BOISE, Idaho — Lori Vallow [Daybell], the mother of two Rexburg kids missing for several months, is scheduled to appear in court again on Friday afternoon.
Vallow's children, 7-year-old JJ and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, have not been seen since September.
In January, while in Hawaii with her new husband Chad Daybell, Vallow was served a court order to produce the children to authorities in Idaho. She never did. She was later arrested and charged with two felony counts of desertion of a minor, resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court.
The story behind Vallow and the disappearance of JJ and Tylee is a long and complex one. It spans several different states and includes multiple dead relatives, unique religious beliefs and many other strange events.
FULL COVERAGE: The disappearance of Idaho kids JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan
That story has gotten national attention and was even the focus of a Dateline NBC special in February.
“First you’re confused, then you’re alarmed, then you’re amazed, then you’re very curious," Dateline's Keith Morrison told KTVB. "I mean this is the strangest story that I’ve encountered maybe ever. I don’t know, it's bizarre."
Now, Morrison and the Dateline team have put together a part two segment on the story, which will air Friday night.
Morrison sits down with Vallow's oldest son, Colby Ryan, in his first network television interview.
Ryan describes growing up with his mom and how much she loved her kids.
“She made everything fun," he said. "I grew up kind of being like her little best friend.”
He says the woman the world sees now is not the mom he knows.
“How do you not produce the kids? That’s the whole reason you’re in jail right now?” Ryan said.
Ryan also reflects on when JJ first joined their family - and how he was instantly loved by everyone.
“I loved him so much, just from the beginning," Ryan told Morrison. "He’s just special. He just has such a great spirit and we all just fell in love with him so easily.”
The Dateline segment also features a first-ever interview with Vallow's niece, Melani Pawlowski, and her husband, Ian.
Pawlowski lived next door to Vallow in Rexburg. She tells Morrison she never saw the children there.
“When I moved up there, I did not see them," Pawlowski said. "From November, from when I first got up there, I didn’t see them.
"I’d ask Lori [where the kids were]," Pawlowski continued. "I wasn’t close with Tylee in her teenage years. She was very independent so if Lori said she was with friends, I just believed her.”
When asked his thoughts on the case, Morrison said even with all of the controversy and questions surrounding Vallow, the children are still "the heart of the story." He's surprised there haven't been answers about what happened to them.
“I would have thought there would be answers about JJ and Tylee by now, frankly,” he said.
“I know what some of the investigators think," Morrison added. "I know what some of the family is prepared to believe or not believe, everybody’s in abeyance."
He said for years, his job has taken him to many places he never expected to be, including Rexburg. But, he adds, it's a story worth telling.
"These are events that millions of people are interested in, are curious about, are following – seem to be emotionally connected to," Morrison said. "So they want to know, and we’ll tell them.”
NBC's Dateline segment airs at 8 p.m. Friday on Channel 7.
Meanwhile, Vallow will be back in Madison County court Friday at 2 p.m. Her attorneys will be making their third request to lower bond, now asking it be set at $10,000. Her bond was previously lowered from $5 million to $1 million.
After Vallow's court appearance in early March, Judge Faren Eddins disqualified himself at the request of the defense. A new judge has since been assigned to the case.
In early April, documents confirmed the Idaho Attorney General's Office is now taking over the suspicious death investigation of Daybell's late wife, Tammy.
Neither Vallow nor Daybell has been arrested or charged in connection to his late wife's death. An autopsy on her cause of death is still pending.
KTVB made an interactive timeline of the events surrounding the disappearance of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan: