A self-published Latter-day Saint author with ties to Utah County and his wife are wanted for questioning as authorities continue to search for two Idaho children who haven’t been seen since September.
The Rexburg Police Department issued a press release Monday demanding Chad and Lori Daybell share what they know about the disappearance of 7-year-old Joshua Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.
“We know that the children are not with Lori and Chad Daybell and we also have information indicating that Lori knows either the location of the children or what has happened to them,” investigators wrote. “Despite having this knowledge, she has refused to work with law enforcement to help us resolve this matter.”
The couple never reported the kids missing and repeatedly lied about the whereabouts of the children, the Associated Press reported. They abruptly left their home in Rexburg when police wanted to ask additional questions in December.
Lori Daybell is the adopted mother of Joshua and the biological mother of Tylee, according to the press release. Police were first alerted to the disappearances after one of Joshua’s relatives asked for a welfare check since they hadn’t talked with him for months.
The parents initially told police the boy, who has special needs, was in Arizona. They also reportedly told other witnesses the daughter had died before the death of her father or Lori Daybell had no minor children.
“It is astonishing that rather than work with law enforcement to help us locate her own children, Lori Vallow has chosen instead to leave the state with her new husband,” the press release stated. “We publicly call on Lori Vallow/Daybell and Chad Daybell to do the right thing and come forward with the information they have about the location and welfare of Joshua and Tylee.”
Despite receiving hundreds of tips from across the country, the AP reported police haven’t made any progress finding the two missing children.
No charges have been filed in relation to the disappearances as investigators said they wanted to focus on finding the children first.
“We have taken every step available to us, including executing multiple search warrants, interviewing multiple sources, and running down every lead we have found,” investigators wrote. “We strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger.”
The AP reported Chad Daybell, 51, and Lori Daybell, 46, were married shortly after the death of their spouses. The couple issued a statement last week through their attorney stating they loved their two children and would address “allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor.”
Lori Daybell was previously married to Charles Vallow before he was shot and killed by her brother in Arizona last July, according to the AP.
Chad Daybell was 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.
The couple were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and married in the Manti Temple in 1990. Chad Daybell is a self-published author who writes about doomsday events and near-death experiences.
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.
“This entire investigation could have been avoided if Lori and Chad had simply been honest with law enforcement,” the press release stated. “We further continue to ask that anyone with any information regarding the location or welfare of Joshua and Tylee share that information with law enforcement.”