(CBS) — Police confirmed Saturday the remains found on Chad Daybell’s property are those of Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, the two missing Idaho children who were last seen in September. Family members had said the remains found earlier this week belong to the children, and officials said Saturday autopsies had confirmed their identities.
Police in Rexburg, Idaho, said the investigation remains open and active.
Daybell was the new husband of the children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, who has been in jail since February on felony child abandonment charges. He was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of concealing or destroying evidence, according to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office. He is being held on $1 million bail.
JJ was 7 and Tylee was 17 when they went missing. Police said Chad and Lori Daybell lied about their children’s whereabouts before quietly leaving Idaho. The couple later turned up in Hawaii, where Lori was arrested.
The children’s grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock and Colby and Kelsee Ryan, released a statement Wednesday saying they were filled with “unfathomable sadness” and they hoped the children “died without suffering.”
In addition to the missing children, Chad and Lori Daybell have been under scrutiny following the deaths of both of their former spouses. Additionally, Chad Daybell is a novelist and podcaster who told stories about doomsday and people preparing for the end of the world.
Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed her estranged husband, Charles Vallow, in what Cox claimed was self-defense. According to The Associated Press, Charles Vallow had filed for divorce and claimed that Lori believed she had become a god-like figure who was responsible for ushering in the biblical end time. Alex Cox died in December of an apparent blood clot in his lung.
After Charles Vallow’s death, Lori moved to Idaho, where Chad Daybell lived. They married in October, two weeks after Daybell’s wife died in her sleep of what an obituary said were natural causes. The wife’s body was exhumed in December but authorities have not yet released any information about her autopsy.
Authorities first searched Daybell’s property in January while investigating his wife’s death. Investigators said Chad and Lori Daybell claimed the children were staying with friends.
Tylee was last seen in September headed into Yellowstone National Park with her mother and other family members. JJ was last seen by school officials several days later.