PHOENIX - As the search continues for two missing children with ties to Arizona, their family is offering a reward.
In a news conference Tuesday, family members of seven-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan announce they are offering $20,000 for information leading to the two.
Both JJ and Tylee have ties to Arizona, but the two were last seen in Rexburg, Idaho.
"If there is anything that Lori can come forth with and help us, please do it," said Larry Woodcock, the grandfather of JJ. "She knows how much we love these kids."
According to an article by the Associated Press on December 30, police in Rexburg have made no progress on the children's disappearance, despite receiving hundreds of tips about them.
JJ and Tylee's disappearances have uncovered a complicated sequence of events related to Lori Vallow, the children's mother, and Chad Daybell, the children's stepfather.
According to the AP, Chad and Lori are named as persons of interest because they never reported the kids missing, have repeatedly lied about where their children are — initially saying the boy with special needs was in Arizona — and aren’t cooperating with the investigation.
“We just strongly feel that if the mom and dad felt like or if they knew that the kids were safe, they would show proof of it, but we have yet to see anything,” said Rexburg Police Captain Gary Hagen.
Lori Vallow's estranged husband
In July 2019, authorities in Arizona say Lori's brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Lori's estranged husband, 62-year-old Charles Vallow, following a fight. Cox was never arrested in connection with the case, and has since died.
Charles Vallow's shooting death came months after he made disturbing claims against Lori in divorce filings. According to the divorce documents, Charles said during a phone call in late January that Lori told him she is a "translated being who cannot taste death, sent by god to lead the 144,000 into the Millennium", and that Lori threatened to murder Charles if he got in her way.
In an voice-only interview with FOX 10's Justin Lum, one of Charles' son, who did not want to be identified, said he helped Charles move from Arizona to Texas in March 2019, when Lori had changed.
"Lori had basically just disappeared, and he had no idea where she went for I think two-ish months, and so eventually he was like ‘alright, I have to move away for JJ’s sake, for JJ’s safety’ and so he decided to move to Houston,” said the son.
Charles also claimed that Lori would destroy him financially.
"He told me like ‘oh, Lori took, like, a large sum of money out of our joint bank account, and basically just took all his money," said the son.
In all, Lori allegedly transferred a total of $35,000 out of the accounts, according to information Charles provided to his attorney.
Chad's wife's death, and his marriage with Lori
Chad Daybell (Photo Courtesy: Rexburg Police Department)
Vallow and Daybell were married shortly after the death of Chad's first wife, Tammy Daybell, on October 19, 2019. Tammy was buried three days after her death. At the time of Tammy's death, doctors say she died of natural causes, but now, authorities believe Tammy's death is suspicious, and they have exhumed Tammy's body.
Both Chad and Lori contributed to podcasts for a group known as "Preparing A People": Doomsday preppers focused on the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Former relatives of Lori say her personality changed after getting close to Chad, and another source has told FOX 10 that Lori has read several of Chad's books, years before their marriage.
An attorney by the name of Sean Bartholick, who claims to represent the Chad and Lori, has issued a statement on the incident.
"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," read the statement.
Allegations of cult membership
Rick Ross, who has studied destructive cults and controversial groups since 1982 and is the founder of the Cult Education Institute, believes Chad is a cult leader.
"Number one, that it’s a personality-driven group with a living leader who has absolute authority," said Ross.
Kay Woodcock, JJ and Tylee's grandmother, also said Lori had a change in personality.
"To think that within the last two years she has completely changed into a monster, I'm making an understatement," said Woodcock. "Something happened to her. She just turned off and once she got involved with that cult with Daybell, she just turned off the person we knew just went away."
Brandon Boudreaux, who has known the Vallow family for years, said he noticed some drastic changes in Lori after she met Chad.
Family members appeal for resolution
Lori's son, Colby Ryan, has made an appeal to his mother.
"Mom, I want to talk to you like I'm sitting across the room from you," Ryan said. "You have the power to end this. Even if you just show them on FaceTime. Just show them on FaceTime to the police, it would be a lot better. I don't know what else I can tell you to do than just to know this is the right thing to do."