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Children's remains found on property of man with ties to missing Idaho kids, prosecutor says

Remains of missing Idaho children found
Remains of Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan found on stepfather's property 01:41

Police on Tuesday took into custody a man with ties to the two Idaho children who haven't been seen since last year after what are believed to be human remains were found on his Idaho property, the Rexburg Police Department confirmed. Earlier on Tuesday, investigators had returned to search Chad Daybell's home for a second time in a case that has vexed investigators for months and attracted worldwide attention.

The remains have not been identified. Police in Rexburg, Idaho said during a press conference Tuesday that Daybell is in custody for questioning, but they provided no further details.

Chad Daybell pictured in a mugshot Photo Courtesy of the Rexburg Police Department

Daybell, who is married to the children's mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, was arrested on suspicion of concealing or destroying evidence, according to the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. He has not yet been formally charged, and his attorney, Mark Means, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Daybell is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, haven't been seen since September, and police say both Chad and Lori Daybell lied to investigators about the childrens' whereabouts. Besides the missing children, the couple has been under scrutiny following the deaths of both of their ex-spouses, as well as Lori Daybell's brother — the shooter of Lori Daybell's ex-husband.

Rexburg police announced Tuesday morning that officers were searching Chad Daybell's eastern Idaho home, along with investigators from the FBI and the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. The search warrant is sealed, Rexburg Assistant Police Chief Gary Hagan said in a statement that he couldn't reveal details other than to say the search was linked to the disappearance of the children.

Lori Daybell is currently awaiting trial on charges of child abandonment and obstructing the investigation, and the Idaho attorney general's office announced earlier this year that it was investigating Chad Daybell in the death of his then-wife, Tammy Daybell.

In a statement released to East Idaho News, Kay and Larry Woodcock, the grandparents of Joshua "JJ" Vallow, said they were in touch throughout the day with law enforcement.

"We were notified that law enforcement had discovered human remains on the property," the statement said. "This is obviously a very difficult time for our family, and we ask that you respect our privacy as we wait further news with heavy hearts."

The complicated case began last summer, when Lori Daybell's former husband Charles Vallow was shot to death by her brother, Alex Cox, at Vallow's Phoenix, Arizona, home. At the time, Cox said the shooting was in self defense. Charles and Lori Vallow had been estranged, and in divorce documents Charles Vallow claimed Lori believed she had become a god-like figure who was responsible for ushering in the biblical end times. Cox died in December of an apparent blood clot in his lung.

Cult expert weighs in on Idaho missing children's case 01:51

Shortly after Charles Vallow's death, Lori and her children moved to eastern Idaho. Tylee Ryan was last seen in September headed into Yellowstone National Park with her mom and other family members for a day trip, and JJ was last seen by school officials several days later.

Police began investigating the children's whereabouts after extended family members raised concerns. Investigators have said both Chad and Lori Daybell lied to investigators, claiming the children were staying with friends.

Tammy Daybell, died in her sleep last October of what her obituary said were natural causes. Fremont County authorities grew suspicious when Chad married Lori Daybell just two weeks later, and they had Tammy Daybell's body exhumed in December. The results of that autopsy have not been released.

Lori Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and Chad Daybell has not been charged in connection with the case. Law enforcement officers first searched Chad Daybell's home on January 3, removing more than 40 items including several pieces of computer equipment.

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