Mother of hiker missing in US says false report was 'very upsetting'

Mother of hiker missing in US says false report was 'very upsetting'

Olivia Kelleher

The mother of Cian McLaughlin has described the “very upsetting” 532 hours spent investigating a false report made by a woman who claimed she had seen the 27-year-old missing hiker in a specific area in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on the day he disappeared.

Mr McLaughlin was last seen at the US National Park on June 8th, 2021 having embarked on a hike. Thirteen days later Heather Mycoskie (40) of Jackson, Wyoming provided false information and a false report to the authorities. She has since been fined $17,600 (€16,500).
In an interview on RTÉ's Morning Ireland Grainne McLaughlin, the mother of missing Cian, said she was informed of the situation with Ms Mycoskie last October when she visited Wyoming before snow closed the search activity down for the winter.
Ms Mycoskie had given a detailed description of Mr McLaughlin. She said she had spoken to the Dubliner and that he was planning to go south towards Taggart Lake with the intention of jumping off his favourite rock into the water.
Arising out of an investigation where it was found she had falsified the information she has been banned from the National Park for a period of five years.

Unforgiving terrain

Ms McLaughlin said whilst there was a great deal of upset about the false claim they have decided to put the incident behind them in order to refocus on the search for a much loved son.
“We quickly put that behind us to focus on the higher mountain areas. Now we are back here in Wyoming as the snow begins to melt still, the rangers have continued to study the map and terrain and identify other search areas. And so we are hoping now to refocus the attention of people to the higher mountain areas.”
Ms McLaughlin admits the search involves an unforgiving terrain.
“There is still quite a lot of snow, and you have high temperatures which is melting the snow at a rapid rate so it just makes conditions on the ground very, very dangerous. Especially at the higher area.”
Ms McLaughlin is re oining the search for her son one year after he went missing in Wyoming. She said Cian was a very “outgoing, friendly and sociable.” He had lived in Wyoming for two years where he was employed as a snow board instructor during the winter, and in bars during the summer.
“He was drawn to Wyoming because of the mountains and the skiing and for the summer hiking. Loving the outdoors. We know that he went missing on this hike and that something tragic happened.”
 She says she has been talking to walkers and mountaineers and asking them to keep an eye out for Cian.
“The rangers are going to be putting up new posters again. The posters are actually still there from last year. (We are looking) for Cian’s red iphone, his red watch, sunglasses and a silver chain. They have those in picture form and are asking people to be on the lookout as they go hiking during the summer. “

Rescue mission

Ms McLaughlin says on this particular trip Cian set out with a bottle of water and was wearing a short-sleeved t shirt and a pair of shorts.
When Cian was first reported missing, a massive rescue mission swung in to action. However, the operation was scaled back after days of searching didn't find any trace of the hiker. Over 50 missions have been launched by helicopter search teams, with thermal imaging playing a key role in the hunt for Cian.
 The operations have navigated steep, technical terrain in hazardous areas. Many areas require an ice axe, crampons, rope and other protective equipment.
Mr McLaughlin had dual Irish and US citizenship. He was well versed in the mountains having grown up going on walks with his mother and other family members.