Investigators still looking for missing Fruitland boy

A year after his disappearance, multiple law enforcement and investigative agencies are still looking for Michael “Monkey” Vaughn, who went missing on July 27, 2021.
 Michael vanished from his neighborhood around SW 9th Street in Fruitland and was last seen at approximately 6:30 p.m.
 The Fruitland Police Department, Idaho State Police, and FBI continue their investigation, though not many details have emerged regarding what happened to the boy who was five-years-old when he went missing.
 Family and friends recently released blue balloons at Kiwanis Park in Payette to celebrate and honor Michael on his sixth birthday.
 “I hope he sees them,” Michael’s mother, Brandi Neal, KTVB Ch. 7 reported. “Today is about his beautiful face and his life that was brought here to us and everyone here six years ago.”
 “He’s beyond missed and beyond loved and we need him,” said Tyler Vaughn, Michael’s father. Weiser businesses showed their support for the family in their own way, including Tammy Boven, area manager for Idaho Pizza Co., which has restaurants in Weiser and Fruitland.
 “It’s been a year and I felt like I wanted to do something, so I painted my windows and put a table with balloons just for him at both locations,” Boven told the Weiser Signal American. “Every store that has a reader board, we put something on there as well. I just want to bring awareness like everybody else.”
 Neal was one of Boven’s employees at Idaho Pizza Co. before Michael went missing.
 “Brandi worked for us at our Fruitland store, and we all know Michael,” Boven said. “Brandi is part of our Idaho Pizza Co. family. We try to keep in touch to see if there is anything we can do. She comes into the Fruitland store sometimes. Right now, this is probably the worst time for her. Her number one goal, of course, is finding him, which means we need to keep awareness in the public.”
 Patrick Nauman, owner of Weiser Classic Candy, painted the windows of his store as well in an effort to help keep Michael’s disappearance in the public eye.
 Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff provided an update on the case in a Fruitland Police Department Facebook post on Friday, July 22.
 “Detectives work daily to sift through viable leads and piece together the known information so we can solve this case,” he said. “As members of this community, we agonize with the family and have dedicated our resources to bringing Michael home. We continue to work with our investigative partners, release relevant information, and believe broader distribution of this story will generate more attention and tips that can be investigated. Anyone with any information, please let us know. No tidbit of information is benign or too obscure as we process the overall picture.”
 Huff said that investigators do not have any suspects but are looking at several people of interest. Police say they suspect Vaughn went missing between 6:40 and 7 p.m. and are investigating vehicles and individuals in the neighborhood during that time period. A blue Dodge Avenger and a jogger were identified and investigated, and a white Honda Pilot seen in the area has yet to be identified.
 Also, a white man in his late 20s or early 30s was spotted in the area. He was wearing black shorts, dark shoes, and a white shirt with cutoff sleeves. 
 “It is important to note that he is not a suspect or a person of interest, but police need to speak with him to determine his whereabouts and if he witnessed anything that would be helpful to the investigation,” the Facebook post stated.
 A photo of the man is available on the Fruitland Police Department’s Facebook page. The City of Fruitland has funded a $52,992 reward for information leading to Michael’s safe return. Tips, which can be made anonymously, should be sent to or Crime Stoppers at 


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