Fruitland police search nearby home in Michael Vaughan investigation, find no remains

Idaho

Fruitland, Idaho Police Chief JD Huff announces the results from searching Sarah Wondra’s backyard. | Photo courtesy KIVI, Video from Idaho Statesman

FRUITLAND (Idaho Statesman) – The Fruitland Police Department is continuing to search for the remains of Michael Vaughan, after efforts to search two homes came up empty.

The 5-year-old boy disappeared in July 2021, and in recent weeks, authorities have said they now believe Michael is dead. During a Dec. 1 news conference, Fruitland Police Chief JD Huff told reporters they planned to search the yard of a home in Fruitland next door to a property on Redwing Street that police excavated last month.

RELATED | ‘Remains were buried,’ moved: Fruitland police update Michael Vaughan case, seek 2 men

Authorities searched the neighboring home with ground penetrating radar and cadaver dogs, but nothing was found, according to a Facebook post by Fruitland police Thursday. Police were given voluntary consent to search the property and did not need a search warrant.

The department declined to comment beyond the Facebook post.

“No additional evidence was found, and there was no indication that Michael had been in any other neighboring yards,” police said. ”The purpose of the search was an investigative step to eliminate all other possibilities.”

FRUITLAND POLICE SAY REMAINS WERE MOVED

During the November search, Fruitland police — along with Idaho State Police, the Fruitland Fire Department and Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue — excavated the backyard of a home located at 1102 Redwing St. After a search, Huff said cadaver dogs found evidence that human remains were once in the yard, but authorities were unable to find them.

The home, which is half-a-mile from where Michael went missing, is occupied by Sarah Wondra, 35, and her husband, Stacey Wondra, 30. Sarah Wondra has been charged with felony failure to report a death, though her case was put on hold after she was declared mentally unfit.

Though Fruitland authorities haven’t charged Stacy Wondra with a crime, Huff said during the news conference that he believes both Sarah and Stacey Wondra know what happened to Michael and said they “were involved in the abduction,” the Idaho Statesman previously reported.

“We remain confident that the evidence shows that Michael’s remains had been moved and the investigation continues as we follow all leads,” Huff said in the Thursday Facebook post.

Police have also made contact with two men who lived with the Wondras around the time Michael went missing. Huff has not named the men as suspects but previously said they have “firsthand knowledge of Michael’s abduction.”

Police have named the men and used their photos, but the Statesman is not naming them because they have not been identified as suspects or charged with a crime.

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