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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It sound positive that they had submitted a case to the prosecutor but then I looked back and they did so some time ago, not sure when but I commented then that the prosecutor had not charged it so likely felt it was not strong enough and now it is mentioned again but still has not been charged. Maybe it will be and maybe they just are not in a rush and maybe have even found more evidence but I wouldn't count on it sadly. I pray they do.

Maybe they will talk in prison...

As to motive, my guess would be the usual one sadly but impossible to say. He could have seen something but he is five, would he even know what he was seeing and like what and in that short window? Or was there some hint he may have, I don't recall?
 
It sound positive that they had submitted a case to the prosecutor but then I looked back and they did so some time ago, not sure when but I commented then that the prosecutor had not charged it so likely felt it was not strong enough and now it is mentioned again but still has not been charged. Maybe it will be and maybe they just are not in a rush and maybe have even found more evidence but I wouldn't count on it sadly. I pray they do.

Maybe they will talk in prison...

As to motive, my guess would be the usual one sadly but impossible to say. He could have seen something but he is five, would he even know what he was seeing and like what and in that short window? Or was there some hint he may have, I don't recall?
I’m hoping they talk, too. It’s time to let Michael’s family know what they did to him and where he is.
 
I really hope they do. But I bet they will have to be offered a deal first. These worthless, Evil scumbags know what crap they can pull. You very rarely hear "Because I want to clear my conscience".
 
Sorry if I've missed it, but have authorities said they've determined that that white vehicle is unrelated?
Not officially. Last update released was in November 2022. They said that the Honda Pilot had "no connection to the house" that they were searching.
Personally, I don't believe that means it's been excluded. Just that it wasn't registered to the Wondras. Obviously I could be incorrect. I'm just curious of any connection it may have to the people who were staying with them at the time (Adrien Lucienne & Brandon Shurtliff).

March 2022
A white Honda Pilot mentioned by police in an earlier update has not been identified, but police say they feel strongly that we know who it belongs to, and continue to seek confirmation on the vehicle.

May 2022
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.

July 2022
Michael was 5-years-old when he went missing on July 27, 2021. Fruitland police say Michael disappeared sometime between 6:40 p.m. and 7 p.m. that day. The driver of a white Honda Pilot seen leaving the area is believed to be a resident, but that information has yet to be confirmed.

Nov 2022
In the months since Vaughan disappeared, Fruitland Police and other investigators have been looking for information about a Honda Pilot seen in the boy's neighborhood the evening he was reported missing. Huff said Tuesday that there is no connection between that van and the house where the excavation is taking place.
 
Not officially. Last update released was in November 2022. They said that the Honda Pilot had "no connection to the house" that they were searching.
Personally, I don't believe that means it's been excluded. Just that it wasn't registered to the Wondras. Obviously I could be incorrect. I'm just curious of any connection it may have to the people who were staying with them at the time (Adrien Lucienne & Brandon Shurtliff).

March 2022


May 2022


July 2022


Nov 2022
What an informative reply! Thank you!

In another case, a vehicle's owner was identified by using a "special" databank and while I don't know what that is- nor had I ever heard of such- I wonder whether these authorities have used that same databank.
 

Stacey Wondra, who police believe was involved in disappearance of Michael Vaughan, released from federal custody​

One of the people police believe was involved in the disappearance of Michael Vaughan was released from federal custody on Thursday, Nov. 9.

In early November 2023, Stacey Wondra was sentenced to 21 months after pleading guilty to the unlawful possession of a firearm. The charge was unrelated to the disappearance of Michael Vaughan; Police had previously thought Wondra might have been involved.

As KTVB previously reported, Wondra had already served 17 months, time he was given credit for at the sentencing earlier this month, and was expected to serve another four months in the Ada County Jail under the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. However, KTVB learned the Bureau of Prisons directed the Marshals Service to release him because he had completed his sentence.

According to the Marshals Service, Wondra served 21 months, constituting credit for time served prior to trial, and two years of good time credit.

This week marks one year since Fruitland police dug in the Wondras' backyard searching for little Michael Vaughan's remains. Michael went missing from his Fruitland neighborhood, near the Wondra's home, in July of 2021. Fruitland police submitted a case to the Payette County Prosecutor this summer that they say involves Stacey and his wife Sarah, as well as two other people.
 
What an informative reply! Thank you!

In another case, a vehicle's owner was identified by using a "special" databank and while I don't know what that is- nor had I ever heard of such- I wonder whether these authorities have used that same databank.
In LISK. That vehicle was perhaps a bit more unusual but then Fruitland ID is under 7K people so yes they should look into that.
 

