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Neighbor Arrested In Dark Turn Over Connection With Unsolved Disappearance Of 5-Year-Old Idaho Boy

Neighbor Arrested In Dark Turn Over Connection With Unsolved Disappearance Of 5-Year-Old Idaho Boy

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

An Idaho boy went missing from his small-town neighborhood last summer, and now, after 15 months of investigation, police believe they are zeroing in on what happened.

Five-year-old Michael Vaughan was first reported missing from his neighborhood in Fruitland in July 2021. His father, Tyler Vaughan, was in the back bedroom of the family home ordering pizza around 6:40 p.m. local time on July 27, 2021 with Michael’s sister. When he walked to the front room, he could not find Michael.

Michael’s family immediately reported him missing. The boy, who would now be six years old, has not been seen since. In the last 15 months, police in Fruitland have fielded thousands of tips on the case. Now, an ominous arrest appears to indicate major developments ahead.

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According to KTVB, 35-year-old Sarah Wondra has been arrested in connection to the case. She was taken into custody over the weekend and charged with failure to report a death in the Vaughan case. That’s a very ominous and unsettling charge, because Vaughan’s remains have not been found, and police have yet to confirm the missing boy is even dead. However, cops arrested Wondra and booked her into the Payette County Jail on the charge all the same.

This follows an exhaustive search of Michael’s neighborhood in Fruitland, a small town on the Oregon-Idaho border northwest of Boise. On Friday night, police searched Wondra’s home on Redwing Street following a “credible lead” delivered to cops from another occupant of that house. That property is just four minutes away from Vaughan’s home, per the news outlet.

Fruitland police chief JD Huff spoke to the media about the investigation and this shocking arrest. While he did not confirm the little boy’s death, his words carried ominous weight all the same:

“Our investigation determined Sarah Wondra may have had knowledge of Michael’s death and failed to report it. We do not believe she is the only person that has knowledge of this and we will be seeking out those people who could possibly be connected.”


Again, as of Monday evening, KTVB notes that Fruitland police have given no confirmation that they have located Michael or his remains. But arresting Wondra for “failure to report a death” is definitely a shocking sign of tragic progress.

Now, Wondra sits in jail awaiting her next court appearance. According to the news outlet, that will come on November 21. Her bond is currently set at $500,000. She is facing a felony charge over not reporting a death to police “with the intent to prevent discovery of the manner of death,” according to online court records. At the time of her arrest, Wondra had been on pretrial release pending an earlier unrelated weapons charge.

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Meanwhile, investigation crews have dug up “most of the backyard” of the home on Redwing Street. According to Huff, Wondra does not own the property. The local TV station also notes investigators have not been able to find any connection between Wondra and the Vaughan family. The excavation will continue this week. Trained K-9 dogs have been brought in to sniff through the uncovered earth, as well.

Huff explained:

“During the course of the investigation we received information the remains of Michael Vaughan might be found [behind the house] … as a result, we obtained a search warrant. We have not found anything yet, but we will continue to excavate in hopes of finding his remains.”

Per KTVB, that search is continuing on Tuesday.

Here is the latest on the shocking and unsettling case:

Such a terrible situation.

We can’t even imagine what the Vaughan family must have gone through this whole time.

[Image via Payette County Jail/KTVB/YouTube]

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Nov 15, 2022 12:40pm PDT