Surrounded by cameras in the middle of a small Idaho newsroom, Kay Woodcock gently reached out and held her husband’s hand as he announced a $20,000 reward is available to anyone with information about two missing Rexburg children.
“We just want an answer, that’s all,” said Larry Woodcock as he straightened a missing person poster on a table in front of him. “We hope and pray these kids are alive.”
The couple are the biological grandparents of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow who was reported missing last month along with his adoptive sister 17-year-old Tylee Ryan. The two kids haven’t been seen since September, Rexburg Police Department investigators reported.
During a press conference at the Rexburg Standard Journal newspaper on Tuesday, the grandparents answered questions and offered $20,000 for information about where the children are located.
“We pray in the end we get JJ, we get to spend more time with him and he’s OK and Tylee is OK,” Kay Woodcock said.
They explained they traveled from Lake Charles, Louisiana and spent more than six hours talking with authorities about the investigation on Monday. Both praised the FBI and local officers and detectives for the work and energy invested in finding the children.
“It’s nothing but encouraging,” Larry Woodcock said. “The effort has been amazing, it really has.”
Authorities believe the children’s parents, Chad and Lori Daybell, know either the location of the children or what happened to them, according to a press release issued last month. However, both adults fled from their Rexburg home before police could continue questioning them.
The couple also failed to report the children missing and repeatedly lied about the whereabouts of the children, police reported.
“They are extremely intelligent young children and we want them back. We want them back in our family,” Larry Woodcock said. “If there is anything that Lori can come forth with and help us, please do it. She knows how much we love these kids.”
Lori Daybell, 46, is the adopted mother of JJ and the biological mother of Tylee, according to the press release from the police department. Investigators were first alerted to the disappearances after one of JJ’s relatives asked for a welfare check since they hadn’t talked with him for months.
The Woodcocks explained JJ, who has special needs, would often call or video chat with them multiple times a day. He loved swimming and playing outside and often walked around with the video chat still playing.
“We knew every ceiling of every home they were in,” Larry Woodcock said with a chuckle.
The grandparents started to suspect something was wrong when JJ called them for just 36 seconds for the last time in August. JJ appeared happy in the video, they explained, but it seemed like someone was rushing him and directing him during the call.
The Rexburg Standard Journal reported JJ was adopted by Kay’s brother, Charles Vallow, who was married to Lori Vallow Daybell before he was shot and killed by her brother in Arizona last July.
Lori Daybell always took great care of their grandson and had his best interests at heart, Larry Woodcock stated during the press conference, adding “you couldn’t ask for a better mother.”
The couple said JJ was always happy and loved swimming, reading or playing outside but was prone to run off so family members learned to watch him closely.
“If Kay and I would’ve had any thought that in the future we were going to be involved in an issue like this, we would’ve never let JJ up for adoption. Never would’ve happened,” he said. “Please give them back to us.”
The grandparents said they didn’t receive a response to talk with JJ again after reaching out through countless phone calls, text messages and emails.
“We want JJ back. We want Tylee back. We want closure on this,” Larry Woodcock said. “Most of all, just make an old grandpa happy. Just find that boy.”
Lori Vallow married Chad Daybell were married shortly after the death of their spouses, the Associated Press reported.
A self-published author, Chad Daybell was previously married to Tammy Daybell who died in her sleep in October, according to her obituary.
She was a graduate of Springville High School and a former student at Brigham Young University. She also worked as a secretary for the city’s Parks Department and a computer teacher at Art City Elementary before the family moved to Idaho in 2015.
Tammy Daybell was buried at the Springville Evergreen Cemetery but her remains have been exhumed in connection with the disappearance, the AP reported. Results from the autopsy have not been released, but Rexburg police stated the death could be related to the two missing children.
“I just plead for Lori to please just let us know where the kids are,” Kay Woodcock said. “It’s not difficult, it will end all of this as far as the kids are concerned. We’ll go on our way.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the children to call Rexburg police or report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“We’re asking the public please, for God’s sake,” Larry Woodcock said. “Please, please, step up.”