Stacey Wondra, who police believe was involved in disappearance of Michael Vaughan, released from federal custody​

One of the people police believe was involved in the disappearance of Michael Vaughan was released from federal custody on Thursday, Nov. 9.

In early November 2023, Stacey Wondra was sentenced to 21 months after pleading guilty to the unlawful possession of a firearm. The charge was unrelated to the disappearance of Michael Vaughan; Police had previously thought Wondra might have been involved.

As KTVB previously reported, Wondra had already served 17 months, time he was given credit for at the sentencing earlier this month, and was expected to serve another four months in the Ada County Jail under the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. However, KTVB learned the Bureau of Prisons directed the Marshals Service to release him because he had completed his sentence.

According to the Marshals Service, Wondra served 21 months, constituting credit for time served prior to trial, and two years of good time credit.

This week marks one year since Fruitland police dug in the Wondras' backyard searching for little Michael Vaughan's remains. Michael went missing from his Fruitland neighborhood, near the Wondra's home, in July of 2021. Fruitland police submitted a case to the Payette County Prosecutor this summer that they say involves Stacey and his wife Sarah, as well as two other people.
Well we keep hearing a case was submitted to the D.A. but the D.A. is not charging...

Good time credit, so well behaved...

The easy answer is the prosecutor doesn't feel it is enough of a strong case but LE keeps saying they brought them one that I'd say they feel is as strong as they can make it and what the prosecutor asked for and yet it is not being charged... IS that easy answer the reason though? And of course we can't know... Of course like all cases I am sure they'd prefer a body. But also sadly in many, politics are what is going on so who knows... And it trumps justice these days. No idea in this one but it keeps being repeated there is a case, charges are expected and it is on the prosecutor's desk... One side says that, nothing from the other.... Meaning LE to prosecutor sides...
 
Well we keep hearing a case was submitted to the D.A. but the D.A. is not charging...

Good time credit, so well behaved...

The easy answer is the prosecutor doesn't feel it is enough of a strong case but LE keeps saying they brought them one that I'd say they feel is as strong as they can make it and what the prosecutor asked for and yet it is not being charged... IS that easy answer the reason though? And of course we can't know... Of course like all cases I am sure they'd prefer a body. But also sadly in many, politics are what is going on so who knows... And it trumps justice these days. No idea in this one but it keeps being repeated there is a case, charges are expected and it is on the prosecutor's desk... One side says that, nothing from the other.... Meaning LE to prosecutor sides...
I was angry he is free. He is obviously a dangerous person. Yeah. That good behavior. It shows THEY CAN control their actions. And of course they check themselves. THEY WANT OUT!!! DUH!!!
 
I was angry he is free. He is obviously a dangerous person. Yeah. That good behavior. It shows THEY CAN control their actions. And of course they check themselves. THEY WANT OUT!!! DUH!!!
Great point! Can control actions when only course of action that will get them out/what they want...
 
Are we absolutely positive the Wondras were involved? Did their friends confirm she was just jabbering?
From Post #389 and there is more in it as well that states LE belief in involvement than what I clipped:

This week marks one year since Fruitland police dug in the Wondras' backyard searching for little Michael Vaughan's remains. Michael went missing from his Fruitland neighborhood, near the Wondra's home, in July of 2021. Fruitland police submitted a case to the Payette County Prosecutor this summer that they say involves Stacey and his wife Sarah, as well as two other people.

Of course we don't know all but I trust LE thinks them involved due to more than just hearsay to submit a case they feel is strong enough.
 
Are we absolutely positive the Wondras were involved? Did their friends confirm she was just jabbering?
Positive? No. But is there a high probability? I think so... They're not going to submit the case to the prosecutor without being convinced that they have evidence against them. They're not going to spend days digging in a backyard because of jabbering. They've confirmed that signs of decomposition were found / a body was there but moved.

The friends are, of course, going to deny everything. They were THERE. They're not going to be like, "Oh yeah...totally saw them burying a child's body and just didn't say anything." "Oh yeah, I thought that fresh pile of dirt was strange but they said they were just doing some yardwork."

However, FPD Chief JD Huff said they believe Vaughan's body was buried in the Wondra's backyard and then moved to another location sometime later. All human remain K-9 dogs used in the search "alerted" in the yard, Huff said during the press conference. Ground penetrating radar also detected "anomalies" in the yard. The FPD Chief later specified they found additional evidence in the home that is being processed, but could not speak to what it was.
 

