FRUITLAND — Fruitland Police Department continues to update to the community on its Facebook page regarding Michael “Monkey” Joseph Vaughan, 5, who was last seen 17 days ago.
In updates on Thursday and Wednesday, police state that tips continue to come in and the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Teams with canines have been back in the area searching locations on both sides of the Snake River. Further searches are planned along banks of canals and rivers, and other waterways, with plans to continue as resources are available, according to the update.
Drones and other specialized equipment are also being utilized for the search efforts. Payette County Sheriff’s Office is one agency that has helped out with drone activities.
“We’ve had our drone out multiple times, flew it in different areas — some more than once — depending on whatever Fruitland needs,” said Sheriff Andy Creech in a phone interview on Thursday.
Additionally, the sheriff’s office has used its boat about five times in assisting with searching the river.
“This morning, we were out on the river, and went up to the Interstate 84 bridge on the Snake River and all the way down to Annex and back and didn’t see anything while out there,” he said.
While the case is Fruitland Police Department’s case, Creech says he and his deputies are in a position where if they are called to assist, they will “send whatever we have available to help.”
Sometimes, the sheriff’s office has been out with its boat with just deputies, other times firefighters have been on board to help watch and spot, and they have even had tracking dogs on the boat, according to the sheriff.
Resources from Idaho State Police and the FBI are still assisting Fruitland Police Department with the case.
“The many miles of waterways present significant challenges for us and there is a lot of debris and vegetation overgrowth along the banks of the Snake River and it’s slews,” Fruitland PD’s Wednesday update reads. “It will be slow going along the river, but as you know, we’re leaving no stone unturned.”
A search was recently conducted in the “large French drain in the Hidden Meadows Subdivision with the use of a high resolution, large drain camera, provided by New Plymouth Public Works Department.”
Police ask residents to continue searching their properties, walking fence lines and checking any drainage that might run through.
There were “well over 250 tips” called in as of the most recent update on Thursday, and all are being reviewed by an investigator. People are encouraged to keep providing any tips that may be useful.
In Wednesday’s update, Fruitland Police stated they were continuing the “methodical task of combing through the residential and business security camera video files for new leads.”
For more information, including a downloadable flyer or how to provide tips, visit https://bit.ly/HelpFindMichael.
Michael was last seen in the area of SW 9th St. and South Arizona Avenue in Fruitland at about 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. on July 27.
He was wearing a light blue Minecraft T-shirt, dark blue or black boxer briefs with a green stripe and child’s size 11, blue flip flops.
He is 3-foot-7-inches tall, 50 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.