By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The National Park Service has banned a former Jackson woman from Grand Teton National Park for five years for knowingly providing false information to law enforcement about a missing Irish hiker, officials said Thursday.
The park service said Heather Mycoskie, 40, knowingly provided false information and a false report in the search for missing hiker Cian McLaughlin, who was last seen on June 8, 2021. In addition to her park ban, Mycoskie was ordered to pay $17,600 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
An investigation revealed that on June 21, 2021, Mycoskie provided false information to investigators about seeing an individual matching the description of McLaughlin.
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, according to park officials.
McLaughlin is still missing.
Mycoskie reported she saw McLaughlin in the late afternoon/early evening of June 8, 2021, the day of McLaughlin’s disappearance.
She also told investigators the missing man was hiking on the south side of the Bradley-Taggart moraine in Grand Teton National Park and was headed south towards Taggart Lake where he planned to jump off his favorite rock into the water.
Officials said 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. Witnesses reported Mycoskie fabricated the sighting to ensure search efforts continued.
All other reported sightings of McLaughlin were on the trail system that leads towards Garnet Canyon, Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes and Delta Lake, according to NPS officials.
In September 2021, computer forensics revealed McLaughlin had conducted several internet searches focused on Delta Lake just prior to his hike.
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.
These include a red Apple watch, a red iPhone 12 mini, gold wire-rimmed sunglasses, a silver U shaped pendant and a white t-shirt.
According to an article by the Irish Times, McLaughlin is a Dublin native who works as a snowboard instructor in Jackson. The newspaper also noted his Facebook page said he started working at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in December 2020 and that he previously lived in the French ski resort town of Chamonix.
McLaughlin’s mother visited the park last fall and told an Irish news outlet she was prepared to recover, not rescue, her son.
McLaughlin was the only person who disappeared in the park last summer to not yet be found. Gabby Petito was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest, not far from the park, in mid-September and her death has been ruled a homicide.
Robert Lowery also was last seen in Grand Teton last August, and his body was found in September, as well. His death was ruled a suicide.