What’s the latest on Michael ‘Monkey’ Vaughan?​

A Christmas tree donated to his family two years ago still stands in the living room of the home of Michael ‘Monkey’ Vaughan. The boy has been missing since July 27, 2021.

“We have not taken down the tree so graciously donated by Fruitland High School,” said his mother Brandi Neal in a phone interview on Thursday afternoon. “It’s been up in the living room for two years now. I don’t have the heart to take it down.”

She said the tree has little fuzzy bears, flowers and different stuffed ornaments, as well as some that have been added over time.

“We had a few people from social media and around the Treasure Valley that have sent us ornaments that we’ve added,” Neal said, noting that some have all the family member’s names on them.

Also still in the living room is one of his smaller favorite toys: a Spider-Man action figure. Michael was fond of that superhero, as well as Batman.

The family continues to hold out hope that Michael will come home and that somebody who knows something will finally come forward and tell police what they know.

“I pray for that every day,” Neal said.


Meanwhile, Michael’s mother and father, Tyler Vaughan, are “doing as best to be expected.”

“He’s my strength on days I don’t want to get out of bed and vice-versa,” Neal said. “We just kinda keep each other going. All of the kids need us.”

She said a resource that has been “extremely helpful over the past few years” is a peer support program through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The program helps families of missing loved ones by pairing them up with someone who has gone through the same or similar situations. Neal said that resource has been “extremely helpful over the past few years.”

Michael’s parents were paired up with a lady who had gone through a similar situation, which “helps us on those really hard days.” They set up times to talk with their peer, who also is just a phone call away. When they first were connected with the lady, they spoke with her about three times a week. That has tapered to about once a week, Neal said, “and if anything dramatic or drastic comes up, she is just a phone call away.”


Until Michael comes home, Neal finds herself “looking at every little blonde-hair blue-eye kid” she sees, and sometimes this leads her to tears.

“Michael would be 7 by now. I don’t know how much he’s grown, how long his hair is, has he lost any teeth yet,” she said. “It’s sometimes really heartbreaking when I see families happy, little boys, little kids.”

She said his family misses him and needs suspects to talk to and cooperate with law enforcement.

“It’s been too long — 856 days — and we still don’t know where he is,” Neal said. “And it’s gut-wrenching. Every day feels like it’s harder and harder.”

She said she couldn’t believe Friday was the one-year mark of police publicly naming four suspects in Michael’s case.

“It feels like it’s been an eternity,” Neal said.


Although Fruitland Police Department submitted Michael’s case and probable cause affidavit to Payette County Prosecutor Mike Duke months ago, the investigation is not over.

“Our investigation is continuing,” Huff said, adding that now that it is in Duke’s hands, “I’m optimistic that this thing is going to move forward.”

The chief said Michael’s case remains part of the daily operations for Fruitland Police detectives, who are “busy every day still following up on leads, still interviewing people — none of that has stopped.”

With the investigation ongoing, Huff still urges “anybody with information to come forward in regards to the abduction of Michael Vaughan.” Additionally, the reward fund, which is more than $50,000, still stands for “anyone with information leading us to the recovery of Michael.”

Since Michael’s case has been handed to the prosecutor, Duke has been mostly silent about it. In a phone call near the end of September, he said he expected to charge the case, but noted it had a lot of complexities he was being careful with.

After the newspaper learned a grand jury hearing happened in August, it has sought to find out whether they are deliberating related to Michael’s case. However, Duke has not returned numerous phone calls.

On Thursday, the Argus Observer caught up with Payette County Commissioner Anne-Marie Kelso, who once served as a prosecutor for the county. Although it has been numerous years since she served in that role, she was able to provide some insight as to timing with grand juries.

“Grand juries can hold onto cases for a long time — especially if they request more information or subpoena witnesses or request the state to subpoena witnesses,” she said.



“From our standpoint, we’re just going to stay at it, keep the accelerator down,” Huff said. “Our hopes are to recover Michael and bring him home to his family. I don’t like thinking in the negative. I guess that’s how we remain optimistic.”

Furthermore, Huff commented “we still are receiving tremendous support from our community. We appreciate and need it.”

Neal echoed those sentiments when asked what the community can do for the family.

“Keep sharing Michael’s picture, especially on social media — try to every day,” she said. “Michael is still missing, we still don’t have all the answers.”

Neal thanked the community and law enforcement for their support and said it is important for the community to keep supporting each other as well as law enforcement.

“I believe everyone is still as dedicated as day one to finding Michael, and that’s really important.”
 
