REXBURG – No decision was made during a status conference to determine custody of the missing J.J. Vallow, 7, Wednesday evening, at the Madison County Courthouse.
Vallow’s grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock, met in a closed hearing with their lawyer, Kyle May, a judge, law enforcement officers and the county prosecutor. The meeting started around 4:45 p.m. and ended about two hours later.
The Woodcocks and May held a short press conference following the hearing.
“Today, the statement we’re going to make is we had a status conference – really a scheduling conference – in front of the judge on a guardianship case that’s been filed. A new hearing date will be set in the future,” said May who is with the Pocatello-based law firm May, Rammell and Wells.
Earlier this month, the Woodcocks filed for custody of J.J., who along with his sister Tylee Ryan, has been missing since September. The children’s mother Lori Vallow Daybell was recently located in Hawaii with her new husband Chad Daybell. Madison County ordered Lori to return with the children to Rexburg two weeks ago, but she failed to do so. She and Chad remain in Hawaii.
Thanks to the Woodcocks’ efforts, the search for J.J. and Tylee was instigated and has spread from Idaho to Arizona to Hawaii. Chad and Lori married two weeks after Chad’s first wife, Tammy, died suddenly in her sleep on Oct. 19, at their Salem home. Lori’s estranged husband, Charles, and J.J.’s adoptive father (who is also Kay's brother) was killed after he was shot by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, in July. The incident remains under investigation. Cox died in December of undisclosed causes. Everyone who witnessed the shooting is either missing or dead.
Lori and Chad fled for Hawaii shortly after Rexburg police asked Lori about the whereabouts of J.J. Lori told police, he was with family in Arizona. When that turned out to be false, Rexburg police returned to the Daybell home with a warrant and found the newlyweds had fled. In the meantime, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office ordered that Tammy’s body be exhumed from its Springville, Utah, Cemetery resting place in December. An autopsy was ordered the results of which are expected back in the ensuing weeks.
The missing children story has spread nationwide and has been featured on various television shows and news programs. It will be featured on NBC’s Dateline at 9 p.m. Eastern Time and 8 p.m. Central Time, Friday, February 14.
“The two-hour broadcast is the first comprehensive primetime special on the case making national headlines,” Dateline reported in a press release.
The program called “Where Are The Children?” features Lori’s friend, April Raymond, who spoke with NBC News’ Keith Morrison. According to the press release, she told Morrison that Lori is “telling people there’s a lot of media hype around her right now. And she’s waiting for it to die down. I would describe it as something a little more serious, a lot more serious.”
The Dateline program also includes interviews with Chad’s friends and a look at the storage unit Lori abandoned recently. Shortly before she and Chad fled, Lori placed toys and pictures of her two missing children inside the storage unit.
In the meantime, the Woodcocks plan to return to Rexburg in the near future in hopes of seeking custody of J.J.
As more information is gathered, the Standard Journal will update this story.