Fruitland Woman arrested in connection to missing Michael Vaughan case

Posted at 3:02 PM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 17:32:57-05

PAYETTE, Idaho — A Fruitland woman was arraigned in a Payette County courtroom via Zoom Monday afternoon for failing to report the death of missing Fruitland boy Michael “Monkey” Vaughan.

Sarah Wondra alleged no wrongdoing at her arraignment saying, “I understand what they’ve said. It’s not correct." She is now being held on a $500,000 bond.

Late Monday, court records showed a judge requested Wondra undergo a mental competency evaluation.

Court records now show the mental competency evaluation was completed on Thursday. While the findings of the report cannot be made public, it's expected to be discussed Monday during her status conference.

If all parties are prepared, and Wondra has been found competent, she is expected back in court Tuesday for her preliminary hearing.

On Tuesday, public records were taken offline related to the case as a motion was discussed to seal additional information. The file was unsealed and put back online Wednesday. Wondra remains in custody.

As we’ve reported, investigators have been digging up the backyard of a home off Redwing Street in Fruitland for three days after they say someone who lives in the home gave them a “credible tip” to search the backyard.

Wondra currently lives at that address and says she is a self-employed taxi driver.

Vaughan was last seen July 27, 2021 at his family's home which is only a few blocks away from the dig site.

Neighbors tell us digging equipment arrived Friday, the day Wondra was taken into custody. The street is blocked off.

Related: Investigators digging up backyard in connection to missing Fruitland boy

Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff said Monday that investigators believe there are more people with knowledge of what happened to Michael Vaughan, but would not provide information as to what was discovered during the search.

Search crews remained on scene through Monday afternoon and plan to return Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

Michael Vaughan 1
Missing person poster for Michael "Monkey" Vaughan. Photo: Doug Lock-Smith

During her arraignment, Wondra was appointed an attorney, Jolene Maloney.

The state originally asked for a $1 million bond arguing Wondra is a danger to the public and was already on pre-trial release for a felony charge related to illegally possessing a firearm as a felon.

"She is a danger to the community and she fails to abide by the social norms we all expect," prosecutors argued. "And there are obviously very serious implications in her being aware of his whereabouts this whole time.”

Should Wondra post her bond, she'll be required to set up GPS monitoring with pre-trial release services prior to release. She will be required to stay in Idaho, remain sober, stay in contact with her attorney, and appear in court for future hearings.

Wondra has a status conference set for November 21 at 10:00 a.m. and a preliminary hearing set for November 22 at 9:00 a.m. in Payette County.

The court also ruled to seal the investigative reports and affidavits in the case, citing concerns of contaminating a potential jury should the case go to trial. The investigation is also ongoing.