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Deceased woman found in Yellowstone identified; man to appear in court on charges from same day


Deceased woman found in Yellowstone identified; man to appear in court on charges from same day

May 17, 2023 | 6:32 pm ET
By Keila Szpaller
Deceased woman found in Yellowstone identified; man to appear in court on charges from same day
Visitors to Yellowstone Park walk around Old Faithful after an eruption on the park's opening day in May 2020. (Photo by Jacob W. Frank, courtesy of National Park Service)

The woman found deceased this weekend in Yellowstone National Park has been identified as Catheryn Griffin, 38, according to the Teton County (Wyoming) Coroner’s Office.

Griffin’s death remains under investigation, according to park and county authorities.

Coroner Brent Blue said Wednesday officials believe Griffin is from Florida, but they also have addresses for her in Alabama and Mississippi.

“So we do not have a confirmed residence address at this time,” Blue said.

He said he is awaiting reports from the National Park Service and FBI, and an autopsy from a forensic pathologist; he anticipates a cause of death will not be available for at least another couple of weeks.

Griffin was found Saturday evening in an incident in Yellowstone.

Michael McCollum, 47, is due to appear Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wyoming on violations that took place the same day a male was detained in Yellowstone National Park with a deceased female inside his car.

McCollum, of Texas, is in custody and charged with the following three misdemeanors, according to court documents: Operating with a suspended or revoked license; possession of a controlled substance; and occupants not using seat belts.

Court documents note he was arraigned Monday and pleaded not guilty. A motion from the U.S. Attorney’s Office identifies McCollum as a flight risk and at risk of obstructing justice.

Lori Hogan, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wyoming, said McCollum was arrested the same day the incident occurred in Yellowstone, but she did not have information that directly connected him to that case. She said he would appear in court in Mammoth.

In its news release Monday, Yellowstone said park rangers responded to an incident Saturday on Craig Pass roughly three miles south of Old Faithful. It said they observed a single vehicle driven into a snowbank with a male standing outside, and they located the deceased female inside.

“The male was detained and subsequently arrested for drug possession and other traffic-related charges,” the news release said. “Investigators are determining what led to the female’s death.”

The news release said additional information would be provided as the investigation proceeds.

The National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch and Yellowstone Law Enforcement Division is conducting the investigation with support from the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Teton County Coroner’s Office, the news release said.

The park said the road between Old Faithful and West Thumb was closed for roughly 24 hours while the scene was being processed and was reopened Sunday evening.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the name of the deceased provided earlier by law enforcement.