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
 
Last edited:

Mel70

Special specialist

Multiple agencies still actively searching local area for missing 5-year-old boy​

Fruitland Police Department continues to update to the community on its Facebook page regarding Michael “Monkey” Joseph Vaughan, 5, who was last seen 17 days ago.

In updates on Thursday and Wednesday, police state that tips continue to come in and the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Teams with canines have been back in the area searching locations on both sides of the Snake River. Further searches are planned along banks of canals and rivers, and other waterways, with plans to continue as resources are available, according to the update.

Additionally, the sheriff’s office has used its boat about five times in assisting with searching the river.

“This morning, we were out on the river, and went up to the Interstate 84 bridge on the Snake River and all the way down to Annex and back and didn’t see anything while out there,” he said.

Resources from Idaho State Police and the FBI are still assisting Fruitland Police Department with the case.

“The many miles of waterways present significant challenges for us and there is a lot of debris and vegetation overgrowth along the banks of the Snake River and it’s slews,” Fruitland PD’s Wednesday update reads. “It will be slow going along the river, but as you know, we’re leaving no stone unturned.”

Police ask residents to continue searching their properties, walking fence lines and checking any drainage that might run through.

There were “well over 250 tips” called in as of the most recent update on Thursday, and all are being reviewed by an investigator. People are encouraged to keep providing any tips that may be useful.

In Wednesday’s update, Fruitland Police stated they were continuing the “methodical task of combing through the residential and business security camera video files for new leads.”
The Snake river is alot to search.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

After two-and-a-half weeks, crews remain dedicated to finding missing Fruitland boy​

Fruitland police gave an update on the search in a Facebook post on Friday.

"As we head into the weekend, and as people gather to enjoy time together, please take a moment to be grateful for the family and friends around you," Fruitland PD wrote. "We have one family among us who is missing a very important member, and our search for 5-year-old Michael Joseph Vaughan remains ongoing."

The Payette County Sheriff Marine Patrol recently conducted a search of the Snake River downstream of the area where Michael was last seen. Search crews continue to utilize drones, but one of the drones was recently damaged by a concerned citizen.

Police want to remind Fruitland residents to call the Payette County Sheriff at (208) 642-6006 extension 0 if they have concerns about the drones.

Search operations are scheduled to continue into next week as resources are available.

Fruitland PD continues to express the importance of sending tips to the police. A new tipline email has been created for the search for Michael (findmichael@fruitland.org). Tips can also be submitted through Crime Stoppers of Southwest Idaho.

Michael's family remains fully cooperative with police and crews remain dedicated to bringing Michael home.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Police Still 'Committed to Finding Michael'; Search for Missing Southern Idaho 5-Year-Old Continues​

recent days the Payette County Sheriff Marine Patrol conducted a search of the Snake River downstream of the area where 5-year-old Michael Joseph Vaughan went missing. Drone operations continue as well.

"There may be someone who knows something who has been unsure, perhaps even afraid to reach out. We want to listen," says an online plea from the Fruitland Police.

Fruitland PD conduct search of Snake River for missing boy; police drone damaged
The Fruitland Police Department has a message for folks as the weekend is here.

Be thankful.

"...Please take a moment to be grateful for the family and friends around you," Fruitland Police wrote on social media. "We have one family among us who is missing a very important member, and our search for 5-year-old Michael Joseph Vaughan remains ongoing."

The small-town police department yet again updated the community on the search for the little boy, who's been missing for more than two weeks. Authorities conducted a search of the Snake River downstream of where he went missing and a drone was damaged recently by a concerned citizen. Fruitland PD asks folks in the future to give them a call if they have concerns of a drone flying in your area.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Investigators will circle back to areas near boy's home​

In an update to the community on Monday evening via its Facebook page, Fruitland Police Department said the search for a missing 5-year-old boy from Fruitland remains ongoing. As of Monday, it’s been 21 days since Michael “Monkey” Joseph Vaughan, 5, was last seen near his home.

As of Monday, neary 290 tips have been received, and the effort to follow-up on tips is exhaustive, with a number having been cleared. Investigators are still reviewing all video footage, and Fruitland PD still has the assistance of investigative resources from the FBI, Idaho State Police and Boise Police Department.

“We thank those of you who took the time to thoughtfully share what information you have,” reads the update.

Investigators will be back in areas that have been concentrated on and may be knocking on doors and asking more questions. Those areas include Southwest 8th and 9th streets, as well as three subdivisions: Cornwall Way, Hidden Meadows and Three Rivers Way.

“We’re asking our friends [in those areas] to be patient with our investigative teams,” reads the post, adding that cooperation of citizens has been “impressive and extremely helpful.”

Police remain hopeful somebody holds the key to finding Michael.

