KAUA’I, Hawaii (ABC4 News) – A friend of 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, one of the missing siblings out of Idaho, told ABC News she received text messages from the teenager’s cell phone number in October, one month after she disappeared.
The friend sent a message to Tylee’s number on October 19th that said, “Hey Tylee. I’m just thinking about you. I saw a photo strip of [sic] and [sic] and [sic] and us and I took for granted that time so moral is I miss you.”
Six days later, someone responded on Tylee’s number with “Hi. Miss you guys too. Luv ya.”
Callahan Walsh with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children told Good Morning America Tuesday morning two Venmo payments were also sent from the cell phone, which had been in the possession of the missing children’s mother, Lori Daybell the entire time.
“This does not bode well, finding out that the mother’s had it in her possession this whole time. It does not look good in this case,” said Walsh. “She’s 17 years old. Which 17-year-old do you know that doesn’t have their cell phone with them 24/7?”
In the meantime, Lori and her new husband, Chad Daybell who has ties to Utah are still living in Hawaii while investigators search for Tylee and her younger brother, 7-year-old JJ Vallow, who have been missing since September.
Both have been named persons of interest in the case, but they have not been charged or arrested. Authorities said the couple have been uncooperative with the investigation and even misled them on the whereabouts about her children. Investigators believe they left the State of Idaho around the time police executed a welfare check on JJ and search warrants on her Rexburg townhome and storage unit.
Exclusive photos obtained by ABC News showed the happy-looking couple celebrating their wedding in Hawaii in November, nearly two months after her children vanished, four months after Lori’s former husband, Charles was shot and killed by her brother, and weeks after Chad’s wife, Tammy died from what police believe are suspicious circumstances.
The relationships between all of the parties involved can be complicated and difficult to understand. The investigation involves more than a dozen people, multiple recent deaths, and a timeline that dates back years. The case has attracted national attention and public interest from around the country.
JJ’s biological grandmother, Kay Woodcock told ABC News they believe Lori became a different person after meeting Chad, who wrote several religious books and given speeches about what he describes as two near-death experiences.
“I can’t say exactly when Chad came into the picture because I really don’t know. I knew Lori was reading books…doomsday stuff. But I knew she was in a group,” said Woodcock.
She and her husband, Larry offered a $20,000 reward to the public on January 7th for information leading to the whereabouts of JJ and Tylee.
According to our news partner, East Idaho News, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the island of Kaua’i said the couple told ward leaders media reports about them have been false and one-sided.
But when approached by East Idaho News reporter Nate Eaton in January, who asked, “There’s people around the country, praying for your children, praying for you guys. Why don’t you give us answers?” Lori’s only response was, “That’s great.”
Lori failed to comply with a court-ordered deadline two weeks ago to physically produce her children to authorities in Idaho. The Idaho Department of Health had until Monday to deliver their report to a judge, who will make a choice on whether a warrant will be issued for Lori’s arrest for ‘contempt of court.’ Law enforcement are unable to take action until then.