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Police provide update on boy missing since July, ask public for prayers

Idaho

FRUITLAND — Investigators say they have searched a remote forested area over 20 miles from where a 5-year-old boy disappeared nearly five months ago.

The latest update for Michael Joseph Vaughan was announced Wednesday from the Fruitland Police Department who says a reward for the boy’s safe return sits at $52,206. Vaughan vanished on July 27 from his Fruitland neighborhood.

Since their investigation began, local authorities, Idaho State Police and the FBI have expanded into ground searches of a remote forested piece of land north of Weiser. The area is at least 20 miles from Michael’s home and around a 25 to 30 minute drive.

Authorities have not said what led them to this area but announced they have received 738 tips in connection to the case.

“Investigators continue to work every lead that comes in,” police say. “We continue to comb through the data collected since July 27 and it is a monumental task, but we remain committed and steadfast in our efforts. ”

In November the Associated Press reported Michael was likely abducted, according to police. Exhaustive ground searches in a 2 mile radius near the family’s home since July have led to no signs of the missing boy.

Google Map Fruitland to Wieser
A Google Maps screenshot showing the distance between Fruitland and Weiser

“The Fruitland Police Department is forever grateful for the continued support you show for members of this agency,” police said to the public in a news release Wednesday. “As most of us prepare to spend a Christmas holiday gathered at a table with family and friends, we ask you to keep those who are unable to gather in your prayers.”

Police specifically asked people to keep Michael and his family in their prayers.

“There will be an empty seat (at) his family‚Äôs table and for many of us in this community, an empty place in our hearts until Michael comes home,” police said. “May this Christmas be a time we focus on our blessings and remember the greatness of a community is measured by the compassion of its members.”

Michael was last seen wearing a light blue Minecraft T-shirt, dark blue boxer briefs and flip flops. He is described as 3 feet, 6 inches tall and around 50 lbs. with blond hair and blue eyes. He responds to the nickname “Monkey.”

Anyone with information about Michael’s disappearance or his whereabouts is asked to call Fruitland Police at (208) 642-6006 or to email findmichael@fruitland.org.

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