The ex-wife of Toms Shoes founder has admitted to deliberately providing false information when searching for a missing Irish walker – but she claimed she did so to revive rescue efforts – not to hinder them.
Heather Mycoskie, 40, reported last June that she saw Cian McLaughlin, 27, of Jackson on the day he disappeared and that he was on his way to Taggart Lake in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, because he was planning to climb off his favorite rock to jump the water.
But the information turned out to be false, and other people told investigators Mycoskie, who was previously married to Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, invented the sighting to ensure search efforts continued, park officials said.
“I actually lied,” Mycoskie told Fox News Digital. “I made a false statement, but it was all based on information I received.”
Last week, park officials banned Mycoskie from visiting the northeast Wyoming park for five years and paying $17,600 under a deferred prosecution agreement.
Such agreements allow defendants to avoid prosecution if they meet certain requirements.
Heather Mycoskie reported last June that she saw Cian McLaughlin, 27, of Jackson, on the day he disappeared nearly two weeks earlier, and that he was on his way to Taggart Lake with plans to climb off his favorite rock to jump in the water
All other sightings put McLaughlin (pictured), who is still missing after disappearing on June 8, 2021, on trails leading to another area of the park
Mycoskie said she sent authorities a false tip because she feared authorities would scale back their search efforts – and she believed if she claimed to have seen McLaughlin at a place where he was known to have wandered, it would revive him .
All other sightings put McLaughlin, who is still missing after disappearing on June 8, 2021, on trails that lead to another area of the park, according to the statement.
“I’m very sorry and would like to apologize, but I lied,” Mycoskie told Fox News. “I hope his family can understand that I wasn’t trying to hurt the search or mislead anyone.”
But Mycoskie’s false report meant officers spent more than 500 fruitless hours searching, conducting investigations and completing reports, park officials said.
Mycoskie, a longtime activist and former model, said she learned from a bartender that McLaughlin likes to hike near Taggart Lake while having lunch at the bistro restaurant in Jackson, where McLaughlin worked.
“She was very credible to me and seemed like a very valuable resource,” Mycoskie said.
“She said she thought he entered the park and most likely went to Taggart Lake because that was one of his favorite places to go, jump off a rock and go for a swim.
A helicopter searches for McLaughlin in Grand Teton National Park in June last year
Mycoskie was previously married to TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie (pictured together in 2018), who sold his Jackson home in November, the Jackson Hole News&Guide reported
“She said she shared that information with officials, but they didn’t take it seriously and they followed other tips and looked in a different area.”
Mycoskie said she feared authorities would divert their attention to other trails in the national park, so she felt “forced” to send the wrong tip so they could focus on the Lake Taggart area.
“I said I saw him walking towards Taggart Lake, and to me it sounded like he was walking towards Taggart Lake,” she said. “And that’s what I did, and that was my big mistake too, probably the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life — I lied and made a false statement that I saw him.”
McLaughlin had dual Irish-American citizenship and moved to Jackson Hole in 2019, where he worked as a bartender and snowboard instructor, his mother Gráinne McLaughlin said.
While Cian McLaughlin spent most of his life in Ireland, his father was from Montana and he lived there for several years as a young child. He maintained a “close connection to the States and especially to the mountains,” his mother said.
“Cian was an incredible person full of life and we miss him dearly,” said Gráinne McLaughlin.
The deferred prosecution agreement allows Mycoskie to continue using Jackson Hole Airport, located in Grand Teton, and the main road through the park so long as it does not stop or rebuild.
Rescuers gather to discuss their search efforts after McLaughlin went missing in June 2021
Mycoskie’s attorney, pending the signing of the deferred prosecution agreement in February, Darci Phillips, has since been appointed Wyoming District Judge and declined to comment Friday.
Mycoskie, formerly Jackson, recently relocated to Costa Rica.
She was previously married to TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, who sold his Jackson home in November, the Jackson Hole News&Guide reported.
Searchers plan to continue searching for McLaughlin this summer, and park officials are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to call 888-653-0009.
Hikers were also asked to keep an eye out for items McLaughlin was believed to be carrying when he disappeared, including a red Apple Watch, a red iPhone 12 mini, gold glasses, a silver U-shaped charm and a white T-shirt . shirt.