False information in search for missing hiker results in five-year ban from Grand Teton National Park
The following is a news release from Grand Teton National Park.
MOOSE, Wyoming — Heather Mycoskie, 40, previously of Jackson, Wyoming, knowingly provided false information and a false report in the search for missing hiker Cian McLaughlin. Per a deferred prosecution agreement, Mycoskie is banned from Grand Teton National Park for a period of five years and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $17,600 to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
An investigation revealed that on June 21, 2021, Heather Mycoskie provided false information to investigators about seeing an individual matching the description of missing hiker Cian McLaughlin. Mycoskie reported she had seen McLaughlin in the late afternoon/early evening of Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the day of McLaughlin’s disappearance. Mycoskie told investigators the missing man was hiking on the south side of the Bradley-Taggart moraine in Grand Teton National Park, and he was headed south towards Taggart Lake where he planned to jump off his favorite rock into the water.
Mycoskie provided a very detailed description of McLaughlin and stated she had a discussion with him in which he shared where he lived, where he was from, and his place of employment. The subsequent investigation revealed Mycoskie never saw anyone matching McLaughlin’s description on June 8, 2021, in Grand Teton National Park. Additionally, witnesses reported Mycoskie fabricated the sighting to ensure search efforts continued. All other potential sightings of McLaughlin were on the trail system that leads towards Garnet Canyon, Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes, and Delta Lake. In September 2021, computer forensics revealed that McLaughlin had conducted several internet searches focused on Delta Lake just prior to his hike.
As a direct result of Mycoskie’s false report, approximately 532 hours were spent conducting searches, managing search efforts, conducting follow up investigations, and completing associated reports. This wasted valuable time that could have been focused on searching areas of higher probability and it cost the Federal Government approximately $17,600. The deferred prosecution agreement was signed on February 10, 2022.
June 8 marks one year since Cian McLaughlin went missing. Search efforts will continue during the summer of 2022. Backcountry users in Grand Teton National Park are encouraged to contact the Tip Line (888-653-0009) if they locate any of the items that McLaughlin was suspected to have had with him at the time of his disappearance which include a red Apple watch, a red iPhone 12 mini, gold wire rimmed sunglasses, a silver U shaped pendant, and a white t-shirt.