“This is not a rescue, it is a recovery, but I’d like to bring him home,” says the mother of the young man who went missing in Grand Teton National Park.
Coming to such a realization is a nightmare for any parent. But Gráinne McLaughlin is remaining as realistic as possible in the continuing search for her son.
Cian McLaughlin was last seen alive on June 8, 2021 in Grant Teton National Park. His great love for the outdoors brought him from the family’s native Ireland all the way to Wyoming for what promised to be the adventure of a lifetime. Tragically, Cian would disappear during a mountain hike without a trace.
In the wake of the heartbreaking tragedy of Gabby Petito, America’s passion for missing persons has been ignited. As a result, Gráinne is pleading for anyone who may be able to help locate her son come forward with any evidence or tips they may have. It is the information provided by fellow hikers, after all, that led to the direct discovery of 22-year-old Gabby Petito’s body right outside Grand Teton National Park.
Cian was last seen on hiking trails in the national park, where his family continues to walk in search of him. Initially, his disappearance would spark a massive search operation including K9 units, helicopters, and swaths of search & rescue officials and volunteers. Give then time that has passed, however, the search for Cian has been greatly scaled back. But Gráinne refuses to give up hope of closure for her family.
“Cian was an outgoing guy who loved the outdoors,” the mother tells RTÉ News. “This is not a rescue, it is a recovery… But I’d like to bring him home. I know he is up there somewhere.”
“I went through a huge amount of grief at that time,” Gráinne recalls of her initial shock over Cian’s disappearance. “We arrived on 17 June and pretty much two days later we were told this was a recovery operation. That was really hard.”
Cian’s Family Asks All Visitors to Grand Teton in June 2021 to Please Reach Out With Potential Tips
For anyone in Grand Teton National Park during the month of June 2021, please contact state authorities. His mother also asks that anyone with possible tips post online using the hashtag: #FindCian.
Cian’s uncle, Colm O’Higgins continues to search Grand Teton with Gráinne. He, too, is providing a way for park visitors to help in their search.
“Knowing Cian as being very sociable and chatty, he definitely would have talked to people and so someone may remember having seen him on the trail,” Colm adds.
“Our appeal is to anybody who was in the park around June 8th and who may have taken photos. We are asking them to have a look at their pictures and see if there is someone in the background. They can share them with us at [email protected].”
In the meantime, Grand Teton National Park Chief Ranger Erika Jostad reassures the public that park staff is doing all they can.
“The search for Cian won’t end from our perspective until we find him,” Jostad tells RTE News.