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Best friend speaks as Tylee and J.J. honored at vigil in Idaho

Posted at 10:28 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-13 02:15:31-04

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — People gathered from all over east Idaho and even from out-of-state Friday night in Idaho Falls, to pay tribute to Joshua "J.J." Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

More than 200 people showed up to honor the children, including Tylee's best friend-- who drove up from Utah for the event.

The missing kids' remains were recovered from a field in Salem, Idaho this week, and although the medical examiner's office has not yet confirmed the identify of the remains, family members confirmed they believe the remains are those of Tylee, 17 years old, and J.J., who would have been 8 years old.

Alexcia Law said she was best friends with Tylee from 12 to 15 years old, when they both lived in Hawaii. Even after they each moved away, they kept in close touch.

While Alexcia moved to Syracuse, Utah, Tylee moved back to Arizona. After Tylee's step-father Charles died, Alexcia checked in with her best friend to see how she was doing.

Alexcia described how they texted the day Tylee was last known to be alive.

"The day she went missing, she told me-- she's like, 'I love you,'" Alexcia recounted. "And I said, 'I love you too.' And then I never texted her or saw her again."

Even though Alexcia said she was worried when Tylee didn't get back to her, she had no idea her friend had gone missing.

It would be nine months before she would find out what happened.

"My best friend's been missing since September, and I really need to go and mourn her and everything, and I need to go to her vigil," Alexcia said, with tears in her eyes. "I'm going to need to go to her funeral and everything, because I really just need to get closure. Because it never really hit me that she was gone."

The two siblings disappeared from Rexburg in September. Their mother, Lori Vallow, is in the Madison County (Idaho) jail, facing two counts of child desertion and other charges. The man Lori married after the kids disappeared, Chad Daybell, was arrested and booked into the Fremont County jail Tuesday after the discovery of human remains on his property.

Daybell faces two felony counts of evidence destruction, alteration or concealment.

After the discovery of the remains, community members said they wanted a way to come together and heal. Timonee Olsen and D Linde organized Friday's vigil in Idaho Falls, saying were hurting and felt they needed to do something to start the closure process for everyone in town.

Local businesses donated items, including a sign with J.J. and Tylee's names, a balloon arch, flowers and more. The couple hundred people gathered in a field and said a prayer, and watched slideshows with photos and videos of the children.

They lit candles, and observed a moment of silence.

D said she wants to be the voice for J.J. and Tylee now, because they no longer have a mom or dad. Timanee said the entire community is grieving right alongside the family.

"I'm really happy that people are here to support them, and are here to mourn them and give their support, and care for them" Alexcia expressed, of seeing the support for Tylee and J.J. at the vigil. "They really do deserve the best, and they deserve to have that love because they were the sweetest people in the world."