IDAHO FALLS — “Where are the kids?”
The message is appearing on T-shirts, signs and even cupcakes. All of it is about Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan – two Rexburg kids who have been missing since September. Their mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, remains in the Madison County Jail on two counts of felony child desertion and nonsupport of children, along with some misdemeanors.
Swanson’s All American Sports, an Idaho Falls-based apparel company, announced Monday it will be selling hoodies, sweatshirts and T-shirts with “Where are the kids?” printed on the front. Five dollars from every shirt sold will be donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“We have received calls about making the shirts over the last couple of weeks,” owner Doug Swanson tells EastIdahoNews.com. “We are lucky enough to work with the kids in our community every day and like everyone out there, we just want to help find Tylee and JJ.”
Hoodies and sweatshirts are $20, and T-shirts sell for $13. As of Tuesday morning, 10 shirts had been sold and Swanson is expecting many more to be purchased over the upcoming weeks.
Janeese Summers had a shirt designed with the phrase ‘Where are the children?’ that she wore to Lori Vallow Daybell’s initial court appearance Friday. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
One eastern Idaho woman designed her own shirt with the phrase and showed up at the Madison County Courthouse six hours before Daybell’s 2 p.m. initial appearance Friday. Janeese Summers was first in line and had a seat in the front of the courtroom for the hearing.
“This story has really caught the attention of people worldwide. Besides all the crazy twists and turns, I think the main thing that has drawn so many people’s attention is that there are two children who are missing, and the mom won’t talk,” Summers tells EastIdahoNews.com. “I wanted to have a seat in the courtroom because I have been following this case from day one, and not just because it is local. I’m a crime junkie and sleuth at heart.”
People with signs outside the Madison County Courthouse on Friday, March 6. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
As Summers sat inside, several people were outside the courthouse with signs bearing the question. One person even asked a Rexburg grocery store to decorate cupcakes with the ‘Where are the children?’ phrase complete with orange and white icing – the same colors as Daybell’s jail outfit. A photo of the cupcake has been shared thousands of times on social media.
JJ and Tylee’s whereabouts are at the center of an investigation spanning several states. Tylee was last seen at Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 8, with JJ, Daybell and Alex Cox, her uncle. Last week, the FBI asked visitors who were at the park that day to search through their video and photos for possible images showing the family members or Cox’s truck. JJ was last seen in Rexburg on Sept. 23 at Kennedy Elementary School. Daybell withdrew him the next day and said he would be homeschooled.
Law enforcement officers from Idaho, Utah, Arizona and the FBI are meeting this week to discuss what’s next in the case, three agencies confirmed to EastIdahoNews.com. It’s likely public statements will not be made after the meeting, but Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood is preparing for a two-day preliminary hearing where witnesses and evidence will be presented on the charges facing Daybell.
The goal for everyone involved is to find JJ and Tylee – and whether it’s through cupcakes, signs or shirts, many in eastern Idaho want to do their part.
“We are lucky enough to live in a community that comes together when we need it the most,” Swanson says. “I hope to see these shirts every place we go.”