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'We will not stop': Michael Vaughan's possible remains believed to have been buried, then moved

All human remain K-9 dogs brought on the property of Sarah and Stacey Wondra alerted, Fruitland Police Chief JD Huff said.

FRUITLAND, Idaho — No stone went unturned. But Michael Vaughan is still missing. 

After more than a week of excavating a backyard and searching a house on 1102 Redwing Street in Fruitland, Fruitland Police Department announced Thursday during a press conference that the now six-year-old Michael Vaughan -- who went missing on July 27, 2021 -- was not found in the backyard of a home that two people lived in at the time of Vaughan's disappearance. 

Sarah Wondra, 35, who lived in the home on July 27, 2021, has been charged with failure to report the death of Michael Vaughan and remains in the Payette County Jail. Her husband, 30-year-old Stacey Wondra, is currently in custody in the Washington County Jail on unrelated charges. 

However, FPD Chief JD Huff said they believe Vaughan's body was buried in the Wondra's backyard and then moved to another location sometime later. All human remain K-9 dogs used in the search "alerted" in the yard, Huff said during the press conference. Ground penetrating radar also detected "anomalies" in the yard. The FPD Chief later specified they found additional evidence in the home that is being processed, but could not speak to what it was.

Huff also announced the identities of two more people thought to have firsthand knowledge in the abduction of Vaughan -- Brandon Shurtliff, 30, believed to be somewhere in North Dakota; and Adrien Lucienne, 32, believed to be somewhere in Toledo, Ohio, floating between there and California.

Both Shurtliff and Lucienne were staying with the Wondra's at the time of Michael's disappearance, Huff said. 

"The window of time for cooperation is coming to a close," he said.

According to court records, Shurtliff has a warrant for his arrest in Canyon County. The warrant is not extraditable, Huff told KTVB -- meaning, officers cannot send Shurtliff back from North Dakota on that specific warrant.

Even with four people believed to be involved in some way -- Huff said there still are more people out there with knowledge of what happened to Vaughan and where his remains could be. He said more charges are forthcoming.

The tip that led investigators to the yard came from one of the four people who lived in the home at the time, Huff said, but he will not say who -- just that it was "extremely credible."

The tip led to a warrant, which later led to Sarah Wondra's arrest. Police began searching the home late on Nov. 11. 

"I understand what (police) have said. It's not correct," Sarah Wondra told the judge during her arraignment.

Wondra was later found mentally incompetent to proceed and was issued to be committed. Even with the remains of Vaughan still missing, Huff said that it is his belief Sarah Wondra will remain in custody. Neither of the Wondra's have any relation to the Vaughan family, police said, even though their house is just a two minute drive away from where Michael Vaughan was last seen.

A search was also conducted in Kuna, Huff said, but he could not specify who the home belonged to.

Investigators will be using ground penetrating radar on Friday to look for any anomalies in the neighbor's yard. Huff told KTVB after the press conference that the remains dogs did not alert on the yard, but they will not leave any stone unturned. The neighbors are being cooperative, he said.

"When we finally reach the conclusion of this investigation, and I can assure you that we will, all of those who have knowledge of Michael's disappearance and have failed to report it or hindered our investigation will be pursued," Huff said. "There is a moment in time to do the right thing and bring your information forward and cooperate."

The Fruitland team -- along with their investigative help of Idaho State Police, the FBI and Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue -- are committed to finding Vaughan, Huff said.

"We will not stop until we uncover the truth in its entirety."

Watch Thursday's full news conference below:

Friends of the Vaughan family have established a meal train and set up an Amazon Holiday Wish List for those looking to support them at this time.

A community Facebook group and the Find Michael Vaughan website have more information about ways for support. Investigators also want to hear from anyone with information about Michael's disappearance. Submit tips to Crime Stoppers at 208-343-COPS (208-343-2677) or email findmichael@fruitland.org.

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