NewsLocal News


Missing Idaho kid's nanny recounts experience with Lori Vallow days before disappearance

Posted at 10:32 PM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 18:12:15-05

REXBURG, Idaho — The nanny of JJ Vallow, the boy missing with his sister from Idaho, is coming forward to share the statement she gave to police about what Lori Vallow-Daybell told her, just days before JJ went missing.

The woman wanted to remain anonymous, but corresponded with Fox 13 to give insight into what the nanny learned about 7-year old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and 17-year old Tylee Ryan.

JJ has been missing since September 23, and Tylee since September 8. Both were last known to be in Rexburg, Idaho.

According to the nanny, Lori Vallow-Daybell sent a message through a website, responding to an ad. The two sent text messages back and forth.

“She asked me to come over for an interview to see if I could handle watching JJ since he has autism,” the nanny explained.

On September 18, the woman said she went to Lori’s Rexburg townhome to meet JJ.

“She was very welcoming and gave me a hug. Their home was clean and had a picture of a temple on the wall,” the nanny recounted. “She explained to me, as we watched JJ play outside with the neighbor kids, some of his tendencies. He gets emotional easily, frustrated, distracted, has difficulty communicating with others, but can follow orders if you look at him right in the eyes.”

Lori told the woman about moving from Arizona, the nanny said. According to witnesses and documents, Lori, the children and her brother Alex Cox moved to Rexburg less than two months after Alex shot and killed Lori’s husband, Charles Vallow. Cox told police the shooting was in self-defense.

“She explained to me how they recently moved here from Arizona. Her husband had just died of a heart attack and how JJ doesn't quite understand the situation. Lori said how she and her husband adopted JJ and that he was her nephew,” the nanny told police.

Lori also talked about her daughter Tylee. The nanny didn’t meet Tylee.

“Her daughter also lives in Rexburg and is going to college,” the nanny remembered, of what Lori told her. “She said her daughter doesn’t like to babysit JJ without being paid so she wanted me to work for her. Occasionally her daughter would come visit for dinner or to do laundry, but she never said that she lived there with them. It appeared that only Lori and JJ lived there, from the look of things and from what she told me.”

In Lori Vallow-Daybell’s charging documents, police have said that Lori told people Tylee was attending BYU-Idaho. However, police said they confirmed that Tylee never enrolled there.

Neighbors told Fox 13 that they saw Tylee around the townhome complex a few times, including the day the family moved up from Arizona. Documents state that Lori, her brother Alex, and Tylee took a day trip to Yellowstone on September 8. Photos of Tylee on that day are the last known pictures or sightings of her that police have said they’ve been able to find.

The nanny said that Lori asked her to come over the next day for a few hours to watch JJ, “while she went to the airport to pick up a friend.”

“[Lori] mentioned how if she got home later to give JJ his medicine right before bed because it makes him tired fast,” the woman said. “She joked about how she liked that because some days when he was extra tough for her to handle, she would give him his meds and have him go to bed early to give her a break.”

Rexburg Police later documented finding JJ’s medication, with pills still in the bottle, while serving a search warrant on Lori’s townhouse in November. According to court documents, police have confirmed that JJ’s medication was filled in Arizona in January 2019, but never re-filled in Idaho.

The nanny said Lori’s brother came over to the townhome that day, and then left with Lori.

She said JJ was upset that Lori left, but described the rest of her time watching JJ as “pretty relaxed,” and said JJ played with other kids outside.

Later, she talked about how JJ had a breakdown.

“He started crying and screaming. I tried to calm him down, distract him with a show, tell him how sometimes people need a break, and how he needs to share. He threw the chair from their wooden table down, flipped the ottoman over by their couch, and then ran upstairs,” the nanny remembered. “I let him cry for a bit, hoping he would calm down, but he didn’t. I felt I should check on him to make sure he wouldn’t hurt himself or break anything so I went upstairs. I quickly found him under the bed in his mom’s room. He also had a room upstairs but from what I remember it just had toys in it and no bed. Lori’s room appeared normal, she had a large bed, bathroom, and it looked clean. Although something kind of strange was that there was a small mattress in the corner where JJ slept. It was pretty thin, the size of a twin mattress, with sheets and a pillow. There was a mirror hanging above the mattress in the corner, as JJ ran up from under the bed he went toward the mirror and knocked it off the wall. Hoping it didn’t break glass all over the mattress, I picked it up.”

The nanny said Lori returned with her brother, and the friend they picked up from the airport.

“The mom calmed JJ and asked me what happened. I explained the situation and she babied him…” the woman said. She said it was, “overwhelming the amount of love she was showing him.”

Lori paid the nanny $40, and the nanny said she left.

“From what we had talked about yesterday that was what she seemed to be needing, was nearly daily assistance from me,” the nanny said. “This was the last day I saw JJ and Lori.”

Days later on September 24, the woman said she reached out to Lori about “coming back and working more.”

“…she responded to me that JJ was with his grandparents for a month and that she was in Hawaii,” the nanny said, of what Lori messaged her. “She said in about a month, when they come back, that I could work again.”

The nanny said she waited until around Halloween, and sent Lori another text to ask if she could work. She said Lori didn’t respond.

“I thought it was pretty weird that they just up and left for a month and didn't need me to work ever again after just hiring me,” the nanny said. “I assumed she must have really needed a break from JJ I guess, and I left it at that. That was the last time I ever communicated with Lori.”

Lori Vallow-Daybell is in jail in Hawaii on felony charges of desertion and nonsupport. JJ and Tylee are still missing. Police said they believe the children are in danger.