“We still believe there may be someone who may know something and has not yet spoken with one of our investigators,” reads the update. “If this is you and you’ve been unsure, perhaps even afraid to contact us, please know we want to listen.”
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
Search for Michael Vaughan stretches into 4th week

It's been 21 days since 5-year-old Michael Joseph Vaughan was last seen in Fruitland.

The Fruitland Police Department took to Facebook Monday to update the community.

"Michael’s happy, smiling face is on posters, billboards, TV screens, and social media pages around Idaho, the Northwest, and the nation," the post explains. "Here in his hometown, we remain dedicated to finding this missing little boy."

"It is an intensive effort to follow up on all credible tips and leads and continue to review all video footage," the post explains. "However, investigative resources from the FBI, Idaho State Police, Boise Police Department, and the Fruitland Police Department remain on task. We have already followed and cleared a significant number of the tips that have come in. We thank those of you who took the time to thoughtfully share what information you had. We are monitoring our Tipline and as new tips come in, be assured every tip gets the attention of an investigator. The number of investigative resources dedicated to searching for Michael has been remarkable."

"We at Fruitland PD remain grateful for all those partners and agencies who remain committed to helping with the search and investigative effort," the post explains. "Michael’s family remains fully cooperative, and we are dedicated to doing all we can to finding their little boy. We appreciate this community for being respectful of their privacy during this most difficult time."

FPD says it has not eliminated any possibility as the search for Michael continues. Local residents and businesses are asked to stay vigilant in their search.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Family of missing Fruitland boy 'thankful' for ongoing search efforts and community support​

The search for the missing five-year-old Fruitland boy continues into another day.

"All of these people are doing this out of the kindness of their heart," Jennifer Cox told KTVB. "It just shows you that if this continues the community is what's going to bring Monkey home."

Cox is a close friend to the family and said she has been acting as a sounding board and support system for Michael's parents, Tyler Vaughan and Brandi Neal. Much like the community, she has been trying to do whatever she can to make their lives just a little easier.

"All I have in my power is to spread Michael's picture and be a good friend," Cox said.

Cox described Michael as a curious and friendly boy. She said he wandered off onto the front yard to go over to a neighbors house when he went missing. It's any parent's worst nightmare, one that is just continuing on.

"They're incredibly brave, they're being incredibly strong," Cox said. "They're very supportive of each other and they're doing the best they can."

Search teams in Idaho and across the country are working to find Michael and bring him home.

Since it is an ongoing investigation, many details of the search from law enforcement have been tight-lipped. Meanwhile, community members have been show support for Michael's family.

People across the Treasure Valley have donated meals, put on fundraisers for the family, made flyers of Michael and acknowledged the family has their support.

"The community has been fantastic," Cox said. "It's just overwhelming, the amount of support. It's just people wanting to do so much to get Monkey home."

Cox was asked by Michael's parents to share a message of gratitude and tell the community they can not thank them enough. She added that they haven't asked for anything besides just spreading the word about Michael.

"There's not even word to express the gratitude that they feel, the love that they feel from the community," Cox said. "It's just absolutely amazing."
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
Fruitland PD: Tips coming in for missing boy Michael Vaughan from all over the country
Help is coming in from all corners of the country to aid police in the search for missing Fruitland boy Michael Vaughan.

Fruitland Police on Thursday said the search continues.

"Tips have come from across the Treasure Valley and across the country," the police department said. "Our investigators continue to follow up and have spoken with people in multiple states as we work to find Michael."

In Thursday's update to the community, Fruitland PD said Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue along with a specialized canine recently search an area on the Oregon side of the Snake River.

Also, "investigators are asking more questions, scrutinizing more pieces of video, even re-interviewing some individuals in the effort to make sure no detail is missed."

The police department did say that the ground search for Vaughan is being scaled back as search crews focus in on specific areas as new information is collected.

"We remain hopeful that we will be able to, at some point, provide answers and bring Michael home," police said. "Until that day, we stand steadfast in our belief that we live and serve a caring and supportive community, that we’re surrounded by dedicated professionals lending their expertise to finding one small boy, and that those things combined will enable us to bring Michael home."
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

FBI: Child Abduction Rapid Development Team helps search for missing Fruitland boy​

Resources from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were deployed within hours of 5-year-old Michael Vaughan's disappearance from his Fruitland neighborhood, according to federal officials.

Sandra Barker with the FBI said in a statement that the bureau has been helping the Fruitland Police Department since Vaughan went missing more than three weeks ago.

The FBI's Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team was deployed to help in the search, according to Barker. The CARD Team is made up of investigators who specialize in child abductions and mysterious disappearances of children.