Positive? No. But is there a high probability? I think so... They're not going to submit the case to the prosecutor without being convinced that they have evidence against them. They're not going to spend days digging in a backyard because of jabbering. They've confirmed that signs of decomposition were found / a body was there but moved.

The friends are, of course, going to deny everything. They were THERE. They're not going to be like, "Oh yeah...totally saw them burying a child's body and just didn't say anything." "Oh yeah, I thought that fresh pile of dirt was strange but they said they were just doing some yardwork."

However, FPD Chief JD Huff said they believe Vaughan's body was buried in the Wondra's backyard and then moved to another location sometime later. All human remain K-9 dogs used in the search "alerted" in the yard, Huff said during the press conference. Ground penetrating radar also detected "anomalies" in the yard. The FPD Chief later specified they found additional evidence in the home that is being processed, but could not speak to what it was.
ALL dogs alerted. Significant. And good points. They are not going to get a warrant nor go in so hard digging on just hearsay.

Also yes the friends are not going to place selves to seeing a child murdered or buried.

LE is at a disadvantage quite often. I know there are two sides to that but I think their side of that needs to be pointed out TOO once in awhile. Plenty to point somewhere but their hands are often tied. This body was likely moved and the perps knew they were being looked at, people questioned, etc. or whatever about them and activities. Warrants are required. As they SHOULD be, don't get me wrong. But LE also needs to be able to investigate without perps being alerted or likely perps. It is far from a perfect system and I don't know what the answer is but I believe he was moved and they knew they had better be moving him and knew they were being looked at or people they knew talked to.

I know there are dirty cops and on occasion wrongful arrests or convictions but I've also seen the other side of that where there are very good ones but their hands are tied. They want to fight crime and change things and make things better but they can't even investigate, they basically have to announce all, what they are doing, it is known who they are looking at and more. I don't mean announcing to the public, I mean where they can rarely go in without the suspected perps having wind of what is coming or even having to be TOLD.

I am the last person who knows what the answer is but I do know there is no simple one. Imo when a child is missing, time is urgent and there should be no holds barred and it shouldn't be red tape and b.s. and time elapsing. Imo. BUT people do have rights too. Maybe you don't agree to have your home searched because you have some serious illegal activities going on and evidence of such is there. BUT on the other hand...

I have to stop. Only making my head and mouth hurt worse.

This case is heartbreaking and justice needs to come. They all are of course.

It's hard to beat evil when you have to play by the rules and they don't. I'm not saying there should not be rules, i am just saying evil ones know this. Evil looks for the vulnerable and the good giving people and take advantage, etc. and evil laughs at and loves the rules others follow and play by.

Yeah I'm having a post and going on. Don't get to much any more or think even on it all.
 

'I'm here to clear my name': One of the suspects in Michael Vaughan's disappearance says he wasn't involved​

One of the people Fruitland police is now calling a suspect in the abduction of Michael "Monkey" Vaughan spoke to 7 Investigates for the first time.

Fruitland Police Chief JD Huff confirmed Stacey Wondra is a suspect in the little boy's disappearance. His wife Sarah was previously charged with failure to report Michael's death, but that charge was dropped several months later. However, she remains a suspect.

Along with the Wondras, police labeled two men who lived with them, Adrien Lucienne and Brandon Shurtliff, suspects who absolutely know what happened to Michael.

Fruitland police sent probable cause to the Payette County Prosecutor last summer to be presented to a grand jury. Chief Huff said a grand jury hasn't convened yet but they will soon.


Although that case centers around the Wondra's and their roommates, Stacey Wondra told 7 Investigates' Morgan Romero he knows nothing about Michael's abduction.

"I'm here to clear my name," Wondra said, "I can't give you an accurate answer whether I think [Brandon, Sarah and Adrien] had something to do with it or not. It's legitimately like I don't know if they did. It's a hypothetical guess. I mean, anything is possible."

It has been two months since he was released from federal custody, convicted of a gun crime unrelated to the disappearance of little Michael.

"I have no reason to hide anything from anyone. I'm not the type of person. Like I announced on my YouTube videos, I'm an open book, you can ask me anything. And I will tell you an honest answer to it," Wondra said.

When asked outright if he was involved in the disappearance of Michael Vaughan, Wondra immediately answered "no." He claims he has "no idea" why police believe he was involved.

Wondra believes law enforcement's case may hinge on Adrien, who was living with he and Sarah at the time Michael disappeared. When he was asked if there were clues or evidence that could point to that, he said there was none.

