Michael Joseph Vaughan was last seen near his residence in Fruitland, Idaho, population 5,400, on July 27
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Michael Joseph Vaughan
Michael Joseph Vaughan
| Credit: fruitland police

Residents of a rural Idaho town of 5,400 residents have turned out in force to join authorities searching for a 5-year-old boy reported missing on July 27.

"This whole community has come together and been absolutely incredible with their support," Jennifer Hanna, the missing boy's nanny, said at a vigil Friday night, reports KBOI-TV.

"We gotta find that kid," she said, speaking on behalf of his family. "We got to."

In a news conference Wednesday, Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff said Michael Joseph Vaughan was last seen near his residence around 6:30 p.m. July 27, about two hours before the first "missing and endangered child alert" went out to area residents.

Since then, the FBI and Idaho State Police have joined more than a dozen local law enforcement agencies to conduct "methodical and thorough searches," he said.

More than 3,000 acres of farmland have been covered with canine teams. Helicopters, drones, boats and paragliders have been used to search at least 29 miles of riverbank. A dive team was organized to search ponds.

The boy has yet to turn up.

"They're literally leaving no stone unturned," said Fruitland Mayor Brian Howell, who told The New York Times that he'd joined his neighbors in the search effort. "They're draining canals, they're checking homes. They're doing everything that they can do."

"I have never seen a police presence like this before," Huff said.

The police chief added: "I have to tell you that I spent my entire childhood in the neighborhood where Michael went missing. My children are growing up here. My law enforcement partners are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles or friends of children just like Michael. We are all in and we are committed to finding Michael."

Police and the City of Fruitland created a web page to log information in the search for Michael, who answers to the nickname "Monkey" and was last spotted wearing a light blue Minecraft shirt and black boxer briefs with lime green stitching, as well as size 11 flip-flop sandals.

Police asked anyone with information to email a tipline at findmichael@fruitland.org, or send anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers of Southwest Idaho, 208-343-COPS.