Community plans vigil, family members post tributes for JJ Vallow on 8th birthday

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REXBURG, Idaho (ABC4 News) – It’s been more than eight months since Lori Daybell’s two children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan vanished without a trace. Over the weekend, family members posted social media tributes to JJ leading up to his 8th birthday on Monday with the community hosting a candlelight vigil.

“There’s JJ remembrances all over this house. There’s pictures he drew for us on the refrigerator and the sticky notes he wrote and stuck to the walls,” said Kay Woodcock in a pre-recorded video.

JJ’s grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock have been prominent advocates in the missing children’s case that’s captured nationwide attention and involved more than a dozen different characters throughout the country.

That’s because for the first two years of his life, the Woodcocks took care of JJ who is their biological grandson. In 2014, they allowed Kay’s brother, Charles Vallow and his then-wife, Lori to adopt JJ and move him to their home in Gilbert, Arizona.

They’d never imagine that JJ would become one of the main characters in a bizarre investigation just a few years later.

The case began unraveling in January 2019 when Charles Vallow expressed concerns to police that Lori considered herself a translated being who spoke with an ancient prophet and Jesus Christ daily. She allegedly accused him of being “possessed by an evil spirit named Nick Schneider” and threatened to “kill him with her powers.”

He died just six months later in July when Lori’s brother, Alex Cox shot and killed him. Cox claimed self-defense with police. Lori then moved JJ and her daughter, Tylee Ryan to Rexburg, Idaho in August where doomsday author Chad Daybell lived.

The children disappeared in September and not even two months later, Lori and Chad Daybell wed in Hawaii. The new couple have not cooperated with investigations or disclosed the whereabouts of Lori’s missing children. She was arrested in February and extradited back to Idaho. She remains behind bars on a $1 million bond, awaiting her next court date in early July.

In the meantime, JJ and Tylee’s loved ones still have one important question that remains unanswered – Where are the kids?

Ahead of JJ’s 8th birthday on May 25th, the Woodcocks led a social media campaign encouraging family and community members to change their profile pictures to a photo of him to keep their case at the forefront of the public’s mind. Loved ones also posted video and written tributes, hoping there’s a chance JJ might see them.

“JJ – We look forward to kiss your sweet, beautiful face and hug you tightly. Happy birthday, Joshua Jackson Vallow. Mama and Papa love you,” said Kay Woodcock.

Residents in Rexburg said the case has rocked their small town, creating a dark cloud that continuously looms over the area. Although they have no relation to the children, several community members such as Janeese Summers and Annie Southam have organized a candlelight vigil Monday night at 9 p.m. to show support for JJ, Tylee, and their family.

“It definitely hits my heart right there that his family just isn’t able to be with him. It’s pretty sad. So I’m happy to show my support for them in any way that I can,” said Southam in a video call with ABC4 News Monday. “We want to show Rexburg does love and support them.”

The vigil will be held at Kennedy Elementary where JJ was last seen on September 24th. East Idaho News reported he was only enrolled there for three weeks before Lori withdrew him and told school officials she would homeschool her son.

According to the FBI, Tylee was last seen during a family visit to Yellowstone National Park on September 8th with JJ, Lori, and Alex. Investigators have asked for the public’s help in submitting any images of information from that day that may help in the case.

If you have any information about JJ and Tylee’s whereabouts, you’re asked to contact the Rexburg Police Department at 208-359-3008.

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