(NewsNation) — There’s a shocking new development in the search for a missing hiker. The National Park Service says Cian McLaughlin, who has dual Irish-U.S. citizenship, went missing June 8, 2021. Now, more than a year later, officials say a Wyoming woman made up a fake tip that wasted hundreds of dollars in the search.
McLaughlin, a 27-year-old hiker originally from Ireland, disappeared last summer. He was last seen hiking in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Investigators found his car, but had no clue as to where he could be.
Last October, NewsNation spoke to his mother about the investigation and asked if she had any idea what may have happened to her son.
“I do not. At this stage, we have absolutely no idea. We’re trying to kind of understand what might have happened,” McLaughlin’s mother said.
Now, the National Park Service says Heather Mycoskie, 40, from Jackson, intentionally provided false information about McLaughlin. Rangers banned her from Grand Teton National Park for five years.
In a statement, the National Park Service said, “This wasted valuable time that could have been focused on searching areas of higher probability and it cost the federal government approximately $17,600.”
According to the park service, Mycoskie reported seeing McLaughlin the day he disappeared and said he was headed toward Taggart Lake because he planned to jump off his favorite rock into the water.
Following an investigation, park officials say that proved false and other people told investigators Mycoskie made up the sighting to keep the search going.
All other sightings put McLaughlin on trails heading toward a different area of the park.
It’s not clear if McLaughlin knew Mycoskie. His mother says she was not aware of any connection.
McLaughlin was living in Jackson, Wyoming, working as a snow board instructor and bartender. He was hiking on the Lupine Meadows trail when a witness saw him at around 3:45 p.m. June 8, 2021.
Last fall, McLaughlin’s mother made an appeal to the public.
“We’re really appealing to anybody who was the park on June 8th, 9th or 10th to look back at their videos, their photographs. They may have caught Cian in the background. If you had met Cian, he’s got a very distinctive Irish accent also,” she said.
McLaughlin was an experienced outdoorsman, but officials say the conditions on the trail were dangerous in early June 2021 with melting snow and ice. That same month, the rescue officially became a recovery effort.
Despite that news, McLaughlin’s mother decided she needed to go to the park to connect with her son.
“I know he’s there, and I want to bring him home,” she told NewsNation.
The search for McLaughlin continues this summer.