Misinformation

Tylee Ryan

BLACKFOOT– There have been some updates in the case of the missing children: JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. A recent report about a possible sighting was delivered to a newspaper and there have been some insights that the report may not have been credible. There are thousands of sightings spread out across social media and to focus only on one sighting, may prove to be more detrimental than helpful. 

The first corroborated evidence furnished is that Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell are island hopping; they flew to Maui and rented a car, and then randomly popped back up in Kauai two days later. There has been an influx of media to the island and many islanders were upset about the disruption. Posters had popped up around their hotel after the Dateline episode (this aired on February 14), which called out Vallow and Daybell "Where are the Children?" One can speculate they left the island to get away from the media storm. 

There was an article that came out this past weekend which detailed a possible sighting of Tylee Ryan at a Trace Adkins concert. There have been some reports on social media (about her behavior) which contradicts the story she shared. 

One of the major issues about the alleged sighting is the lack of evidentiary support. The Gaylord-Opryland Resort and Convention Center held the Trace Adkins Christmas concert on December 22; this is a fact. It is a dinner show which allows patrons to eat and enjoy the season while waiting for the show to begin. The entire event is about 120 minutes in total. According to people in the area, the Christmas season is extremely busy and they get a lot of tourism in the area. It is highly unlikely that someone who has perpetuated a kidnapping, or who is taking care of a reported missing child, would take that child to a concert where there is a high risk of being recognized. There is speculation that Lori Vallow has transferred Tylee into the care of someone who is in her "cult." 

When researching the proper procedures of reporting a sighting of a missing child there are some disconnects between what was put in by other sources, and how the FBI handles sightings in a case with high media interest. A common denominator in all resources and training, when it comes to missing person cases, is that sightings of missing individuals are often mistaken and when it comes to a case with high media interest, the issue frequently presents itself. The FBI, NCMEC, and local police departments must work together in high profile cases. The National Missing and Exploited Children cyber tip line receives over 18.4 million tips a year, which works out to be about 50,000 a day. Due to the sheer number of tips that come in about any case in general, there is a rigorous filter to weed out the fake from the real. The FBI goes through this type of rigor as well as the local police departments. According to Idaho Missing Person Clearinghouse it states, "(the Clearinghouse) utilizes various databases and the general public in developing information, which may assist in locating missing children and adults from Idaho, as well as missing persons from other states who may be in Idaho. This section also performs analytical functions regarding missing and unidentified deceased persons." Most sightings that are called in are put through a rigorous test looking at: plotting all the sightings to provide corroboration, evaluate sightings against known factors relating to the missing person, seek corroboration from other sources to validate the information, establish motive of the witness, quality of the witness (eyesight, recognize people in similar circumstances) and researching the witnesses' credibility. Because this case is so high profile and has a high media presence, there is a high probability of empathy sightings, usually by people who know the missing person or who wish to give hope to the family. 

The media and public are kept at arm's length and carefully managed, to help ensure that the noteworthy material is received, but they do not interfere with the ongoing investigation. The resultant article that was published within the last week called into question the validity of the person who had reported the sighting. Her behavior on the social media pages was erratic and many people were not giving her a platform to air her sighting. Her information was taken by the police department and the FBI, however (according to the article) "she says neither the police nor the national missing children's group called her back to get more details." The NCMEC takes any tip they are given and filters it to the law enforcement agency that will handle the tip best. Because this case covers numerous states, as well as ongoing cases with the numerous dead individuals, it was more than likely given to the Rexburg Police Department and the FBI who were assisting. However, if a tip is not credible (based on the factors and what is known about all the other reported sightings) there would not be a call back to the reporting party.

The lady who reported the sighting did have the forethought and training to give "Amy" a way to get out a note, however her behavior afterward is not helping the case. She had also tried to get the aunt of Tylee to help her report the information, and they spoke for a while. Tylee's aunt refused to help her because the information was not credible and the descriptions of Tylee were not accurate.

The behavior of reaching out to the media, less than a week after the Dateline episode, calls her motives into question. Especially since she reported to other sources a few days afterward, she now knows it was Tylee, when all reputable sources say it was not. 

There are three police departments coordinating with the FBI on this case. There is a massive amount of data they have to work through every day, A local lawyer stated to KIVI in Boise "I think there is a lot of terror on the part of the public that somebody could possibly be getting away with murder and not behind bars," Luke Malek says. "I would urge folks to be really patient with law enforcement because they have tactics for finding people in these situations and executing on those tactics, and if justice is called for in this instance I put faith in law enforcement that they will find justice." The public feels that there hasn't been any headway, but there are people who are constantly working on this case. Numerous police officers, FBI agents, as well as reporters in the area of Rexburg are on the hunt to get these children. They do not share everything they find with the public. Like Malek stated, have patience and let the officers do their job. 

The facts are, the children are still missing. Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell are refusing to cooperate with law enforcement. The police are working in avenues many people may not be aware. Just because there hasn't been a press release sent to the public, doesn't mean they aren't working hard on it. With a highly publicized case, the law enforcement entities pick and choose what to share with the public and what not to share. It is all about the investigation and whether pertinent information released to the public will impede the investigation or safety of said individuals. 

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