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Friend of man wanted for questioning by FBI 'horrified' over missing children

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Friend of man wanted for questioning by FBI 'horrified' over missing children (Photo: KUTV)

The nationwide search continues for two missing children Idaho who may be in extreme danger.

The FBI is heading up the investigation and report the mother and stepfather of Joshua Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, are wanted for questioning in connection with their disappearance. The children have not been seen since September 2019.

The children’s mother, Lori Vallow, who may now be using the last name Daybell, and their stepfather, Chad Daybell, both went missing during a police investigation in November.

Benjamin Hyde said he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was companions with Chad Daybell. He is in shock from the reports that Daybell is now under investigation after his former wife, Tammy Daybell, was found dead in their home in October.

I just was horrified, shaking when I first saw it because this is the last guy that I ever thought would be involved in something like this.

Initially thought to be a natural death, Tammy Daybell's remains have since been exhumed in Utah where she was buried. An autopsy is being conducted in December as authorities now investigate what may be suspicious circumstances behind the woman's death. Shortly after her death, Chad Daybell married Lori Vallow.

During the course of the death investigation, authorities learned Joshua and Tylee were missing.

On Monday, according to the East Idaho News, attorney Sean Bartholick, of Rigby, Andrus & Rigby, issued a statement on the couple's behalf:

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.

According to the East Idaho News, family members of Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow say they bonded over their religious beliefs.

Daybell is a self-published Latter-day Saint author and owns Spring Creek Books, a publishing company he started with his former wife, Tammy, who died in October, the news article states.

In his autobiography “Living on the Edge of Heaven,” Daybell describes his two near-death experiences, East Idaho News reports.

The couple was also affiliated with a group called "Preparing A People." The organization states on its website that it doesn’t represent any church or official church doctrines.

That organization produces a podcast, which has included Daybell and Vallow as guests over the past year, East Idaho News reports. The news outlet reported those podcasts were removed and the website posted a statement on Monday:

We considered Chad Daybell a good friend, but have since learned of things we had no idea about. We did not know Lori as well as we thought we knew Chad. In light of current concerning media reports and ongoing criminal investigations regarding the recent death of Lori Vallow’s previous husband in Arizona, and the sudden death of Chad Daybell’s previous wife in Idaho, and with new reports of Lori’s missing children and the death of Lori’s brother-in-law, and the unknown whereabouts of Chad and Lori, we feel it inappropriate to not (sic) promote any media content that may feature or contain references to either Chad Daybell or Lori Vallow.

Vallow is 46, is 5-feet 6-inches tall, and has blond hair and blue eyes. Daybell is 51, is 6-feet 3-inches tall, and has brown hair and blue eyes.

Joshua has brown hair and brown eyes and is 4 feet tall. He sometimes goes by the nickname JJ. Tylee has blond hair and blue eyes and is 5-feet tall.

Police are asking anyone with information about the children to call Rexburg police at 208-359-3000 or report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.