Colby Ryan says he has "a million questions" for his mom Lori Vallow, who's jailed in connection with her kids' disappearance

By Jeff Truesdell
April 30, 2020 02:31 PM
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Lori Vallow
| Credit: Rexburg Police Department

The adult son of Lori Vallow — the jailed Idaho mom under investigation for possible murder — has appealed again for her help to find his two siblings who have been missing since September.

"It hurts so much," the son, Colby Ryan, tells Dateline NBC in a new interview to be broadcast Friday. "And on top of that, we have a million questions. So you can't call your own mom. You can't go to your house — or her house — and see your siblings. You're just out in the cold."

He adds: "Like, how do you not produce the kids? That's the whole reason you're in jail in the first place right now."

Lori's children, 7-year-old Joshua "J.J." Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, have been the subject of a search since J.J.'s grandparents reported him missing in November. J.J. is Lori's adopted son.

As police in Rexburg, Idaho, bore down on Lori and her newlywed husband Chad Daybell, an author of religious doomsday-themed writings, the couple disappeared, only to be located in late January in Kaua'i, Hawaii, without the kids.

Joshua “J.J.” Vallow, at left, and Tylee Ryan
| Credit: Rexburg Police Department (2)

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After an arrest and extradition, Lori now is jailed in Madison County, Idaho, with a $1 million bond on felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, as well as resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, contempt of court and willful disobedience of court process or order for failing to produce them.

She has pleaded not guilty.

Colby Ryan
| Credit: Dateline NBC

Lori and Chad Under Investigation for Possible Murder

Lori and Chad married in November two weeks after the death of Chad's previous wife, Tammy, a death that authorities later deemed "suspicious." Earlier this month, the Idaho attorney general's office confirmed it was working with authorities in adjacent Fremont County, where Chad and Tammy lived at the time Tammy died, to investigate Lori and Chad for possible murder, attempted murder and conspiracy charges.

An attorney, Mark Means, who is representing both Lori and Chad, has repeatedly not responded to PEOPLE's requests for comment.

Colby is the son of Lori and a prior husband, Joseph Ryan, who died in 2018. Lori subsequently married Charles Vallow, whose July 2019 shooting death by Lori's brother, Alex Cox, has drawn renewed scrutiny with the children's disappearance, as has the December 2019 death of Cox himself.

Chad Daybell, at left, and Lori Vallow
| Credit: Eric Grossarth/ EastIdahoNews.com

In January Colby posted a seven-minute YouTube video pleading with his then-missing mom to work with investigators, and repeated his appeal in a later TV interview.

“I want you to end this,” Colby said in his emotional YouTube plea addressing Lori. “I want you to end it for everybody, for the kids, for yourself, for all of us.”

“I just want them to be safe and I want them to be OK,” he added. “And I just want you to find it in your heart to be able to help this situation.”

Lori Vallow
| Credit: Dennis Fujimoto/AP/Shutterstock

But after news footage surfaced of Lori and Chad in Hawaii, his comments took a more angry and urgent tone.

“I’m done. I’ve been done. The day that I saw them without the kids walking around Hawaii, that was it,” Colby told Fox10 Phoenix.

He nonetheless said he didn't think Lori would hurt his siblings. “I feel like my mom would die for the kids, so to see this and hear it, and also be questioning why they’re not being found, that’s where this all comes into a battle [between] what you think and what you feel,” he said.

Police Think Missing Kids 'Are in Danger'

Rexburg police have said they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger,” and in a statement alleged that Lori “has refused to work with law enforcement to help us resolve this matter.”

Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell
| Credit: Rexburg Police Department (2)

Family members have raised other concerns.

Lori allegedly believes she is “a God assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020, and that if [her then husband] got in her way of her mission she would murder him,” according to a divorce court filing by Charles Vallow, who was estranged from Lori at the time he was shot, with Cox claiming it was self-defense during an altercation in Lori's home. Cox was not charged.

Lori's son J.J. was last seen Sept. 23 at his school in Rexburg, to which Lori and the two kids moved in August from Arizona after the death of Charles Vallow. Lori subsequently withdrew J.J. from the school, telling the principal she wanted to homeschool him.

The last image of Lori’s daughter, Tylee, dates to a Sept. 8 day trip Tylee made to Yellowstone National Park with her mom, brother and uncle Alex Cox, according to the court filing in Madison County that led to Lori’s arrest in the children’s disappearance.

Police in Rexburg allege they have documented several misleading statements from Lori and Chad about the kids’ whereabouts. Prosecutors allege Lori “abandoned her two minor children, delayed law enforcement’s attempts to locate her children, and encouraged another individual to delay law enforcement’s attempts to locate her children.”

Each felony count of desertion and nonsupport of a child carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison if she is convicted.

Lori is expected in court Friday to request a reduction in her bond amount.

Dateline NBC: What Happened to the Children? airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET.