When Rexburg’s two missing children were found buried on Chad Daybell’s property on June 9, the community responded by creating a makeshift memorial. Flowers, balloons, stuffed animals, photos and notes to the children were hung on the stretch of fence running along the Daybell property where the remains of 16-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old J.J. Vallow were found.
Family members flew into Idaho to spend time at the memorial. On June 10, Kay and Larry Woodcock, grandparents to J.J. Vallow, visited the property to “see where J.J. was.”
Colby Ryan, 24-year-old brother of the two children, also visited in June and left a note of his own to his siblings. He expressed gratitude for the memorial on social media.
“I’m so grateful to the amazing people who have shown so much Christ like love to these beautiful kids and our family. Thank you everyone who came up to us and have been here at this fence showing support. This is the hardest thing for everyone to face. But being able to be here was healing for us,” Ryan wrote.
Over the last two months, the fence memorial continued to stand and even grow as people paid their respects to the children.
When neighbors went to bed last Thursday night, the memorial was still intact. On Friday morning, they woke to find it all gone.
Ryan returned to Rexburg last weekend to visit the place again. He was “shocked” to find the memorial taken down.
“We came here to add more, and spend time remembering these two angels. And we were shocked that it was all gone. But no matter what. I want everyone to know how much we appreciate your love and grace to show honor (to) my siblings. It was a shot to my heart to see it gone. But we remember you both everyday. I love you Tylee and J.J. you’ll never leave my heart,” Ryan wrote on Instagram.
The memorial was located on Daybell’s property, but it is unclear who removed the memorial. Daybell’s daughter Emma Murray and her husband Joseph Murray currently live at the house.
Multiple Rexburg residents who visited the fence since the memorial’s removal reported being told to leave by Joseph Murray.
Daybell and his wife Lori Vallow are both facing felony charges involving the cover-up of the deaths of Vallow’s children, Tylee and J.J.
Daybell and Vallow are also under investigation for the October 2019 death of Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Vallow and Daybell married 17 days after his wife of 29 years died in her sleep under what police have called suspicious causes.
The next step in the case will be arraignment hearings for both Vallow and Daybell. At their arraignments, the defendants will enter a plea. If a defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will then set a trial date.
Vallow’s arraignment date was filed Tuesday afternoon. Her arraignment will take place at 1:30 p.m. August 27 at the Fremont County courthouse. Judge Dane Watkins will preside.
Daybell’s arraignment has been set for 9 a.m. Aug. 21 at the Fremont County Courthouse.