Why the Missing Idaho Kids Case Might Bring Detectives to Yellowstone National Park

Tylee Ryan, 17, visited the park with her 7-year-old brother JJ Vallow and their mother Lori Daybell on Sept. 8, according to court papers.

Officials investigating the disappearance of Idaho siblings Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow are focusing their search efforts on Yellowstone National Park, where authorities say two photos were taken of the 17-year-old girl that may offer clues into her vanishing.

Tylee visited the park with her 7-year-old brother JJ and their mother Lori Daybell on Sept. 8, according to court papers. No witnesses have come forward who can verify they have seen Tylee since then, officials said. 

Now police are reportedly waiting for the snow in Yellowstone to melt as they consider mounting a search for a body, which experts say could be a daunting task, given the park's size. 

"It could be like trying to find a needle in a haystack," said East Idaho News reporter Nate Eaton. "At this point that can't do any digging or any intense searching because there is so much snow and the ground is frozen."

Adding to the Yellowstone mystery, Daybell's brother Alex Cox was also on the family day trip in September. Cox was found dead under questionable circumstances, six months after he shot Lori's then-husband, supposedly in self-defense.

Ring Doorbell camera footage showing JJ in Idaho on Sept. 17 is believed to be the last known video of him. He and his sister have been missing for more than five months.

Lori and her husband, Chad Daybell, never reported the children missing and left Idaho after police conducted a welfare check in November. They were found in Hawaii in January.

Lori was then charged with two counts of felony desertion of a child, as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime, and contempt, according to the Madison County, Idaho, prosecutor's office. She is being held in Hawaii pending extradition back to Idaho.

Her attorney insists she is a "devoted mother" and has done nothing wrong. Chad has not been arrested or charged with any crime and has also denied wrongdoing.