Police: Cellphone Pings Helped Locate Missing Idaho Children's Remains
Authorities found the remains of two missing children by tracing their uncle's now deceased uncle's cell phone data, according to newly published court documents, on the children's stepfather's property in Idaho.
The stepfather, Chad Daybell, is now behind bars because of the disappearance of the children. The children's mother, Lori Vallow, is also being detained on charges.
The remains of Tylee Ryan (17) and her brother Joshua "JJ" Vallow (7) were exhumed on June 9 after search warrants indicated that their uncle Alex Cox had mysteriously visited the estate in September at least four times, when the kids were last seen alive.
An FBI special agent tasked with analyzing the frequency of Cox's visits to Chad Daybell's property this month made one of his visits on September 9, the day after Tylee was last seen alive, particularly "significant" revealed a likely affidavit published Friday showed.
Tylee Ryan (17) and Joshua "JJ" Vallow (7) had not been seen since September. Only in November they were reported missing by their extended family. (Photo: REXBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT)
That day, from 2:42 a.m. to 3:37 a.m., Cox seemed to be visiting the apartment in Rexburg, Idaho, which the siblings shared with their mother Lori Vallow. Then he returned to his nearby apartment before traveling to Daybell's mansion, where he stayed for about an hour.
"This is important not only because he is there in the middle of the night, but also because it is the only time in September that he appears to go to Lori between midnight and 6am," the affidavit says Explanation.
A possible search for places that Cox visited based on his cell phone data would make the children's bodies appear in two different places. It was described that JJ had been taped before being wrapped in a plastic bag. The remains of his sister had been dismembered and burned, the authorities said.
Daybell married Vallow and traveled to Hawaii with her immediately after the two children were reported missing in November.
Authorities said Daybell later observed how they searched his property on the day the bodies were discovered.
The missing child's uncle visited Chad Daybell's property four times in September, the authorities said. (Photo: Fremont County Sheriff's Office)
"He was observed watching officers while he was in his vehicle in his driveway and in his vehicle in his daughter's apartment across the street," the affidavit says. Daybell started in his car when human remains were found on the property. Immediately afterwards, he was arrested during a traffic incident.
At the time the children disappeared in September, Daybell lived on the estate with his then wife, Tammy Daybell. She would be found dead in her bed on the morning of October 19. The results of the autopsy by Tammy Daybell have not been published publicly.
Just minutes after Cox left Daybell's property on September 9, text messages restored by a warrant showed Daybell had sent Tammy a text message telling her that he had burned some debris in her backyard fire that morning and after shooting a raccoon had buried it in their animal graveyard along a fence.
"Well, I had an interesting morning!" Daybell's text to her began, according to an affidavit.
Lori Vallow, also known as Lori Daybell, allegedly believed that her two children had become "zombies," a friend told the authorities. (Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The last verifiable sighting of JJ was almost two weeks later, around the same time that Cox was making two more visits to Daybell's property, the authorities said. According to an autopsy, Cox died of natural causes in December.
Vallow's friend Melani Gibb told the police that she saw JJ on the night of September 22 when she visited her home. Gibb said she had never seen Tylee and Vallow told her that Tylee was taking classes at Brigham Young University in Idaho. According to the authorities, Tylee never enrolled at the Rexburg-based school or one of its subsidiaries.
On September 23, Cox's phone brought him back to Daybell. On September 25, he returned, as records showed.
It was not until the beginning of November that the large family of children reported that they were missing to the police. According to authorities, Vallow and Daybell, who are now widowed, fled to Hawaii and got married immediately after being questioned by the police.
The authorities have not discussed a possible motive for the child's death. In an interview with the police, Gibb said that Vallow repeatedly shared the belief that her children had become "zombies".
Being a zombie meant that your mind had left your body and was trapped in the air while your body was being taken over by a dark mind, Gibb said. She added that a person would have to be killed for the person's spirit to escape, the affidavit said.
Vallow is charged with abandoning and handicapping children. Daybell is in custody for the destruction and concealment of evidence. Both have pleaded not guilty.
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"Doomsday" couple examined for murder among missing children
Brother of "Doomsday" mother Lori Vallow died of natural causes: autopsy
Human remains found in search of missing Idaho children
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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