A 5-year-old Idaho boy who vanished near his home in July has still not been found, and on Thursday – 115 days after the child went missing – investigators again vowed the desperate search will not end until he is found and brought home.
Michael Joseph Vaughan disappeared in the small community of Fruitland on the evening of July 27. The boy’s family has pleaded for his safe return and has cooperated with authorities who have worked tirelessly to find him.
Fruitland police, alongside the FBI and Idaho State Police, were joined by Michael’s mother, Brandi Neal, at a press conference Thursday to give an update on the search.
“The search for Michael will not stop until he is found, and the search remains very active,” Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff said.
Huff said that investigators, including the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue with specialty canines, methodically searched close to 1,000 acres this week near where Michael was last seen.
There is an increased possibility that Michael was abducted due to the fact that multiple searches using every tool available to investigators turned up no sign of the boy, according to Huff.
Neal spoke about the pain her family is going through, telling reporters that “our family is broken” without Michael and pleading for his safe return.
“I’m here to ask you to please keep Michael’s face, his name and his story in every one of your hearts, your eyes and your minds,” Neal said. “This is my baby. This is my son. I need him home.”
Meanwhile, more than 550 tips have come in from around the world about Michael, with most leads having been thoroughly reviewed and cleared, police said.
A reward fund now totaling $50,100 is being offered for Michael’s safe return. The funds are made up of donations from the community along with “considerable donations” from Michael’s family, police said.
Vaughan, who answers to the nickname “Monkey,” was last seen wearing a light blue Minecraft shirt and black boxer briefs as well as size 11 flip-flop sandals.