Recently missing: Michael Vaughn

FRUITLAND, ID. It was just another normal Tuesday night in July (2021) when Michael Vaughn, known as “monkey”, went outside and never returned. Around 6:30pm, the five-year-old, dressed in a light blue Minecraft T-shirt, dark blue boxer briefs and flipflops was looking for neighborhood kids to play with.  He was reported missing later that night.  

Michael is around 3 feet, 7 inches tall. He weighed about 50 pounds at the time of his disappearance and has blond hair and blue eyes. 

The town quickly sprung into action. Over 1,000 acres were searched when he was missing. Searches explored the back and front yards of all of Southwest 9th  as well as surrounding farmlands.  Bodies of water were drained. No trace of Michael was found.  

The case quickly went cold.  

However, in October, there looked as if maybe there were some leads developing in the case. Police now theorized that Michael had been kidnapped.  

They were asking for help in identifying a 2016 to 2020 Honda Pilot that was seen on Southwest 8th Street around 6:45 p.m. the day that Michael went missing as well as a man who was jogging on the sidewalk on Southwest 8th Street near Crestview Park around 6:15. The man was described as having dark hair and facial hair, dark shorts and no shirt on. There was also a black haired man in a white t-shirt and black shorts walking on Southwest 8th Street that police would like to question.  

“‘It’s very important to understand that these people are not suspects or persons of interest, but it is important to talk to each of them to help us complete the picture of the events that took place that evening,’ police said in a news release…”

However, by early November the police were back, saying that while they have had several leads, nothing has come of it. They again searched the area he was last seen, hoping that a change in conditions may lead to clues. However, as far as the public knows, there are no new leads.  

Michael’s mother, Brandi Neal joined Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff for this media briefing.  

“‘Please keep Michael’s face, his name and his story in every one of your hearts, your eyes and your minds. It has been 115 days, 115 days – he has not been home. We need every one of you, I need you, I need your help to bring my baby home,’ Neal said. “I need you to know how much Michael is loved. I need you to know how much he is missed. Our family is broken without him.’” 

There is a reward for Michael’s safe return for $50,100, and is available until March 31, 2022. If you have any information, contact Fruitland Police at (208) 642-6006 ext. 0, or email the tip line at findmichael@fruitland.org

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