"I would never have thought Sarah, Brandon or Adrien would - again, maybe Adrien - but I wouldn't have thought Sarah or Brandon would have ever done something like this," Wondra said. "I was not even home on the night of the disappearance or during the day. I know that that night, nighttime, Sarah, Brandon and I had left to Kuna to go recover [Brandon's] - tow [Brandon's] vehicle."

Wondra elaborated about the day:

"Yeah. So, I did a taxi ride from Ontario to Boise. I know that I was gone a good portion of the day from, like, 1 in the afternoon till about 4. Had spent some time with a former coworker or boss that I used to work for. I think it's about maybe an hour, hour and a half. And then had come back home. And the neighborhood was completely solitude. It was quiet, there was peace. And there was no activity at all," he said.

Wondra claims he, Brandon and Sarah left their house and headed to Kuna to tow Brandon's car between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on July 27, 2021. Brandon blew a spark plug and couldn't drive the car, he said.

Fruitland police believe "Monkey" went missing between 6:40 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Police said in a December 2022 news conference they had searched a home in Kuna without a warrant, but did not elaborate. Law enforcement does not need a warrant if the homeowner lets them inside willingly.

In early 2023, Brandon Shurtliff's mother confirmed to 7 Investigates that police came to search her Kuna home more than once.

"They came back with 17 cars, dogs and shovels, and dug where the dog alluded to the following day. They found nothing but my leaking toilet," Shurtliff's mother Tina Morreale wrote via Facebook Messenger in early 2023. "We have cooperated fully since this all began."

At that time, Huff said he could not elaborate on Morreale's comments due to the nature of the investigation.

Wondra said when they got back, sometime between 9 and 10 p.m. that night, they noticed an excessive amount of people walking around the neighborhood down 8th Street.

"We had stopped and asked what was going on and they said that a boy had been abducted or been taken and it was news to me and it was news to Sarah, from what it seemed like, and Brandon.," Wondra said. "We then carried on and went home and at the time we got home Brandon and Sarah decided they were gonna go look for the boy and I was in the process of getting the vehicle detached from the truck because it was taking up the whole length of the street pretty much."

Wondra later clarified to 7 Investigates that he was not initially told Michael was abducted, just that he was missing.

"Adrien and Brandon and Sarah all took a trip to Boise in the morning before I did my taxi ride. And it was Adrien wanted to go see his kid and his baby mama or whatever was gonna bring his kid to him to see him and meet them wherever they were, like Applebee's or somewhere," Wondra said.

He claims Adrien stayed in either Boise or Nampa all night.

When asked if he knew that for a fact or if that was just what they told him, Wondra said that is what he is going on based off what they said.

"I was told the same thing that's all over, you know, by them. So I mean, that's all I have to go by. I wasn't with them," he said.

Wondra was also asked about the cadaver dogs and what police told him about the dogs hitting on the property. He said they really didn't give him an explanation.

"They just said that the dogs had hit around the property.," he said. "But I mean, there was nothing. I don't even know how that's even feasible because like I said, I've never even heard of this kid. I've never seen this kid, never knew anything about him."

Police said that they believe Michael's body was buried in the Wondra's backyard and then moved. Wondra said he could not think of anytime the body could have been buried or moved.

"They were saying that he was buried by the shed. Makes no absolutely no sense.," Wondra said. "There's no there's been no dig marks. There's no trench marks.
There's nothing. The ground was completely a complete grassed area. I don't even see how it seems feasible."

When asked if it could have happened when he was not around and then be covered up, he said it was possible.

"I just know that I wasn't around for any of it. You know, I have no idea. I would like to know what happened to him," he said.


He added that he does not know what is in the probable cause affidavit police sent to prosecutors, the one police said centers around him, Sarah, Adrien and Brandon. Additionally, that he doesn't think the police have anything on him, but did not know if there was any evidence against his wife.

"I personally know for a fact they don't have anything against me or on me. I have not, I have no knowledge. I, again, I wasn't at home. I have no knowledge of this, who this little boy is, his whereabouts or anything about him," he said.

Police said they recovered several pieces of evidence at the Wondra home and property. He said he did not know what those things could be.

"Not at all," Wondra said. "It's news to me."

In his interview with the YouTuber, Wondra said his attorney told him he's no longer a person of interest in Michael's abduction. Chief huff says that's not true.

When 7 Investigates called his attorney to get a straight answer, the attorney said "he has no comment at this time" and hung up the phone.

7 Investigates also reached out to Michael's mom Brandi Neal to inform her about this interview; Neal was appreciative and said the most important thing in the world is to get Michael home.
 

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