Mom of 2 missing Idaho children misses court deadline to bring kids to police

The mother of two Idaho children missing since September did not meet a court-ordered deadline to bring the children to authorities Thursday.

Lori Vallow had until Thursday evening to present the two children to authorities in Idaho but was nowhere to be seen.

The case spanning multiple states has sparked nationwide interest and a manhunt as Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, haven’t been seen since late September in Rexburg, Idaho.

Lori Vallow, who has claimed she believed she was a god, was recently found in Hawaii with her new husband, Chad Daybell, and served the court order, but her children were not with her at the time.

The mother could face contempt of court for failing to meet the court-ordered deadline, authorities say. 

“I’m not at all surprised of that. Lori’s not going to make this easy,” Kay Woodcock, who is Joshua’s biological grandmother, said  Thursday. “She’s got an end game in her head, although this is not a game, but obviously she thinks it is.”

These undated photos released by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children show Joshua Vallow, 7, (left) and Tylee Ryan, 17. They were last seen on Sept. 23, 2019, in Rexburg, Idaho. Their mother, Lori Vallow, is the second wife of Chad Daybell.

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Police say Lori Vallow and Daybell have not cooperated in their investigation and lied to authorities. The children’s disappearance has also prompted police to reexamine multiple deaths linked to the couple.

In July, Lori Vallow’s former husband, Charles Vallow, 62, traveled from Arizona to Texas to visit Lori and their children. But after he arrived to pick up his son, he and Lori started arguing.

Lori Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, intervened and killed Charles, police said at the time. On Dec. 12, Cox died. Police were awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause of death.

Daybell’s last wife, Tammy Daybell, died in October of what the family called “natural causes,” but police in Idaho have since exhumed her remains for further investigation. The findings of that investigation have not been released. Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell were married two weeks after Tammy’s  death.

Rexburg police came to Lori Vallow’s home on Nov. 26 to try to do a welfare check on Joshua, who is adopted and has special needs. Family from outside Idaho had not been able to speak to Joshua since September and were concerned, police said.

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On Nov. 27, Rexburg police searched locations associated with Lori Vallow in an attempt to find Joshua. During these searches, investigators discovered Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell had “abruptly vacated” their home and left town, police said.

Joshua last attended school Sept. 23. Tylee Ryan has also not been seen or heard from since September, police said. Yet the children were not reported missing.

The Rexburg Police Department released these photos of Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow, who are wanted for questioning. Vallow's children have been missing since September, police said, and Daybell's previous wife was found dead in October.

In December, Idaho authorities announced they were investigating possible ties between the case of the missing children and Tammy Daybell’s death.

The case also took an unusual turn as friends and family members have expressed concerns about the couple’s religious beliefs and interest in the end of the world. 

Lori Vallow reportedly believes she is “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020,” according to divorce documents Charles Vallow filed before his death.

The Associated Press reported Chad Daybell has written several apocalyptic novels based loosely on Mormon religious theology.

Officials with Idaho’s Madison County and Rexburg police departments said child protection actions are usually confidential, but, “The Madison County Prosecutor’s Office asked the Court for permission … to alert the public and anyone with knowledge of the location or health and safety of the children.”

With the possible contempt of court charge for Lori Vallow, Kay Woodcock said “there’s some recourse.” 

“I can’t say for sure what’s going to happen next, other than, I hope it’s something that’s going to get her attention,” Woodcock said. “I’d love to know where those kids are and I think all of America wants to know where they are.”

Contributing: Jay Cannon, USA TODAY; Chelsea Curtis, Rachel Leingang and Uriel J. Garcia, Arizona Republic

Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

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