ID MICHAEL VAUGHAN: Missing from Fruitland, ID - 27 July 2021 - Age 5

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Search continues for missing and endangered 5-year-old in Fruitland, Idaho​

Michael Vaughn was last seen near SW 9th Street and S. Arizona Ave. in Fruitland on Tuesday evening. Crews and neighbors were out all day looking for the boy.

The search for a missing 5-year-old-year-old boy intensified Wednesday as it entered its second day.

Michael Vaughn was last seen near SW 9th Street and S. Arizona Avenue in Fruitland around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Fruitland Police Department said Michael is considered missing and endangered.

Michael is about three feet, seven-inches tall and weighs 50 pounds. He has blonde hair and blue eyes. He answers to the nickname "Monkey."

Michael was wearing a light blue shirt with a Minecraft picture on it, dark blue boxer briefs and sandals.

Idaho Mountain Rescue brought in highly-trained and rescue personnel to assist in the search.

Crews from multiple agencies searched the area near Michael's home by ground and air by drone and helicopter. They also went door to door, talking with neighbors.

Right next to the boy's home is a field where crews spent much of the day searching for him.

Neighbors say they learned about his disappearance about an hour after he was reported missing. They say Michael is a happy kid who lives with his parents and grandfather.

Cynthia Walker was walking her dog as the search was happening.

"At five years old, I don't know that he would wander too far without one us seeing him by now," she said. "There are volunteers, many, many volunteers out searching, scanning the fields and we just want to have Michael back, we just want him home safe."

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MEDIA - MICHAEL VAUGHN: Missing from Fruitland, ID since 27 July 2021 - Age 5


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Missing 5-year-old boy's parents host a booth at Treefort to spread awareness
Its been eight months since five-year-old Michael Joseph Vaughan went missing. Despite the endless searches., even a reward, there's still no answer as to where he may be.

"It's a very emotional situation. We live this every day," said Brandi Neal, Michael's mom.

This week, Michael's parents hosted a booth at the Treefort music festival, with photos and information on Michael, hoping to spread his story.

"Our goal here is to make more people aware of Michael still missing. Today is eight months, and we need everyone's help, " Brandi said.

The family also hosted a child identification booth in partnership with the Kyron Horman Foundation. People were able to bring their kids, get their photos taken, fingerprints, and additional information about the child in case they are ever lost.

Through all of this, all Michael's family wants is for him to come home.

"We're sad. We miss Michael. We want him home," Brandi said.

The $52,000 reward for Michael's safe return will expire Thursday, March 31.


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Fruitland police to reinstate reward for information on Michael Vaughan
The reward for information leading to the safe return of missing five-year-old Michael Vaughan is set to be renewed after it expires, Fruitland Police told CBS2.

"My intent is to reinstate the reward on April 1, 2022 non-expiring," said JD Huff, Chief of Police with the Fruitland Police Department.

The reward is currently set at $52,860. This reward is funded entirely through donations and is was set to be active until March 31. Police said the sunset dates on the fund were to incentivize people to come forward.

"If someone has or learns of information that can help find Michael, we want that information now," Fruitland Police said.

CBS2 spoke with Michael's mother Brandi Neal on Sunday. She tells us she is still holding on to hope that her little boy will come home. She tells us she's grateful to see her community has come together to bring her son home.

"We live this every day and for other people to be experiencing the hurt and that sadness that we are going through and seeing it, it's hard," she said.

"To have the positivity there and the support helps keep our hope going."

Michael's mother says she's staying strong for her son.

"We're sad, we miss Michael and we want him home, he needs us to be strong when he gets home."


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‘Bittersweet’: Governor Little signs law inspired by missing Fruitland boy​

In a prayer given before a small crowd at Fruitland City Park on Wednesday morning, a pastor acknowledged the day drew “mixed feelings.”

The group was there to watch Gov. Brad Little perform a ceremonial bill signing for a law to create an Endangered Missing Person Alert, the first of its kind in Idaho. On one hand, the law will give families a new tool to try to help find their loved ones. On the other hand, the inspiration for the legislation, 5-year-old Michael Vaughan, is still missing.

