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Grandparents of missing Rexburg boy have little to say after long custody hearing

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REXBURG — After almost two hours in a Madison County courtroom on Wednesday, the grandparents of a missing Rexburg boy had little to say.

Seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow disappeared in September, as well as his sister, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.

Kay and Larry Woodcock, JJ’s grandparents, walked into a Madison County courtroom around 4:45 p.m. expecting a short hearing. Kay Woodcock told earlier that the hearing, which was closed to the public, would allow them to ask for guardianship of JJ if he’s found rather than him to be placed into state custody.

Nearly two hours later, the couple walked out of the courthouse and gave a brief statement through their Pocatello attorney, Kyle May of May, Rammell & Wells, as no decisions were made.

“We had a status conference, really a scheduling conference, in front of the judge today on a guardianship case that has been filed,” May said. “A new hearing date is going to be set in the near future … all it was is just to talk about what the status of the case is, what’s happening and when we’re going to go and litigate this later on. ”

Also attending the hearing were Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood and two Rexburg Police Department detectives involved in the search for JJ and Tylee. May and the Woodcocks did not respond to questions about the detectives’ presence.

“That’s the only statement that we’re going to make today,” May said. “All other questions or comments we’ll have to answer at a later time.”

The kids’ whereabouts are unknown, and their mother refuses to answer questions from both law enforcement and the media. Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell, have been named persons of interest in the kids’ disappearance. The couple married on the beaches of Hawaii within weeks of the suspicious death of Tammy Daybell, Chad Daybell’s former wife.

With the hearing Wednesday the question still remains as to the status of a Child Protection Action signed by Idaho Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins. In the order, Lori Daybell had until Jan. 30 to produce Joshua and Tylee to the Rexburg Police Department or the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The order did specify Eddins could hold Lori Daybell in contempt of court and issue a warrant for an arrest. As the case involves a minor, details surrounding the court’s actions remain sealed.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the children since September is asked to contact the Rexburg Police Department, at (208) 359-3000, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), at (800) THE-LOST.

Also, Dateline NBC will be airing a two-hour special Friday investigating the case.

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Eric Grossarth


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