Crews continue searching backyard of Idaho home for human remains

Crime Watch

FRUITLAND (KIVI) — Crews continue excavating and searching the backyard of a home in Fruitland in what police say is connected to the disappearance of missing boy Michael Vaughan.

Investigators have been searching the backyard since Saturday. Police on scene say based on a “credible tip”, they believe Michael Vaughan’s remains are on the property.

Vaughan was five years old when he went missing from his home on July 27, 2021, just a few blocks away.

On Friday, a woman who lives at the home was taken into custody as search efforts got underway. Sarah Wondra is now charged with not reporting a death to the coroner and was arraigned on Monday. A judge has ordered Wondra to undergo a mental evaluation.

Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff tells Idaho News 6 that this case has a lot of moving parts, and crews are moving slowly to ensure accuracy.

Investigators are using smaller and more precise tools Tuesday, rather than the large machinery that has been on site since Friday. Huff says they are “fine-tuning” the process.

Around 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Huff said he cannot confirm if anything had been found, but there is a high probability that remains are located on-site.

Huff says the backyard has not been completely processed at this time, but in the coming days, crews will also search the home for additional evidence.

According to Huff, Wondra has not been cooperative with police.

Chief Huff said Monday that investigators believe there are more people with knowledge of what happened to Michael Vaughan, but would not provide information as to what has been discovered during the search.

Huff could not confirm if additional arrests are coming but says they believe there are others with knowledge of what happened and the police are currently seeking them out.

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