As search continues for missing children, family expresses fading optimism

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As authorities continue to look for missing seven-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, family members are speaking out.

Vallow and Ryan used to live in the East Valley, but they have been missing since September. In addition, the children's mother, Lori Vallow, and her new husband, Chad Daybell, are nowhere to be found. Now, three states and the FBI are involved in the investigation.

RELATED: Interactive timeline of the disappearance

This family has seen this bubble up for months now, and now, it's in the public spotlight. On Monday, family members are speaking out.

"It's just devastating to our family, our friends that all loved JJ, and we really can't put our hands around it. It's almost impossible," said Larry Woodcock, JJ's grandfather.

Vallow's husband, Charles Vallow, was shot and killed by her brother, Alex Cox, back in July. Cox told authorities that it happened in self-defense, but Cox's death on December 12 is now the subject of a Gilbert Police investigation.

The Rexburg Police Department asked for the public’s help in locating Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow wanted for questioning in connection with the disappearance of Vallow’s children. (Photo credit: Rexberg Police Department)

Following her husband's death, Vallow suddenly relocated to Idaho and remarried to Daybell, whose wife, Tammy Daybell, died in October and was buried just days later.

Originally, Tammy Daybell's death was considered natural, but now, authorities in Utah have exhumed her body.

"I don't know what happened to those kids, but I know there are people who do, and they aren't talking," said Brandon Boudreaux, who married into Vallow's side of the family and fears what's next for her and Daybell.

"If I could say anything to them, I'd say tell the truth," said Boudreaux. "They're going to figure it out eventually anyway."

"If I have a worst enemy, I would never wish this on them. I would never wish this on anybody," said Woodcock. "She just turned off. The person we knew just went away and she did not want JJ anymore. We were just trying to tell her, God. please let her go to a fire station, a church or something."

With each passing day, optimism fades on whether or not JJ or Tylee are still alive.

Joshua Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, are being sought by police in Rexberg, Idaho. (Photo credit: Rexberg Police Department)

"At this point as we sit here today, my skepticism says no," said Woodcock.

FOX 10 spoke with the 23-year-old brother of the children, Colby Ryan, late Monday night. Ryan wouldn't go on camera, but was clearly rattled by what's happened and desperate to learn their whereabouts.

On Tuesday, a man identified as Colby Ryan, who claims to be the older brother of JJ and Tylee, also issued a statement on the children's disappearance via a video posted to YouTube.