The disappearance of two Idaho children may be tied to the mysterious death of their stepfather’s first wife, according to officials who say the kids are believed to be in “pretty serious danger.”
Joshua Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, were last seen in September, but their mother, Lori Vallow, and her new hubby never reported them missing and haven’t been cooperating with authorities, according to Rexburg police.
Police said Lori and her husband, Chad Daybell, have repeatedly lied about the children’s whereabouts, initially claiming Joshua was staying with a family friend in Arizona, which turned out to be false.
“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,” Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman told East Idaho News.
The search for the children began in November when a relative called authorities to do a welfare check on Joshua, who is adopted and has special needs. The family member claimed they had not spoken to him since September.
Though the exact nature of the connection between the cases is unclear, authorities searching for the siblings have noted that Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, 49, was found dead at her home in October.
Her death was initially thought to be from natural causes, but authorities are now investigating her case as suspicious, officials said. Tammy’s body was exhumed on Dec. 11 and an autopsy was ordered.
Police said her surviving husband, Chad, married the missing children’s mother, Lori, within weeks of her death.
Authorities executed search warrants at their home in Rexburg, but officials determined the couple abruptly left. It is not believed the children were with them when they skipped town.
Police are asking anyone with information about the siblings’ whereabouts to call Rexburg police or report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“We don’t know where [the children] are at, but we think they are in pretty serious danger,” Turman told East Idaho News.