Wyoming news briefs for June 13

Newcastle police chief arrested, resigns

NEWCASTLE — Too many beers and a joke gone wrong led to a domestic dispute call and the arrest of Newcastle Police Chief Samuel Keller, 58, and the Newcastle City Council began the process of finding and hiring a new chief.

Keller tendered his resignation within 24 hours of his arrest, pleaded guilty and was released on his own recognizance, according to court documents and reports from Weston County Sheriff Bryan Colvard. 

Records showed deputies responded to a report of a domestic dispute at a Newcastle home on May 30.

According to an affidavit filed by Deputy Dan Fields, when he met with a woman at the house, she had a laceration under her right eye, her cheek bone and both dried and fresh blood on her face.

“She stated she tipped him back where he was sitting near a table, and she ran about approximately 8 feet away, where he picked up the full beer and threw it at her,” the affidavit says. “She stated they talked about it for a while and drank some more beers, along with the one that was thrown.” 

After consulting with Colvard, Fields placed Keller under arrest for domestic assault.

On the evening of June 6, the Newcastle City Council adjourned to an executive session at the end of their regularly scheduled meeting. When they returned to open session, they voted unanimously to accept Keller’s resignation without any further discussion.


Woman banned from Grand Teton for providing false info in search

JACKSON — A former Jackson resident has been banned from Grand Teton National Park and ordered to pay restitution after park officials say she knowingly provided false information in the search for a missing hiker last summer that cost park officials hundreds of hours looking in the wrong location.

An investigation revealed that on June 21, 2021, Heather Mycoskie, 40, provided false information to investigators about seeing an individual matching the description of 27-year-old missing hiker Cian McLaughlin.

“Per a deferred prosecution agreement, Mycoskie is banned from Grand Teton National Park for a period of five years and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $17,600 to the Department of Treasury,” a Grand Teton National Park press release stated Thursday.

According to the park service press release, Mycoskie reported that she had seen McLaughlin in the late afternoon or early evening of Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the day of McLaughlin’s disappearance.

Mycoskie told investigators the missing man was hiking on the south side of the Bradley-Taggart moraine in Grand Teton National Park and was headed south toward Taggart Lake, where he planned to jump off his favorite rock into the water.

However, subsequent investigation revealed that Mycoskie never saw anyone matching McLaughlin’s description on June 8 in the park.

Investigators said witnesses reported that Mycoskie had fabricated the sighting to ensure search efforts continued.

“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,” the press release said.


Algae warning issued for Gillette lake

GILLETTE — A potentially dangerous level of blue-green algae was confirmed in the Gillette Fishing Lake, and an advisory is now in place.

The Wyoming Department of Health issued a recreational use advisory for the Fishing Lake last week, according to the City of Gillette.

The lake remains open under the advisory, which warns the public and pets from coming into contact with the water.

The suspicious waters were reported to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality earlier this month. A sample was taken June 6 on the south shore and the results showed the presence of the bloom, triggering the advisory.

Under the advisory, its recommended that people avoid contact with water near the blooms, especially where the blooms are most dense and visible.

The water may be especially harmful for animals and pets who come in contact with the water.

The city already advises against eating fish caught in the Fishing Lake. The advisory call for rinsing fish caught in bodies of water under an advisory, and for eating only the fillet portion, not the skin.

Boiling, filtering or treating water will not remove the toxins.

The bloom advisory in the fishing lake is the only active advisory in Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality advisories map.