breadth of this 2020’s stories, so we had to make a few adjustments:

  • We only have one Daybell story here (the most-read one) — otherwise, the list would have been mostly about that case.
  • Only one story on the missing hiker in Zion National Park is listed, though we could have included others.
  • No single coronavirus story made it onto the most-read list, but as a whole, they have been dominating page views since March. Our COVID-19 page, which shows current statistics and articles, has been one of our most-clicked pages.
  • As with coronavirus news, Secret Santa stories as a whole got a lot of you clicking, but an individual one didn’t make it onto this list. In contrast, on our YouTube channel, viewers from all over the world are watching videos of EastIdahoNews.com teaming up with an anonymous Secret Santa to help people in need in our community. (Click here for the most-viewed Secret Santa story on our website this year.)
  • Our obituaries page was one of our most-clicked this year.

Let’s take a look at what you were reading! Click on the headlines to look at these stories again.

10. 9. DeOrr Kunz vanished 5 years ago today. Here’s where the investigation stands. – July 11

DeOrr Kunz

DeOrr Kunz

Two-year-old DeOrr Kunz disappeared while on a camping trip in Lemhi County on July 10, 2015. Since then, people have searched the area countless times, investigators have interviewed those who were with the boy, and no solid evidence on DeOrr’s whereabouts has been produced. We hope 2021 brings answers for DeOrr’s family and community.

9. WATCH: Yellowstone issues warning with video about how aggressive bison might be right now – Aug. 12

bison

Courtesy National Park Service

Tourists interacting with bison in Yellowstone National Park has long been a popular topic on EastIdahoNews.com. One of our first stories to go viral was this one from 2016, in which tourists put a bison calf in the back of a car because the animal was cold.

8. SEASON ENDING: Nearly all entrances and roads close in Yellowstone on Monday – Oct. 29

yellowstone sign

Yellowstone National Park sign

Yellowstone is an important part of east Idaho’s economy, but we were surprised this one did as well as it did. In addition to the local interest it got, this article was picked up by out-of-state websites, and we were grateful we could tell the world about the seasonal closure.

7. I owe $12,000 on my vehicle and have $25,000 in savings. Should I hang on to savings or pay off the car? – Sept. 8

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey

This one was even more of a surprise. We love our columnists, but we never expect what they write to make the most-read articles of the year. Nevertheless, in this time of economic hardship, Dave Ramsey’s responses to financial questions have interested more of you than ever.

RELATED | Pandemic, politics and protests make Idaho’s top 2020 news

6. Idaho teacher no longer employed after racially charged, sexual comment about Boise mayor – July 29

Rita Soltesz

Rita Soltesz | West Ada School District

This teacher inadvertently taught the public an important lesson — watch what you say on social media.

5. Idaho Falls man, two others in hot water after chickens found in Yellowstone hot spring – Oct. 30

geyser at Yellowstone

A geyser at Yellowstone National Park. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

While you’re staying clear of the bison, don’t get too close to the hot springs either! No word on how geyser-cooked chicken would taste, but three people were left holding the bill.

4. He thought he was meeting a teenage girl for sex. Instead it was a man with a camera. – July 15

Screenshot

Stories like these are some of the most unpleasant articles we have to write, and we wish people didn’t commit these kinds of crime at all.

3. ‘I was convinced I was dead.’ Man survives grizzly attack in Henrys Lake State Park – June 1

Gregory ‘Thor’ Godar was attacked by a bear while hiking with his wife in Henrys Lake State Park on May 29. | Courtesy Gregory Godar

In this account of survival, Gregory “Thor” Godar was hiking in Henrys Lake State Park with his wife when he was charged by a bear and couldn’t get to his bear spray in time. As the 500-pound bear slashed him, he looked into its eyes and was sure it was the end. He thought, “Well, at least I’m getting killed by a pretty bear.”

2. Documents detail horrific manner JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan were found in Chad Daybell’s yard – June 20

JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan

Since 2019, nearly everyone in our area — and many around the world — has asked, “Where are the kids?” We even flew to Hawaii to ask that question in January, but children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, and her husband, Chad Daybell, stayed quiet about it. The answer finally came when investigators discovered the bodies of 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old JJ Vallow on Chad’s Salem property on June 9. More details on the case, which has strong religious overtones, will likely be revealed in 2021 as the couple is tried for concealment, alteration and destruction of the bodies. Police are also looking into the deaths of the Daybells’ former spouses. To see previous stories, a timeline, who’s who and where the case stands today, click here.

1. Investigators question story of hiker found in Zion National Park, say statements ‘don’t add up’ – Oct. 24

Holly Courtier

Holly Courtier

Holly Courtier had been missing for nearly two weeks in Utah’s Zion National Park. When rescuers found her, she was dehydrated, had lost 15 pounds but was going to be OK. The happy ending was soon viewed with suspicion: To law enforcement, the family’s statements just didn’t “add up.” They also questioned a GoFundMe set up on Courtier’s behalf, which raised thousands of dollars.

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