As the FBI and Idaho police search for a couple believed to be part of a doomsday cult, an attorney issued a statement on their behalf calling them “loving” and “devoted,” according to a report.
The Idaho attorney says he was in contact with Chad Daybell, 51, and Lori Vallow, 46, but has no information on the whereabouts or welfare of Vallow’s two missing children—Joshua Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, the East Idaho News reported late Monday.
“Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter,” attorney Sean Bartholick of Rexburg, Idaho, said, according to the news outlet. “Lori Daybell is a devoted mother and resents assertions to the contrary. We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor.”
Reports have quoted members of Vallow’s extended family as saying that Vallow joined a “cult” with Daybell, a self-proclaimed Latter-day Saint author known for his religious books detailing the end of the world.
Many of his books deal with doomsday situations or near-death experiences, including his own, East Idaho News reported.
Daybell and Vallow were affiliated with Preparing with People, a group that says its mission is to “help prepare the people of this earth for the second coming of Jesus Christ,” the news outlet reported.
The pair's affiliation included participation in podcasts that have been removed from the group’s website, according to the news outlet.
“In light of current concerning media reports and ongoing criminal investigations regarding the recent death of Lori Vallow's previous husband in Arizona, and the sudden death of Chad Daybell's previous wife in Idaho, and with new reports of Lori's missing children and the death of Lori's brother-in-law, and the unknown whereabouts of Chad and Lori, we feel it inappropriate to promote any media content that may feature or contain references to either Chad Daybell or Lori Vallow,” a statement posted on the website says.
The group’s Michael James told the East Idaho News it was offensive to accuse Preparing with People of being a cult.
“I have no idea what Chad and Lori did in their spare time, but Preparing A People is not a cult,” James said. “It’s just (Latter Day Saints) people that go to conferences.”
Police are investigating the October death of Daybell’s 49-year-old wife Tammy Daybell as suspicious after classifying it as natural.
As they investigated her death, police in Rexburg discovered that Joshua, who is autistic, and Tylee had been missing since September.
They said Daybell and Vallow went on the run after refusing to cooperate in efforts to find the children.
They married a couple of weeks after Tammy Daybell died. Vallow's husband died in July in Chandler, Ariz., after Vallow's brother shot and killed him and then told police the shooting was self-defense. Alex Cox wasn't charged and died a couple of weeks ago, a death under investigation in Arizona, according to reports.