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

Jennifer Cox, a close friend of Michael Vaughan's family, was asked by Michael's parents to share a message of gratitude to the community.

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

Michael Vaughan was reported missing from his home in Fruitland on July 27. Since then, neighbors in Fruitland and surrounding areas continue to spread the word about Michael and help support the family through this difficult time.

"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."

As the community stays vigilant throughout the search, law enforcement in Fruitland is doing the same. More searches on the ground, in the water and in the air are being done each week. 

Cox said the family also wants to give a huge thank you to all of the agencies who have been involved.

"It's tireless efforts that they're putting out there and it's time away from their families," Cox said. "They're working so hard to get a solution and get Monkey home."

Fruitland Police said Michael's family has been cooperating throughout the entire investigation. Cox said the family speaks to investigators daily. 

The family said if people are looking to help, they encourage donating water or snacks to the search crews that are working day in and day out.

Cox asked people to continue to share Michael's picture on social media and by handing out flyers. She also asked people to only use pictures of Michael that have been shared by the family.

"They could not be any more thankful," Cox said.


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