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Michael Vaughan search continues as crews excavate Fruitland backyard

Investigators are still digging up a backyard on Sunday near Michael Vaughan's home in Fruitland.

FRUITLAND, Idaho — The search is continuing Sunday in the backyard of a house in Fruitland for possible remains of now 6-year-old Michael Vaughan, who went missing from his neighborhood in July of 2021.

Crews have dug up most of the backyard and placed top layers of dirt in dumpsters. Fruitland Police Chief J.D Huff says that their intent is to dig three or four feet deep, and that they will not stop until the entire backyard is excavated.

A back hoe is being used to dig up the top soil, and Huff believes it will in no way contaminate evidence if there is any. Huff said there are multiple layers of dirt to scrape away, and the search will continue tomorrow if needed.

"During the course of the investigation we received information the remains of Michael Vaughan might be found (behind the house)... As a result we obtained a search warrant. We have not found anything yet but we will continue to excavate in hopes of finding his remains." Chief Huff told KTVB at the scene on Saturday. He said the couple that lives in the home do not own it, and to his knowledge, have no connection to the Vaughan family.

Two K-9 dogs were also brought in -- Huff said he has no updates on the dogs at this time.

The house, on Redwing Street, is around four minutes from Michael Vaughan's home -- the neighborhood is diagonal from his home across a farm field. The residents that live next door are being cooperative, Huff said.

The lead came from a "very credible tip" Huff said, and police obtained a search warrant and began working late Friday night.

Crews in the search involve Idaho State Police, Fruitland Police, Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue, Fruitland Public Works and the Fruitland Fire Department.

At a press conference in the summer, Huff previously said a lead had placed investigators back in the Fruitland area to look for Michael Vaughan.

Michael, who is nicknamed "Monkey," was last seen at around 6:30 p.m. on July 27, 2021, in the area of Southwest 9th Street in Fruitland. At the time, he was 5 years old and described as 3 feet, 7 inches tall, weighing about 50 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. Michael's 6th birthday was June 24, 2022.

In a previous news conference on July 22, Fruitland Police confirmed preliminary evidence that suggests Michael's disappearance is criminal, possibly an abduction. Already, the department has looked into nearly 1,000 leads and tips that have come in from the public.

A family spokesperson said the family thanks the community for their support and requests privacy at this time.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Follow @dugganreports on Twitter for live updates.

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