J.J. Vallow, 8, left, and Tylee Ryan, 17, have been missing since September, 2019.

A case that has drawn national attention and is being investigated by the FBI involves two missing children that have a connection to Lake Charles.

Joshua Jaxon "J.J." Vallow, 8, and Tylee Ryan, 17, haven't been seen since September.

The situation is a convoluted one that has at its center a couple who have also disappeared and whose previous spouses are both dead, two missing children, a third death, and the couple's doomsday beliefs.

Grandparents Kay and Larry Woodcock of Lake Charles are desperate for any news regarding the children and have made appearances on multiple national TV shows in recent days. They have shared their story on "20/20," "Good Morning America," "Dateline," "Inside Edition," and "Dr. Oz," in the hopes it would help them find the children they love and miss.


Grandparents Kay and Larry Woodcock with J.J. Vallow having lunch together in happier times. J.J., 8, is missing.

Kay Woodcock's brother, Charles Vallow, was J.J.'s father. Charles and his wife, Lori Vallow, adopted J.J., who was Charles' grandnephew, after the couple got married. They were also raising Lori's daughter, Tylee, from a previous relationship, at their home in suburban Phoenix, according to the grandparents.

Lori Vallow, 46, was a hairdresser and according to Larry Woodcock, she "always kept J.J.'s hair trimmed and styled." The Woodcocks visited their grandson often and shared frequent phone calls and video chats when they couldn't be there in person.

"She and Charles were the best parents," Larry Woodcock said. "I do know that Lori always had the best, the absolute best interests at heart for J.J.,"

Kay Woodcock said, although they are very worried, "Until we know different, they (the children) are alive! We hope they have been placed with a family; one who isn't crazy."

She said what she meant by that is that she noticed a change in Lori Vallow in recent years. Woodcock said her brother had confided in her that he feared his wife was having an affair with Chad Daybell, an author of religious books about prophecies and the end of the world. Woodcock said Lori had also begun to immerse herself in Daybell's writings.

Charles Vallow filed divorce documents in an Arizona court last year, claiming Lori Vallow believed she was a "translated being." Vallow also accused Lori of threatening to kill him if he got in her way and he sought an order of protection.

"He was highly concerned about it," Kay Woodcock said. "It was her emotional state, her mental state, and the fact she had made threats about him. It all culminated into the cult that she's (Lori) in."

The divorce never took place because Charles was killed last July by Lori Vallow's brother, Alex Cox, according to authorities. Cox told authorities that he shot Charles Vallow in self-defense after the man hit him with a baseball bat, and the case remained open. Cox died of unknown causes in December, 2019.

"We know it was murder; we know Charles' death wasn't a justifiable homicide," Kay Woodcock said. "It was like they set him up."

Last August, shortly after Charles died, Lori Vallow moved to Rexburg, Idaho, with J.J. and Tylee, according to the grandparents. It brought her closer to Daybell's home in Salem, Idaho, where he lived with his wife, Tammy Daybell.

Two months after Vallow moved to Idaho, Tammy Daybell died at her home. She was 49 and her obituary said she died of natural causes. Authorities said that was questioned later and her body was exhumed for an autopsy but results have not been released yet. Lori Vallow, in what would be her fifth marriage, got married to Chad Daybell, 51, two weeks after Tammy Daybell's death, according to authorities.

The children were never reported missing by Vallow or Daybell but authorities began looking into their well-being after they received phone calls from worried family members.

Investigators said the couple told them J.J. and Tylee were visiting relatives in Arizona. After discovering that was not the case, investigators returned to the home the next day but found Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell had left town.

They have not been seen since and there has been no confirmed sighting of either of the children. Vallow and Daybell have been named persons of interest in the children's disappearances. Police have said that Vallow and Daybell told people Tylee had died and that Vallow had no minor children.

Sean Bartholick, an attorney in Rexburg, Idaho, recently issued a statement on behalf of Vallow and Daybell, saying, "Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter. Lori Daybell is a devoted mother and resents assertions to the contrary. We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor."

Tylee and J.J.'s grandparents continue to hold out hope both children will be found safe.

"All I want before I go in this life is just to see those children, and especially - and I'm being greedy - especially my boy J.J.," Larry Woodcock said. "My little man."

Kay Woodcock, in a direct appeal to Vallow, said, "Please, just let us know where the kids are. It's not difficult. It will end all this, as far as the kids are concerned."

Authorities in several states, with assistance from the FBI, continue to search for J.J. and Tylee. A $20,000 award has been announced for information leading to the children.

Anyone with information about J.J. Vallow or Tylee Ryan or who has seen either of them since September, 2019, is asked to call 208-359-3000.

More from this section

Recalling John F. Kennedy's 1959 visit to Lake Charles and dinner at the Pioneer Club, Theresa Boudreaux said she was struck by how he remembered her name when autographing her menu.

  • Updated

The USS Orleck has made its home in Lake Charles for the past decade but will soon make the 16-hour trip to Port Arthur, Texas before the week-long trip to Jacksonville, Fla., to join the Jacksonville Naval Museum. 

  • Updated

Whether a serious athlete or a not-so-serious athlete, Calcasieu Parish School Board employees and relatives were invited to complete a 5K on Saturday.