FRUITLAND (AP) — Searchers have scoured miles of land in rural western Idaho, drained canals and combed over security footage for the past week, but authorities said a 5-year-old boy who was last seen July 27 is still missing.
The Fruitland Police Department is using every possible resource in the search for Michael Joseph Vaughan, including scent-tracking dogs, drones, helicopters, a dive team and even paragliders, Chief JD Huff said Wednesday.
Despite the exhaustive search, authorities don’t yet know what became of the child, and no possibility has been ruled out of the investigation, Huff said during a news conference Wednesday.
The boy who answers to the nickname, “Monkey,” was last seen in the evening outside his home, wearing a blue “Minecraft” t-shirt, dark blue boxer briefs and flip flops, authorities said.
“You know 5-year-olds can get into almost anything, so we’ve looked through nearly 200 garbage cans, drained canals and irrigation ditches and pumped a septic tank in the area that had a makeshift 2-by-6 wooden plank lid,” Huff said.
The agency has also gathered 60 videos from residential and business security cameras, cleared many of the 163 tips they have received and used drones, aircraft, kayaks, paragliders and search dogs to comb miles of farmland and the Snake River banks.
“We take care of one another and we’re all in this together,” Huff said. “We’re committed to finding Michael and we’re not going to leave any stones unturned.”
The boy’s family has been fully cooperating with law enforcement, he said, urging the community to respect their privacy.
The police chief also asked people who live in the largely agricultural area to search their own properties by walking fence lines, checking vehicles and any place a child could get into.
“Children move around and they wander. They may have traveled back into your yard without your knowledge,” Huff said, encouraging anyone with information to come forward.
He added: “Maybe you are even afraid to reach out to us. We are here, we want to listen to what you have to say.”