September 20 2019
The family and friends of 14-year-old Portland girl Yashanee Vaughn continued today to look for clues of her death.
There has been no sign of Yashanee since March 19. Police have said she was killed, but they have not found her body.
The effort was split into two different groups.
Law enforcement officers and professional searchers made up one team and a mixture of concerned citizens the other.
The first team searched Rocky Butte hills in Northeast Portland but they did not find and clues. They will continue tomorrow. Police have not clearly stated if they're looking for Yashanee's body or related clues.
Yesterday, two searchers were injured after they fell off a steep hill. We cannot confirm if the searchers were seriously injured.
"There's some steep hills and holes, all kinds of crevices," said Multnomah County Sheriff's spokeswoman Diana Olsen.
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Unit, with the assistance of dozens of search and rescue volunteers from Oregon and Southwest Washington, is leading the effort. The Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office say they appreciate the community interest in assisting with the search but ask that people not directly involved in the coordinated search effort to please stay our of the area.
Approximately 75 volunteers are assisting with the search, along with members of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Mountain Wave Communication, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Clark County Citizen Search and Rescue, Portland Mountain Rescue, Northern Oregon Search and Rescue, and Silver Star.
Yesterday searchers combed 17 acres of Rocky Butte. Climbers from Portland Mountain Rescue repelled down a cliff but apparently found nothing.
Community volunteers say they have found no clues anywhere near Madison High School or other areas around where Yashanee Vaughn was last seen.
"I just wanted to help because I have a teenage girl and this is so sad. I just had to do something to help instead of just watching the news," said volunteer Nora Jameson.
Jennifer Mau, part of the organized team, said, "Somebody out there knows what happened and hopefully they'll come clean."
On Friday, 16-year-old Parrish Bennette pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.
Portland Police are offering a reward of $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in this case. Anyone with information can remain anonymous and should call Crime Stoppers at 503-823-4357.
A Yashanee family spokesperson said the family thanks all searchers for their help.
"I think she would be going person to person with that beautiful, bold smile," said Vaughn's cousin, Desiree Turner. "And I think she would tell everybody things would be OK and that she loves us."
Yashanee was reported missing on March 21. Police had first thought she was a runaway. Even though her body has not been found, on Thursday, police made the announcement they believed she had been killed by Bennette. They have not yet said why they believe she was killed but that evidence points to Bennette. There has been no announced motive for the killing.
Photo 1: Search for Yashanee Vaughn continues today