Missing Idaho Boy's Former School Claims Mom Logged in to Classroom Monitoring App Last Week
New information continues to surface in the bizarre case of Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, two missing children from Rexburg, Idaho.
Before the family’s move to Rexburg, JJ attended Lauren’s Institute For Education (also known as L.I.F.E. Academy) in Gilbert, Arizona.
Margaret Travillion, the co-founder & CEO of L.I.F.E., has released a statement outlining the timeline of the little boy’s enrollment — as well as the news that his mother, Lori Vallow, has repeatedly continued to sign into the school’s classroom monitoring system using a special app, even though JJ has not been a student at the school since September 2019.
“It would appear that an application or phone identified as Lori Vallow has been continually monitoring JJ’s classroom communication system we use between the classroom and the parents, in addition to our organization as a whole,” Travillion says in the statement, which was provided to PEOPLE. “Upon discovering that Lori’s name was used to sign on to this app, the name Lori Vallow has been tracked multiple times since JJ was unenrolled.”
Travillion says some of these log-ins occurred around Thanksgiving, as well as around Christmas, when the news about JJ and Tylee’s disappearance took the media by storm. She also said someone using Lori Vallow’s name continued to access the school’s app even as recently as last week, after which administrators removed her access. “We cannot speculate as to why Lori or someone using her accounts or electronics would continue to follow the classroom or our organization during this time frame,” Travillion says.
Of JJ, who was diagnosed with autism, Travillion describes the missing child as a “very happy little boy [who] felt emotions very strongly while with us,” noting that the school was “devastated to learn he was missing in early December. … We want to believe he is well and will return home soon.”
Also outlined in the school’s statement is a detailed timeline of JJ’s enrollment there, as well as information about his mother’s decision to pull him from the school in early September (shortly before he went missing). In an email to the school obtained by PEOPLE, Lori Vallow allegedly wrote that she was moving her family out of state abruptly due to a job offer: “Since the circumstances in our lives have changed drastically since my husband passed away last month, I have been offered a job out of state and have had to accept it,” she wrote on Sept. 5, 2019, in an email to staff. “We have had to move quickly since the job started ASAP. So I’m sad to inform you that Joshua won’t be returning this year.”
Vallow has been under the spotlight since authorities alleged that she’s refused to help them find her two missing children, 7-year-old Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan. The grandparents of the adopted boy sounded the alarm last fall after saying they’d lost contact with him.
Lori and her new husband, Chad Daybell, an author and speaker on religious doomsday prophecies, “abruptly vacated” their home in Rexburg, Idaho, and left the area last November as authorities readied search warrants tied to the children’s disappearance, police said. The couple was located late last month in Hawaii without the two kids, and Lori defied a court order to turn them over to police or child welfare workers in Idaho.
Lori has not publicly addressed her children’s whereabouts, and a trail of intrigue has accompanied the children’s disappearance.
Lori’s previous husband, Charles, cited her growing embrace of extreme religious views in divorce papers that claimed Lori believed “she was a God assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020 and that if Father [Charles] got in her way of her mission she would murder him.”
With the divorce and child custody matters pending, Charles was shot dead last July in a confrontation at Lori’s suburban Phoenix home by Lori’s brother Alex Cox, who claimed self-defense and was not charged. Alex Cox himself died months later, and a cause of death has not been released.
Lori subsequently moved to Idaho and married Daybell, whose previous wife, Tammy, died in October. Police have since said they consider her death to be “suspicious.”
Both Lori and Daybell were engaged in discussions of end-times prophecies through her participation in podcasts and his writings and public speaking about preparations for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Rexburg police say they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger” and allege that Lori “has refused to work with law enforcement to help us resolve this matter.”
No criminal charges are pending against either Lori or Daybell, although authorities previously said that her refusal to produce the children last month as ordered by an Idaho court would risk civil or contempt of court citations that have not been issued.
Lori’s alleged obsession with end-of-times prophecies at one point in 2018 led her to voice a fantasy about driving herself and her kids off a cliff, according to Tylee Ryan’s aunt, Annie Cushing.
“It’s like she wanted me to be afraid of the end times,” Cushing told KSL TV, discussing a period soon after the death of Tylee’s father and Cushing’s brother, Joseph Ryan. Recalling Lori’s statements anticipating the end of the world, Cushing recalled, “There was one time where she was talking about it and she says, ‘sometimes, I think it would be better just to put my kids in a car and go off the side of a cliff.’”