The search is on for Michael Joseph Vaughn, a 5-year-old boy who went missing in Fruitland, Idaho on Tuesday. According to police, the child went missing in the afternoon and was last seen near his home at Southwest 9th Street and South Arizona Avenue.
Fruitland police responded to a call around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday after reports claimed Michael Joseph Vaughn had gone missing. It isn’t clear whether the parents made the 911 call or if someone else reported the boy missing.
On Tuesday night, police officers, fire crews, and paramedics began their search for Vaughn and the operation continued into Wednesday morning. Local residents also joined the search for the missing boy late Tuesday night.
A helicopter from St. Luke’s and Idaho Mountain Rescue teams joined the search and rescue operation a few hours after Michael Joseph Vaughn was reported missing. The Idaho Mountain Rescue teams deployed its trained rescue personnel and a K-9 unit for the search.
The official Twitter account for the Idaho State Police issued an “Endangered Missing person Alert” on behalf of the Fruitland Police Department. The ISP Alert system was designed to share “active AMBER, Blue, and Endangered Missing Alerts,” according to its Twitter bio.
The alert explained that the Fruitland Police Department is still searching for the missing 5-year-old boy and asked for any assistance in the operation. It said Michael Joseph Vaughn was last seen near his home wearing a light blue Minecraft t-shirt and dark blue boxer briefs, with sandals. The missing person alert described the boy as light-skinned with blond hair and blue eyes. It claimed Vaughn is 3-foot-7-inches and about 50 pounds.
It was reported that an alert was also sent on the Code Red System, which the Payette County Sheriff’s Officer uses to send information to residents of the surrounding area. Police used the Code Red System multiple times Tuesday, including two late-night alters at 8:20 p.m. and 11:20 p.m. There was also an email blast early Wednesday morning with updates regarding the search.
Payette County Sheriff Andy Creech said that “the initial alert was sent to the neighborhood where the child lives, and then the area was expanded to include Fruitland, Payette, and New Plymouth.” The alert system made over 16,000 phone calls and sent over 2,000 emails and 4,000 text messages, according to the Sheriff’s office. “There were four separate alerts sent out,” he said. “Citizens can sign up for Code Red through the Payette County Website.”
Payette County is on high alert and is assisting with the search and rescue operation any way it can. According to Creech, “our drone pilots responded to the area and helped search the area by air. Our drone had a high-quality video camera and infrared camera.”
After an almost 24-hour operation, search and rescue teams still have no idea where Michael Joseph Vaughn could be. In a news release, the Fruitland police chief, JD Huff, said he appreciated the public’s assistance and asked for their ongoing support in the search. Huff told residents of nearby communities to keep an eye out for Vaughn but requested that they stay out of the search area while the operation is conducted.
Residents of Fruitland are asked to review their security camera footage and report any suspicious behavior to the police. Those who live in the area were also told to check their properties for any evidence of the missing 5-year-old boy.
Any person with information is asked to call the Fruitland Police Department Dispatch at 208-642-6006. Police have requested that anyone who comes across Michael Joseph Vaughn call him by his nickname: “Monkey.”