A WOMAN in the US has been fined $17,600 for providing false information during the search for missing Irish hiker Cian McLaughlin.
The 27-year-old from Dublin was last seen at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Tuesday 8 June.
Heather Mycoskie, 40, has now been charged for knowingly providing false information and a false report in the search for McLaughlin. She has also been banned from the park for a period of five years.
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.
Mycoskie reported she had seen McLaughlin in the late afternoon/early evening of Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the day of McLaughlin’s disappearance. She told investigators he 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 favourite rock into the water.
She said she had spoken with Cian and provided a detailed description of where he lived, where he was from, and his place of employment. Additionally, witnesses reported Mycoskie fabricated the sighting to ensure search efforts continued.
Speaking about Ms Mycoskie, mother of Cian Grainne McLaughlin told RTÉ's Morning Ireland today that they are putting the incident behind them to focus on the search.
"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," she said. "And so we are hoping now to refocus the attention of people to the higher mountain areas."
Search efforts for Cian McLaughlin will continue this summer.
Hikers are encouraged to contact authorities if they find any of the items he is believed to have brought with him.
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.
When he first went missing, a search operation was launched involving dozens of park rangers, volunteers and dog teams and helicopters.
However, following days of searching with no progress, the search was scaled back.