FRUITLAND — Around 100 people from Payette County, eastern Oregon and Boise teamed up for Thursday’s community search to try to find 5-year-old Michael Joseph Vaughan, who was reported missing Tuesday night.
Thursday morning’s search began at Fruitland High School and expanded into the city. Officials said they expected to have every inch of the city covered by the end of the day.
Some businesses, such as Idaho Pizza Company, closed on Thursday afternoon so its employees could join the search.
“It’s pretty incredible to know you’ve got a community and that much support when we need it,” Fruitland Police Chief JD Huff said. “But it’s also a big challenge for us have to coordinate the efforts, where this isn’t something that happened in the city of Fruitland very often.”
Vaughan was last seen around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the area near Southwest Ninth Street and South Arizona Avenue in Fruitland, according to authorities. The boy was last seen wearing a blue “Minecraft” shirt, dark blue boxer briefs and sandals, authorities said. Vaughan is 3-foot-7, 50 pounds and has blonde hair and blue eyes. He answers to the nickname “Monkey.”
The Fruitland Police Department is asking for any potential witnesses to come forward — even if they don’t think they saw anything, The Associated Press reported.
Investigators have also asked neighbors to thoroughly search their properties, including outbuildings, vehicles and irrigation ditches and to review any security camera footage they might have.
The boy’s family has been fully cooperating with law enforcement, the department said.
“Even if you do not believe you have relevant information, please contact us so we can recreate a complete picture of the time and area Michael was last seen,” the department wrote in the social media post. “Every minute counts when searching for a missing child and we appreciate the public’s continued support and cooperation as we search for Michael.”
Huff expressed thanks to the community and its support. Since the investigation is ongoing, he couldn’t discuss specific details about the case. Another search is scheduled for Friday, he said.
Prior days’ searches for Vaughan included search crews from several law enforcement agencies looking row-by-row through cornfields and searching through ditches and canals for the child, according to The Associated Press.
Local residents joined police, fire crews and paramedics to search for the boy, aided by helicopters and a trained search dog, The Associated Press reported.
Anyone with information on Vaughan is asked to call 911 and the Payette County Sheriff’s Office at 208-642-6006.