The dog trainer who helped train a puppy who would later become a service dog for JJ Vallow said the now-missing boy had a habit of wandering off, and the service dog that his mother gave away helped him sleep through the night.
“He would get up in the middle of the night and they had to have all the doors locked and everything secured so he wouldn’t wander off into the neighborhood,” Neal Mestas, owner of Dog Training Elite, told ABC 15.
“One of the first nights that J.J. slept through the night and stayed in his bed was the first night that Bailey stayed there with him.”
JJ and his older sister, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, have not been seen since late September, shortly after their mother Lori Vallow moved the family from Arizona to Idaho following the death of her husband Charles Vallow.
Mestas says he helped train Bailey, a Goldendoodle puppy who eventually became a service dog for JJ Vallow, who is reportedly autistic.
“Bailey was there to keep him on task and alert the parents if he was wandering off,” he told the news outlet.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Vallow gave the service dog away in the summer of 2019, though JJ had reportedly formed a strong bond with Bailey. A source told East Idaho News that Vallow had tried to sell the dog for $2,500 before the trainer intervened and said she had to return the dog to a rescue group.
Mestas said he was surprised Vallow gave the dog away, and claims that Vallow told him to lie to her daughter about having found the dog a new home when he came to pick up the animal before their move.
“[Vallow] asked me if I had found a home for Bailey and I said, ‘No I hadn’t, I didn’t have time to do that.’ She said, ‘Well if my daughter asks just say that you have because she’s really upset about all of this.’ ‘I said, ‘Okay’ but the daughter never came out. I never saw if she was there.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Lori Vallow and her husband were found to be living in Hawaii in January, without the children. Authorities reportedly found Tylee’s cell phone with her mother. Vallow did not comply with a court-ordered deadline to present the children to Idaho authorities by January 30. Police have not made any arrests in the missing persons case and it is unclear if Vallow or her husband are expected to face criminal charges.
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