On the episode of Dateline: NBC airing Friday, May 1 and titled “What Happened to the Children?”, Colby Ryan speaks with NBC News anchor Keith Morrison about his siblings’ disappearance. Here’s what you need to know about Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell since the disappearance of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, back in September 2019.
Lori Vallow is in Prison
In November, she and Daybell, her fifth husband, fled from Idaho to Hawaii after authorities came to their home looking for the children. They later issued a statement via their attorney that said, “Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter. Lori Daybell is a devoted mother and resents assertions to the contrary. We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor.”
In January, Vallow was ordered by the court to physically produce her children within five days and she ignored it, which opened her up to civil or criminal contempt of court in Madison County, Idaho.
In February 2020, Tylee’s cellphone was found in Vallow’s possession in Hawaii and Vallow was subsequently arrested and charged with two counts of felony desertion and nonsupport of dependent children in the disappearance of her two children, in addition to charges of resisting or obstructing police officers, solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court.
In March 2020, Vallow was extradited back to Idaho and put in prison, with her bail reduced from the $5 million that it was set at in Hawaii to $1 million. Vallow’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 7 and 8, but a motion has been submitted to postpone it.
In the new Dateline: NBC episode, Tylee and JJ’s older brother Colby Ryan tells Morrison that it hurts so much not knowing what happened to his brother and sister.
“It hurts so much. And on top of that, we have a million questions. So you can’t call your own mom. You can’t go to your house or her house and see your siblings. You’re just out in the cold,” he says, adding, “Like, how do you not produce the kids? That’s the whole reason you’re in jail in the first place right now.”
And Morrison tells Access Hollywood ahead of the episode, “It is truly one of the weirder ones, that’s for sure.”
Several Related Deaths Are Still Under Investigation
In July 2019, Vallow’s fourth husband Charles was fatally shot by Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona. Then in December, Cox died unexpectedly in his home of unknown causes. Both of those deaths are still under investigation.
Then in April 2020, the Idaho Attorney General confirmed that both Vallow and Daybell are under investigation for “conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder” of Daybell’s first wife, Tammy. Tammy was found dead in her home in October 2019. Her death was initially believed to be from natural causes, but a later investigation determined that her death may be suspicious.
Vallow and Daybell got married just weeks after Tammy’s death. Daybell is the author of several books about the end times and Vallow’s niece Melani Pawlowski has said that Vallow had been spending time with “a new religious group that [they] refer to as a cult.”
In the Dateline: NBC special, one witness says that Melani claimed Vallow and Daybell told her, “JJ and Tylee have become possessed” and “needed to die.”
Dateline: NBC airs Mondays and Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT and Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.