“It’s bittersweet,” Vaughan’s mother, Brandi Neal, said after the event. "It’ll help families.”

She noted that the day marked 274 days since her son, who’s nicknamed “Monkey” has been gone from the Fruitland family’s home.


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Michael Vaughan: Reward for Information About Missing Idaho Boy Tops $50,000​

A 5-year-old Idaho boy who vanished without a trace last July remains missing, as the Fruitland Police Department continues its “exhaustive, labor intensive” work to find him.

Michael Joseph Vaughan was last seen on July 27, 2021, on foot and near an open field near his home, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

A reward for information leading to the missing boy has reached $52,860, Fruitland Police said.

Investigators say that one vehicle seen in surveillance footage near where the boy disappeared has still not been identified — a white Honda Pilot — although they believe they getting close to identifying its owner.

Police added that since the investigation has become a criminal one, they’re limited in what information they can share. But they said they’d received nearly 850 tips, most of which have been cleared.

They added that they don’t plan any more ground searches in the area since previous searches have covered the region thoroughly.

Tips can be sent to or to Crime Stoppers, Tips may remain anonymous.


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Fruitland PD on missing boy Michael Vaughan: 'We haven't stopped, and we remain hopeful'
The search continues for Michael Vaughan who's been missing now for more than 10 months.

Fruitland Police told CBS2 on Tuesday that officers continue to follow leads.

"We haven't stopped (looking) and we remain hopeful," Police chief J.D. Huff said.


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Family hangs onto hope ahead of Monkey’s birthday​

With 11 months having passed since the disappearance of 5-year-old Michael “Monkey” Vaughan from his Fruitland home, the community continues to come together to show support for parents Brandi Neal and Tyler Vaughan. A birthday gathering is set for this Friday at Kiwanis Park in Payette, with a cake donated for the event by the staff of the Payette Albertsons.

In the meantime, Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff tells the newspaper that efforts to recover Michael continues and that they are not alone at this point in the search.
“The FBI and the Idaho State Police continue working closely with the Fruitland Police Department to find Michael,” wrote Huff in an email Monday.

Huff further stated his team’s support for Michael’s family ahead of celebrating his 6th birthday.

“As we approach Michael’s 6th birthday, I want Brandi, Tyler, Bob and the Vaughan family to know that we haven’t stopped and we’ll not stop trying to find Michael. We remain hopeful and the leads continue to come in. As I’ve said before, every lead will be investigated.”

In a June 17 email ahead of the Friday gathering, Michael’s father, Tyler Vaughan, made it known how painful Michael’s disappearance remains.

“We are thankful to the community and law enforcement for their ongoing efforts to locate Michael,” wrote Tyler Vaughan. “As the day of his birthday draws closer, our hearts continue to break more than we imagined possible. It is our hope every day that Monkey is returned to us. It is our hope that the person who has him returns him safely to us before his birthday. Thank you.”


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‘We love you Monkey’: Community honors missing Fruitland boy for his sixth birthday​

Blue balloons were sent off into the sky in Kiwianis Park in Payette Friday to celebrate and honor missing Fruitland boy Michael Vaughan's sixth birthday.

“I hope he sees them," said Brandi Neal, Michael’s mother. She added blue was his favorite color and she made sure to get biodegradable balloons because he "loved the environment."

"Today is about his beautiful face and his life that was brought here to us and everyone here six years ago," Neal said.

"He's beyond missed and beyond loved and we need him. We need him," said Tyler Vaughan, Michael's father.

"He's coming home and we're waiting for him- we're all waiting for him," Neal said. "Every single one of us are waiting for him and we're going to bring him home."

KTVB reached out to Fruitland Police in person and via email Friday about new details into Michael's case. They were not immediately available.

Fruitland Police Department told KTVB in March investigators had received nearly 850 leads on Michael's disappearance, but almost all of them have been cleared.

Huff said Fruitland Police continue to work with their partners from the FBI and Idaho State Police on the case. Huff called this a criminal investigation. Back in October 2021, law enforcement said it is highly likely Michael has been abducted.

The reward for Michael's safe return is more than $52,000.

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