Joshua "JJ" Vallow’s grandparents and classmates commemorated his 8th birthday Monday, more than seven months after he was last seen. A group of families held a candlelight vigil outside of Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg, Idaho where JJ last attended school on Sept. 23, EastIdahoNews.com reported.
On Sept. 24, his mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, pulled him out of school and told administrators she would be homeschooling him. JJ, who has autism, was never seen again. He is missing along with his 17-year-old sister, Tylee Ryan, who was last seen weeks earlier at Yellowstone National Park, where she had traveled with JJ, Lori and the children's uncle, Alex Cox.
More than seven months later, the FBI's multi-state investigation into their whereabouts continues. Police have repeatedly said Lori knows where the children are or what happened to them but has refused to tell authorities. She is currently being held on $1 million bond at the jail in Rexburg, and faces two counts of felony desertion of a child, misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt, according to the Madison County, Idaho, prosecutor's office. Lori has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
It was JJ's grandmother, Kay Vallow Woodcock, who requested the Nov. 26 welfare check that launched the investigation into the children's disappearance. She and her husband, Larry, are currently asking the court for custody of JJ as he remains missing.
Kay released her own birthday message for her grandson on behalf of his extended family. JJ lived with Kay and his grandfather, Larry, before being adopted by Lori and her fourth husband, Charles Vallow.
"JJ, we look forward to kissing your sweet, beautiful face and hugging you tightly," Kay said in her video. "Let’s continue prayer for JJ’s safe return home."
The Rexburg Police Department also released a statement on JJ's birthday, writing in part, "we continue to hope and pray for the safe return of both of these beautiful children each and every day. We urge the public to continue to be vigilant for JJ and Tylee and if you have any tips or information regarding their whereabouts, please contact the Rexburg Police Department at 208-359-3008."
Lori is due to appear in court on July 9 and 10 for a preliminary hearing. Her attorney, Mark Means, did not respond to InsideEdition.com's requests for comment.
JJ has brown hair and brown eyes, is 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. He has autism and may be in need of medical attention, according to authorities. Tylee has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.
Anyone with information regarding JJ and Tylee's whereabouts or welfare is urged to contact the Rexburg Police Department or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST.