Mother of missing children who married second husband weeks after his wife’s suspicious death says she is ‘loving,’ ‘devoted,’ as police fear children are in serious danger

The mother of two missing Idaho children and her new husband issued a statement through their lawyer claiming to “resent” the allegations that the children’s disappearance had something to do with the sudden deaths of both of their spouses.

As CrimeOnline previously reported,  Joshua Vallow, 7, and his sister Tylee Ryan, 17, of Rexburg, were last seen in September, but police did not realize they were missing until they performed a wellness check at the home of their mother Lori Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell on November 26.

At the time, Vallow and Daybell reportedly told police that Joshua was staying with a family friend in Arizona.

“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. 

“We don’t know where they are at, but we think they are in pretty serious danger.”

The couple soon left the area, and authorities do not believe the children were with them at the time. They are also unsure of how the couple was traveling.

“We’ve been digging into that, and that’s still part of the whole investigation,” Rexburg Police Capt. Gary Hagen told East Idaho News.

Both Vallow and Daybell’s spouses died shortly before the two were married this fall; Daybell’s wife died only weeks before. As CrimeOnline previously reported, authorities first determined she died of natural causes but have since exhumed her body for further investigation.

Vallow’s brother fatally shot her husband in July, in what he said was self-defense. The brother, Alex Cox, has since died, but his cause of death is not known.

Other family members reportedly believe that the deaths and disappearances are connected to the couple’s involvement in a so-called cult that is concerned with the end of the world. According to East Idaho News, the group, Preparing a People, states that its mission is to “help prepare the people of this earth for the second coming of Jesus Christ.” Members are reportedly affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints.

“I have no idea what Chad and Lori did in their spare time, but Preparing A People is not a cult … It’s just LDS people that go to conferences,” William James, who operates a website that hosts Daybell’s podcasts about Preparing a People, told the news outlet.

Through their attorney Sean Bartholick, the couple issued a statement on Monday.

“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.”

Police have not said where they believe the children may be or if they have been harmed. Authorities have said they do not plan to file charges against Daybell and Vallow; they only want them to come forward and to let authorities know where the children are.

Anyone who has information about the missing children is urged to call 208-359-3000 or 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678).