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'We just want our Monkey home': Fruitland Police Chief outlines extensive efforts to locate missing 5-year-old

Chief JD Huff gave an update on the search for Michael Vaughan, telling the community that no stone will be left unturned.

Fruitland Police Chief JD Huff held a press conference to update the public on the efforts being made to locate Michael Vaughan, a 5-year-old Fruitland boy who has been missing since Tuesday evening.

Michael, who also goes by "Monkey," was last seen in the area of southwest 8th Street, southwest 9th Street. and Cornwall Way between 6:30-7:15 p.m. on July 27. He has blonde hair, blue eyes, stands about 3'7", and weighs around 50 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue Minecraft t-shirt, dark blue briefs, and blue flip-flops.

Huff was joined by Special Agent Brian Sullivan with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Captain Matt Sly with Idaho State Police (ISP), Chief John Plaza of the Payette Police Dept., and Brian Marinelli with the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Team (IMSRT). Three members of Michael's family were also present.

"We're committed to finding Michael, and we're not going to leave any stone unturned," Huff said.

With the help of several local agencies and the FBI, Fruitland PD continues to extensively search for Michael. Huff said a methodical search has been conducted in and around the area Michael was last seen, including two irrigation runoff ditches that were drained by the Fruitland Public Works Dept.

K9 teams, aerial, marine and land support teams have also been utilized to date, according to Huff. They also have multiple drones being used to search large areas.

Idaho Fish and Game officers continue to search the Snake River by boat for four to five miles downriver and in river slews.

Huff said Fruitland PD will continue to organize search and rescue operations with resources provided by IMSRT, the Fruitland Fire Dept. and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Fruitland community has offered a tremendous amount of support to search agencies, according to Huff. He said police and others will continue to call on the public as needed.

Fruitland PD is still seeking the public's help to identify people who were in the area around the date and time Michael was last seen. 

"Every minute counts in these investigations when looking for a missing child," Huff said. "We appreciate the public's support and cooperation as we continue the search for Michael."

Those who live near the area Michael was last seen are urged to thoroughly search the entire vicinity of their home and review any security footage attached to their home.

"Video is extremely important to us in these investigations," Huff said.

Fruitland PD and other agencies supporting the search efforts are vigorously following up on each lead they receive. Huff ensured that any and all tips received are not falling on deaf ears, and requested that the public ensure all leads are coming from reliable sources.

Michael's family continues to be cooperative with the investigation as the search continues. Huff is asking the community to be extremely respectful of their privacy for as long as the investigation continues.

While the department greatly appreciates the community's willingness to help in the search for Michael, Huff said it can become slightly problematic and reiterated the need for everyone to extensively search their homes and review their security footage.

"We have trained, professional search teams with search K9s that are certified, and we're in these areas that we have been for the last three days now," Huff said. "We're asking for the public to stay out of those areas and let us search those with the certified search teams."

Huff said he could not offer details on the ongoing investigation but said the main goal is to find Michael.

Michael's family did not speak on the search efforts but did extend their gratitude to the community.

"I just want to thank the community and all the enforcement agencies that have been continuously, tirelessly looking for him," Michael's mother said. "Anybody that has any information, please contact the Fruitland PD. We just want our Monkey home. We just miss our baby and we want him home."

Fruitland Police Department is continuing to search and investigate where Michael may be. They ask people in the area to search their property and look in outbuildings, vehicles, and irrigation ditches. They're also asking residents to review any security camera footage for any sign of a small child in the area. 

If someone was in the area of southwest 8th Street, southwest 9th Street. and Cornwall Way between 6:30-7:15 p.m. on July 27, contact Fruitland Police at 208-642-6006 Extension 0. This will direct you to a tip line with the Payette County Sheriff's Office.

Police said even if someone does not believe they have relevant information, it is still important to call so they can better paint of picture of the area Michael was last seen.

To watch the presser, click below:


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