Barker said the CARD Team "provides investigative, technical and resource assistance to state and local law enforcement during the critical time period following that abduction or mysterious disappearance."

The FBI has also "provided investigative, forensic and technical assistance, including behavior analyses."

"The search for Michael is a strong collaborative effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with one goal: to recover Michael and bring him home," Barker said in a statement sent to KTVB.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Ground search for missing boy scales back​

Multiple agencies have continued to assist Fruitland PD in searching for Michael throughout the week. This includes Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue, Idaho State Police, the Payette Police Department and the FBI; however, the ground search has been scaled back, and resources are getting directed to specific areas as new information comes in.

“Investigators from each agency bring, not only the highest level of training and expertise but true compassion and commitment to finding Michael,” reads the update.


The agency states that while they understand people wanting updates everyday, that staff are “doing our best with regular, although perhaps not daily updates posted to this page.”

“Our public updates may not sound like ‘breaking news,’ but we hope they help members of our community understand our efforts continue,” reads the post.

According to the update, people have been asking Fruitland PD for details of the search or investigation, which will not be given out unless they believe it could help in the search.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
On Saturday, The Treasure Valley Long Riders decided to host a fundraiser to help raise money for the family during this difficult time.

"It has been devastating for our community and that’s why as a community, as a whole, we have come out to support the family they need to know that we are here for them," said ride organizer Terrie Cathcart-Shurte. "You know they have bills they need to pay."

The ride started in Caldwell and traversed through southwest Idaho making stops in Homedale, New Plymouth, Fruitland and they ended their poker run for Michael in Weiser.

Cathcart-Shurte organized this ride at the request of the family's employer so the family can concentrate on the search, but this ride also hopes to keep Michael's image in the public eye.

"We need to keep this going so that everyone knows his face and everyone is keeping an eye out for him," said Cathcart-Shurte.
 

kdg411

Administrator
Staff member
The Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue unit (IMSARU) has been searching for the little boy, and just last week, they were deployed along with a canine to search an area on the Oregon side of the Snake River.

Since the start of the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue unit, search dogs have been a crucial part of searching for missing people or lost children.

According to the IMSARU, canines can smell up to 10,000 times better than humans, which is extremely helpful in looking for missing people in hard places to reach or see.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Addressing stranger danger with Fruitland Elementary students​

As elementary students return to school on Monday, one face will not be among them, as five-year-old Michael Joseph Vaughan remains missing as of press time.

According to Fruitland Elementary School principal Jared Olsen, while Michael hasn’t been found yet, school staff will work to help students move forward in the wake of his disappearance.

In an email to the newspaper Wednesday, Olsen said staff members will not openly discuss Michael’s disappearance in any classes, in an effort to prevent “undue anxiety or stress” in this situation which is beyond students’ control.

“If a student knows or brings up the situation then we will address it with the student,” wrote Olsen.

However, he said the school does plan to teach students the basics about staying safe while they are around other people.

“Our counselor does teach about Stranger Danger in each of the classrooms with a group of lessons. We intend to give support where support is needed with in house resources or get support outside if needed.”
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Family of missing Fruitland boy speaks out: 'Our Family is broken right now'​

It's been four weeks since Michael Vaughan was last seen in his neighborhood in Fruitland, Idaho.

On Tuesday, the family of Michael Vaughan spoke out for the first time in a statement released by the Fruitland Police Department. The family said in a statement that they're thankful to everyone who has helped search for their missing boy. However, Michael's disappearance has been devastating.

"Our Family is broken right now. Monkey's sisters are missing their partner in crime, and his brother won't play Minecraft until Michael comes home. Monkey, your Mommy and Daddy miss you more than anything in this world. We need you home to be whole," the family wrote.

According to the Fruitland Police Department, more than 330 tips have been submitted to authorities, including one from more than 2,100 miles away that was cleared.

"Our hearts are with Michael's family. None of us have walked in their shoes. We only know this is a most difficult time, yet they continue to be cooperative and understanding," the department wrote.

Fruitland police added that searches through land, water and air are still ongoing but will be more targeted as needed.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member
New photos released as search for missing 5-year old Michael Vaughan hits one month mark

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SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Fruitland Police Chief JD Huff talks about his team's mental health​

Tuesday marked 30 days since a Fruitland boy went missing, and Fruitland Police Chief JD Huff was finally able to find a window of time to talk to the newspaper outside of the updates that have been happening on his department’s Facebook page.


In addition to going over the most recent search and investigation information with the paper, which was posted on Facebook Tuesday and published in the newspaper on Wednesday, Huff talked about the mental health of his team.

The chief says there are well over 5,000 combined man hours in the investigation and search, and that they are committed to continuing in every way possible to finding Michael.

