Relatives of Lori Vallow are speaking out in a desperate search for answers as the saga continues around the disappearance of Vallow's two children – 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan. Appearing on Dr. Phil, family members expressed their frustrations with the case and Vallow's unwillingness to help in the search for her missing children.
"You never expect anything like this to happen," Vallow's oldest son, Colby Ryan, said, according to KUTV. "And you're in a position where I had to hear everything through the news. And I can't reach out and talk to my family. It's just really, really hard."
Colby explained that he has not heard from his siblings in months, though he received a text back from Tylee in September that he said did not sound like her. It was a month later that he learned that they were missing.
"The day before Thanksgiving, two detectives knocked on my door, and they asked me you know, 'Do you know where Tylee is?'" he recalled.
Colby's younger siblings have not been seen or heard from since September and were not reported missing until November. Vallow was ordered by an Idaho court to produce the children to show that they were safe. When she failed to do that, she arrested and charged with desertion and lack of support of her children in Hawaii. She is currently awaiting extradition to Idaho.
The children's disappearances follow a string of mysterious deaths in the family, including that of Vallow's fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was shot and killed by his brother-in-law Alex Cox (Lori Vallow's brother) in July 2019. Just months later, Cox died. According to Tylee's aunt, Annie Cushing, Charles' death may have been a trigger for Vallow.
"It just seems to me that once Lori found out after Charles was killed that she had been removed as sole beneficiary of his one million dollar policy, I just think she hit the panic button," Cushing said. "When my brother died, she didn't tell me that he had passed. My family didn't find out until five weeks later."
Not long after the deaths of Charles and Cox, doomsday author Chad Daybell's wife Tammy Daybell died in her sleep. An autopsy was not initially performed, though her body has since been exhumed. Just two months after her death, Daybell and Vallow fled Idaho and married in Hawaii, where an East Idaho news reporter recorded video of them.
"That video, specifically, was when I really, really lost it emotionally – just anger – and I don't understand what she's doing," Vallow's oldest son said.
Cushing had a similar reaction to him, saying that "seeing the footage of Lori and Chad, living their best 'Aloha life' in Hawaii… Lori's children are unaccounted for. It's unimaginable. It's infuriating."
A status hearing for Vallow, who is currently in the process of being extradited, has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 3 in Hawaii.