WASHINGTON: The remains of two children, whose doomsday-obsessed mother was arrested earlier in connection with their disappearance last year, have been found near a house in the northwestern US state of Idaho, local police said.
Chad Daybell, who was married to the children’s mother, Lori Vallow, and was the owner of the house, has been charged with two felony counts of concealing or destroying evidence.
Daybell was the stepfather of 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and her half-brother, seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, who was autistic.
The remains were found during a search of Daybell’s property on Tuesday, and their identities were subsequently confirmed by a medical examiner, according to the Rexburg, Idaho police department.
“It is with a heavy heart that we now confirm that those remains have now been officially identified as those of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan,” a police statement said.
There were no details as to possible cause of death, although a prosecutor described the concealment of one body as particularly “egregious”, a local newspaper reported.
A series of deaths
Daybell was Lori Vallow’s fifth husband. She and Daybell were closely associated to several people who died in recent years.
Daybell – the author of esoteric books about his “contacts” with the next world – married Vallow, who herself espoused apocalyptic beliefs, two weeks after his wife’s death. The new couple left Idaho for Hawaii soon afterward.
Vallow was arrested there on Feb 20 after police, acting on a warrant from Idaho, ordered her to produce the two children and she failed to do so.
She was flown back to Idaho to face two felony counts of desertion and non-support of dependent children.
She remains behind bars in a county jail. It was unclear what further charges she might face.
Daybell faces a July 1 court hearing.
Convinced she was ‘a god’
The children’s grandparents, who lived in another state, had reported them missing last fall after going months with no word from them.
The original police inquiry into the children’s disappearance took a macabre turn when investigators learned about the string of deaths linked to Daybell and Vallow.
Daybell’s former wife Tammy died in October, aged 49, ostensibly of natural causes, although her remains have since been exhumed for testing.
Vallow’s third husband, Joseph Ryan, died in 2018, apparently of a heart attack.
She was reportedly in the process of divorcing her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, when he was killed by gunshot last July 11.
Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, claimed he was defending himself when he fired the fatal shot. Cox himself died of unknown causes in December.
Charles Vallow had said in a divorce filing that his wife, with whom he lived in Arizona, held cult-like beliefs, convinced that she was “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020″.
Some religions believe that 144,000 of the faithful will be resurrected during the Apocalypse to spend eternity in heaven.
Tylee’s aunt, Annie Cushing, issued a statement Saturday, according to the Idaho Statesman newspaper.
“Today marks the conclusion of a long and arduous search for my niece, Tylee Ryan, and her little brother, JJ Vallow,” it said in part.
“The outcome comes as no surprise, but it still packs a devastating punch as the finality of it all sinks in.”