The FBI has released a new picture of ‘cult mom’ Lori Vallow’s children at Yellowstone National Park on the day before her daughter vanished.
The previously unseen photograph shows Joshua ‘JJ’ and Tylee Ryan posing with their uncle Alex Cox on September 8, before cell phone pings prove he took them to the property of Vallow’s husband Chad Daybell.
Investigators discovered remains at Daybell’s home on June 9, the same day he text his then-wife that he had shot a raccoon and buried it in the spot were bodies were later found.
The new image could provide new clues about what happened to JJ, seven, and Tylee, 17, last year.
The picture shows the siblings, JJ, seven, and Tylee Vallow, 16, smiling and hugging while standing on a boardwalk in front of a thermal feature at Yellowstone National Park in Idaho on September 8, 2019. Their uncle Alex Cox is also grinning
Lori Vallow is pictured in court in March (left). She and husband Chad Daybell are behind bars on $1million bail
Cox, 51, died in December from an apparent blood clot but appears to have been a crucial figure in working out who is responsible for the kids’ deaths.
‘I am releasing it today only because the quality is a little better than the other photos we previously released from that day,’ FBI spokeswoman Sandra Barker said.
The picture shows the siblings smiling and hugging while standing on a boardwalk in front of a thermal feature. Their uncle Cox is also seen grinning.
Investigators said they recently found the snap.
Court papers claim cell phone data indicates that Alex Cox, Lori Vallow’s brother, was at the same location where the children were buried near the time they were reported missing
The previously released photographs showed a different angle of the trio, as well as another snap of JJ and his mother Vallow. They were shared – along side images of a silver F-150 car of interest, when cops took Vallow from Hawaii back to her home state of Idaho on March 5.
The FBI is no longer considering Yellowstone a place of interest in the case, EastIdahoNews.com reports.
According to a probable cause affidavit, unsealed by Idaho Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins on Friday, investigators used cell phone pings from Lori’s now deceased brother, Alex Cox, on two key days in September, which lead them to Daybell’s backyard.
There they discovered the children’s charred and decomposing remains.
JJ Vallow had been wrapped in plastic and bound by duct tape, while Tylee Ryan was dismembered and burned. Police are still investigating how Tylee died.
Cops believe that Cox had transported the bodies to Daybell’s Salem, Idaho, property to bury them.
Cox killed Lori’s estranged husband, Charles Vallow, on July 11 of last year. He claimed he intervened in a domestic dispute between his sister and Charles, before he shot his brother-in-law in self-defense.
The photographs released in March show a different angle of the trio, as well as another snap of JJ and his mother Vallow
Tylee was last seen on September 8, while JJ was last seen with his uncle Alex Cox on September 22
He then joined Lori and her kids on a trip to Yellowstone National Park on September 8. It was the last time Tylee was seen alive.
Information in the probable cause affidavit – unsealed Friday – reveals Alex’s cell phone pinged at Chad Daybell’s property the following day, September 9.
His phone was purportedly in the exact spot where investigators eventually unearthed the child’s remains.
Phone data indicates that Cox spent more than two hours at Daybell’s property that morning before leaving just before noon.
According to the affidavit, the FBI found a text conversation between Chad and his wife, Tamara Daybell, which took place just minutes later, in which Chad stated that he had ‘just buried a raccoon’ in the ‘pet cemetery’ on their property.
‘Well, I’ve had an interesting morning!’ he texted Lori on September 9, according to Knewz. ‘I felt I should burn all of the limb debris by the fire pit before it got too soaked by the coming rains.
‘While I did so, I spotted a big raccoon along the fence. I hurried and got my gun, and he was still walking along. I got close enough that one shot did the trick. He is now in our pet cemetery. Fun times!’
The remains of one of the children were uncovered near the pet cemetery.
They were both in the company of their uncle, Alex Cox, on the separate occasions they were last seen
Meanwhile, JJ was last seen on September 22.
Two of Lori’s friends told police that they saw JJ at Lori’s apartment while he was with Alex.
JJ was said to have been ‘acting up,’ prompting Alex to take the boy back to his own apartment, which was located in the same complex where his sister lived.
The next morning, Lori told a friend, Melanie, that JJ ‘had been acting like a zombie’ and crawling above cabinets.
