BOISE, Idaho — The aunt of a teenager whose body was found dismembered and burned in Idaho's Fremont County this summer posted a touching tribute to the girl to mark her birthday.
Annie Cushing wrote in the post that Tylee Ryan would have turned 18 on Thursday. Tylee and her younger brother, 7-year-old JJ Vallow, disappeared in 2019. The remains of both children were discovered on the property of their mother's new husband in June.
"My niece, #TyleeRyan, should have turned 18 today," Cushing wrote under a photo of a smiling Tylee. "Instead, she was murdered mere days before her 17th birthday by psychopaths."
Cushing wrote that she had planned to treat her niece to a trip to New York to celebrate her milestone birthday and her foray into adulthood. She never got that chance.
"It still feels surreal that it won’t ever happen for the most unimaginable reason," Tylee's aunt wrote. "RIP, sweet girl. Give your dad a hug from me."
The children's mother Lori Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell have not been charged directly with killing JJ and Tylee. Instead, the couple is charged with felony counts of concealing evidence and conspiring to conceal evidence in the case. Officials have not released how either Tylee or JJ died.
Cushing told KTVB that her last visit with Lori Vallow and her children came about a year before their disappearance.
She described tension between Tylee and her mother, and reported being disturbed by Lori Vallow's fixation on the idea of a coming apocalypse.
“The last time she brought it up she was much more focused on how scary it was going to be and made mention of because of how scary it will be, that it would be better to just put her kids in a car and go off a side of a cliff,” Cushing told KTVB in February.
According to investigators and friends of the couple, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell believed the world was going to end on July 22, 2020 and that the two of them were destined to lead the remaining survivors on Earth. Lori Vallow had also told people she believed her children had become "zombies," or possessed by evil spirits, according to court documents.
Investigations are also underway into the deaths of both suspects' former spouses.
Trials in the case are set to begin in 2021.
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