Woman appears in court for failure to report death in case of missing Idaho boy
Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman
FRUITLAND (Idaho Statesman) — Police have arrested a woman suspected to be involved in the disappearance of a Fruitland boy and charged her with failure to report a death.
Sarah Wondra, 35, of Fruitland, was arrested Friday after police served a search warrant at the Redwing Street residence she shares with her husband, Stacey Wondra, according to a probable cause affidavit. The residence was the site of a weekend police search and excavation in connection with the disappearance of Michael Vaughan.
Michael went missing from his front yard half a mile from the Wondra residence on July 27, 2021, when he was 5 years old.
Police haven’t said publicly what evidence they’re looking for, but they brought cadaver dogs to search the yard. By Monday afternoon, officials had not said whether they found evidence or remains at the residence.
Sarah Wondra was arraigned Monday afternoon. She told Judge Brian Lee she understood the allegations made against her but maintained that they’re “not correct.” When Lee informed her of her rights, Wondra said, “I don’t have any reason to be silent because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Wondra was charged with felony failure to report a death rather than a misdemeanor charge. The felony charge is triggered when a person’s failure to report is based on their intent to conceal the manner of the death, according to Idaho law. It carries a possible prison sentence up to 10 years and a fine of up to $50,000.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Michael’s family told the Idaho Statesman the family is asking for privacy and support. “They are dealing with very difficult news that’s ongoing and unfolding,” Lana Westbrook said. Westbrook also noted that officials have instructed the public to avoid the investigation area and the family’s home.
Lee set Sarah Wondra’s bond at $500,000. If she bonds out of jail, she will be required to wear a GPS monitoring device.
FRUITLAND POLICE OBTAIN SEARCH WARRANT
According to court documents, police forced entry into the Wondras’ home around 9:30 p.m. Friday, where they found Sarah Wondra in the living room. She was detained and read a copy of the search warrant.
“When I got to the portion that read ‘murder,’ she said, ‘did you just say murder’ multiple times,” a Fruitland police officer wrote in the affidavit. “She also said, ‘I have never murdered anyone.’”
Officials said Sarah Wondra maintained that she “definitely did not kill that boy” and said “the most high God already told me who did it.” She reportedly told police, “oh wow wow the most high God just told me that Stacey was the one who killed him and buried him in the yard of” the neighbor’s house.
When asked later to show police where the boy was buried, according to the affidavit, she told police of a spot near the entry of her residence and said Stacey had buried him “in the backyard by the shed.”
Police said by that point, they had begun hand-digging a portion of the Wondras’ yard based on information “received from Stacey,” who had not been arrested or charged by Monday afternoon. It wasn’t clear when or why police had spoken with Stacey Wondra.
Sarah Wondra was arrested and told police, “God just told me that Stacey was the one who did it,” adding that she knew the body was in the neighbor’s yard because “that’s what Stacey just told me.” She then corrected herself and said that’s what God told her, according to the affidavit.
She allegedly reiterated to police that she “had nothing to do with” Michael’s disappearance. She said her husband buried Michael in the backyard by the shed but wasn’t the one who actually harmed the boy. She said instead that a man identified only as Adrian “had been the one that had done it, and he was scared to tell anybody.”