The search for the 27-year-old has since been refocused, with Heather Mycoskie now banned from Grand Teton Park and fined $17,600 for providing false information.
Cian’s mother, Grainne McLaughlin said her son (27) was drawn to Wyoming for the mountains.
Friends and family have been left devastated by his disappearance and searches have been ongoing since last year.
Cian, originally from Dublin, was last seen in the park on June 8, 2021.
An investigation revealed that on June 21, 2021, Heather Mycoskie provided false information about seeing an individual matching his description.
"Cian was very outgoing, friendly and sociable kind of guy, he was here in Wyoming for two years where he was a snowboard instructor in the winter and worked in the local bars in the summer,” his mother Grainne McLaughlin said on RTÉ Radio One’s
“He was drawn to Wyoming for the mountains, he loved the outdoors.
“From everybody’s point of view, we know he went missing on the mountains, that something tragic happened.”
Ms McLaughlin is currently in Wyoming to assist with searches and said they are still looking for his red iPhone, red watch, his sunglasses and a silver chain, and that the rangers will be putting up new posters without the false information.
Asked if it was upsetting that valuable time was wasted due to the false information, she said: “Yes it is very upsetting, we were informed of this during our last visit in October but we very quickly put that behind us and to just refocus on the higher mountain areas and now that we are back here in Wyoming as the snow begins to melt and the rangers can study the map and terrain and identify other search areas and so we are hoping to refocus peoples attention to the higher mountain areas.”
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.
She reported she had seen McLaughlin in the late afternoon/early evening of Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the day of his disappearance.
She told investigators the missing man 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.
Teton Park ranger CJ Adams said “valuable time was wasted” and “as a direct result of her false information 532 hours were spent conducting searches” which could possibly have been in the wrong place.
In a statement, a Grand Teton spokesperson said a woman “had knowingly provided false information and a false report in search for missing hiker Cian McLaughlin.”
“Per deferred prosecution agreement, she is banned from Grand Teton for five years and ordered to pay restitution of $17,600”.
He added that she gave false information about the hiker so searches would continue.
“The subsequent investigation revealed Mycoskie never saw anyone matching McLaughlin’s description on June 8, 2021, in Grand Teton National Park,” Grand Teton said. “Additionally, witnesses reported Mycoskie fabricated the sighting to ensure search efforts continued. All other potential sightings of McLaughlin were on the trail system that leads towards Garnet Canyon, Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes, and Delta Lake.
“In September 2021, computer forensics revealed that McLaughlin had conducted several internet searches focused on Delta Lake just prior to his hike.
“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.”
Search efforts were paused during the winter months due to dangerous conditions and will now resume.
An updated flyer containing details of the items he was last wearing has now been published.
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 which include a red Apple watch, a red iPhone 12 mini, gold wire rimmed sunglasses, a silver U shaped pendant, and a white t-shirt.
Cian, who grew up in south Dublin and attend Newpark Comprehensive secondary school in Blackrock, was an only child and had dual Irish-American citizenship.
He studied at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) for a year, but his plan was always to move Stateside.
His best friend Max Newman previously told the Irish Independent: “Anyone who knows Cian, loves Cian. He had a unique and genuine energy about him and is somewhat of a local legend. It’s hard to comprehend what has happened.”