In December, Alex himself died of an apparent blood clot in his lung – just three months after Tylee and JJ disappeared
Melanie later told authorities she felt Lori slipping away as Daybell indoctrinated her into his Mormon splinter cult, Avow. He believed that he and Lori were gods destined to lead true believers into the approaching Armageddon. Daybell also led Lori to believe her ex-husband and her children were possessed by zombies.
Daybell also taught her that someone possessed by a zombie was in limbo until their body dies as such the ‘death of the physical body is seen as the mechanism by which the body’s original spirit can be released.’
‘They also stated their mission was to rid the world of zombies,’ she said, according to the affidavit.
Melanie had visited Lori in Rexburg in late September and says Tylee was not there. Lori had told her that the teen was studying at a branch of Brigham Young University.
On September 22, Melanie’s final night with Lori, the ‘cult mom’ told her that JJ had been acting like a zombie so she’d sent him to her brother’s home. She never saw JJ again.
Melanie later reported them to authorities.
According to cell phone data, Alex Cox was on Chad Daybell’s property that same morning – September 23.
The cell phone was traced to a spot near a pond, which is the same location where investigators dug up a set of human remains wrapped in black plastic and duct tape. The remains belonged to someone who had light brown hair, according to the affidavit.
Both Tylee and JJ’s remains were uncovered on the property belonging Lori Vallow’s new husband Chad Daybell on June 9. Human remains were discovered near both the pet cemetery and the pond. Alex Cox’s cell phone had pinged at both of those locations
Daybell, who was watching investigators closely, had attempted to flee in his SUV after JJ’s body was found but was stopped and arrested just a mile away.
Daybell was arrested for two felony counts of concealment or destruction of evidence.
Lori Vallow, who had married Daybell mere weeks after his previous wife had died, intends to defend herself against the charges, according to her attorney.
On Monday it emerged that an affidavit for Chad’s arrest on charges of destroying evidence states that he acted like he didn’t know Lori very well when cops spoke to him during a child welfare check in November.
Chad also allegedly said he didn’t have her phone number even though they had married just three weeks prior.
Daybell has also been accused of sexually assaulting a woman author during a private meeting in December 2018.
It’s unclear whether investigators are now taking another look at Cox’s death.
Chad and Lori are both being held on $1 million bond in relation to the disappearances of JJ and Tylee. Both are scheduled for preliminary hearings next month.
Timeline of JJ and Tylee’s disappearance
July 11, 2019: Lori Vallow’s husband, Charles Vallow, is killed by her brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona.
August: Lori moves children JJ and Tylee to Rexburg, Idaho, where Chad Daybell lives with his wife Tammy.
September 8: The last time Tylee is seen during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with Lori, JJ and Alex.
September 23: The last time JJ is seen at his school in Rexburg.
October 19: Chad’s wife Tammy, 49, dies at their Idaho home.
October 25: A friend of Tylee receives a vague ‘miss you’ text from her phone but says that it didn’t sound like the teen.
November 5: Lori and Chad tie the knot on a beach in Kauai.
November 26: Out-of-state relatives ask Idaho police to perform a welfare check on JJ and learn both he and Tylee have not been seen for months.
November 27: Police execute a search warrant related to the children at Lori’s home and discover that she and Chad have fled Idaho.
December 11: Tammy’s body is exhumed from a Utah cemetery and her death is reclassified as suspicious.
December 12: Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, is found unresponsive in Arizona and dies.
December 21: Rexburg police issue the first press release about JJ and Tylee, revealing they believe their disappearance could be linked to Tammy’s death.
December 24: Lori and Chad issue a statement through an attorney saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing ‘allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor’.
December 30: Police accuse Lori and Chad of lying to investigators and say they believe the couple know where the kids are or what happened to them.
January 3, 2020: Police search Chad’s home in Salem and remove 43 items. They also comb over sections of the snow-covered yard with rakes and metal detectors.
January 26: Lori and Chad are seen for the first time in months as police serve them with a court order to produce the children to authorities in Idaho in five days.
January 30: Lori misses the court deadline to produce the children to Idaho authorities.
February 20: Lori is arrested in Kauai.
March 5: Lori is extradited to Idaho, where she is held on $1million bond at Madison County Jail.
April 9: Authorities reveal they are investigating Lori and Chad for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in connection with Tammy’s death.
June 9:Police search Chad’s home in Salem for the second time and discover human remains in the backyard. Chad is taken into police custody and charged with destruction or concealment of evidence.