Woman banned from Grand Teton park for lies about missing hiker

A woman who lied about seeing a missing hiker has been banned for five years from Grand Teton National Park and ordered to pay $17,600, the park announced.

Cian McLaughlin. (Via National Park Service)

Two weeks into the search for Cian McLaughlin, the woman — Heather Mycoskie, 40, then living in Jackson, Wyo. She — she gave rangers a detailed account of a conversation she claimed she had with him on June 8, 2021, the day he disappeared. Because of her report her that he planned to head toward Taggart Lake, searchers shifted their attention to that area.

It was later determined that Mycoskie had never seen anyone matching McLaughlin’s description on that day in the park.

“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,” said a press release from the park.

All other evidence suggests that McLaughlin was headed toward Delta Lake, about a five-mile hike from Taggart Lake.

The sanctions against Mycoskie are part of a deferred prosecution agreement, in which she avoids prosecution in exchange for agreeing to meet certain requirements. A similar ban was imposed in April against a climber who lied in an attempt to get a helicopter ride off Alaska’s Denali last year.

Grand Teton park said that, though a year has passed, search efforts for McLaughlin will continue.

McLaughlin, 27, originally from Dublin, Ireland, was living in Jackson and working as a snowboard instructor at the time he disappeared. The last known sighting of him is on the afternoon of June 8, 2021, near the park’s Lupine Meadows Trailhead. He failed to turn up for work on June 10 and was reported missing two days later.

His car was found at the Lupine Meadows Trailhead, and the last ping from his cellphone was on a road about 4 miles south.

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