“That’s pretty intense,” he says. “Every one of us here are heartsick. When we go home at night, this is what we think about. Our primary goal is to locate Michael and bring him home, and we’re not going to stop until we get that done.”

Fortunately, for employees of the city of Fruitland there are resources, such as an employee assistance program, which can and is being used for mental health care as needed. Usually, help is a phone call away; however, with the recent turn of events, some professionals have been in Fruitland.

“I can tell you that over the last week, we have had some of those trained individuals here at the police department to help us work thru some of these issues that we may have with it mentally,” Huff said.

This is because of the amount of time which has been invested in the case.

“Michael is one of ours and we view him as one of our little boys so it does hit home,” he said. “It’s tough from a law enforcement standpoint. We feel a lot of pressure. Citizens want a resolution, we feel and that’s a heavy burden to bear.”

At the same time, As he and his team have stepped up, the community in turn has stepped up to help them.

“This community is an amazing community,” Huff said. “They are extremely supportive and continue to be.”

He said while they are the few people who are negative or critical, that happens in most any case, and he tends to focus on the positive and those who have hope.

“As far I’m concerned, if you’re hoping, you’re helping,” Huff said.
 

Miccistella

Well-known member
here is the thing......
something I stumbled over just a couple of days ago....
it might not have anything to do with the vanishing of little Monkey and I might be completely off.... BUT somehow and I don't know why that missing person made me think if they are somehow connected....

I stumble over an missing person post for a young man, 31 years, who's car was found on a bridge over the Snake River ... This triggered my thinking about Monkey... so I kept looking...

the car was found on a bridge by Nyssa OR which made me look where that is in relation..... vicinity Ontario OR where he also has connections to.... which is not far from Fruitland......

now, sadly this young mans body was found further down in the river.... how awful for the family and friends left behind..... may he rest in peace....

the whole situation on him screams suicide... BUT WHY....
considered reasons: not being able to cope with a loss..? fear...? guilt..? background...? Knowledge of something...? depression..?


by all means I don't want to imply that there is a connection,,,,,, I just hope and pray not.,..

it though does make me wonder if these two cases somehow could be connected and just doesn't want to get out of my mind,..

any thoughts....?
 

kdg411

Administrator
Staff member
here is the thing......
something I stumbled over just a couple of days ago....
it might not have anything to do with the vanishing of little Monkey and I might be completely off.... BUT somehow and I don't know why that missing person made me think if they are somehow connected....

I stumble over an missing person post for a young man, 31 years, who's car was found on a bridge over the Snake River ... This triggered my thinking about Monkey... so I kept looking...

the car was found on a bridge by Nyssa OR which made me look where that is in relation..... vicinity Ontario OR where he also has connections to.... which is not far from Fruitland......

now, sadly this young mans body was found further down in the river.... how awful for the family and friends left behind..... may he rest in peace....

the whole situation on him screams suicide... BUT WHY....
considered reasons: not being able to cope with a loss..? fear...? guilt..? background...? Knowledge of something...? depression..?


by all means I don't want to imply that there is a connection,,,,,, I just hope and pray not.,..

it though does make me wonder if these two cases somehow could be connected and just doesn't want to get out of my mind,..

any thoughts....?
My thoughts only ... while the disappearance is frustrating I tend to fall back on ocam's razor or I'd lose my mind going down a long, winding rabbit hole.

Someone had to see something or knows something which le has referenced. I hope that this person finds it in their heart & conscience to speak up.
 

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

Administrator
Staff member

Reward fund set up for safe return of missing boy​

While the search for Michael continues, a reward fund has now been set up. Huff explained that the fund was made possible due to a $10,000 donation, made by someone who wants to remain anonymous. The chief said when the donor handed him the cashier's check he told the chief, "If that little boy is found and brought home safely, that will have been the best money I have ever spent."

Huff said not only did the gesture warm his heart, it was a big deal for the case.

"Our hope behind that is that it may motivate somebody that has information to share it with us," he said. "Obviously we are looking for the safe return of the child — that's our goal and continues to be our hope."

Huff added that he is not soliciting donations for the reward fund, as it is a lot of money; however added that law enforcement members are "very, very grateful," as they haven't had that up to this point.



The chief says they remain in contact daily with Michael's parents, who are "hanging in and absolutely 100% cooperative," adding that he wanted to continue to let the community know that the parents are working well with law enforcement.

As to how they are handling the situation, Huff says they are handling it about as well as somebody could who is missing their 5 year old.

"It is heartbreaking."



While searches have slowed down somewhat for now, Huff said the Payette County Sheriff's Office was still running its marine unit up and down the Snake River once or twice a week. On Wednesday, they spent the entire day on the stretch of the river from Payette to Annex, checking sloughs and searching banks.
 

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