Attorneys for the government have reversed course and are now allowing the release of a man held after a woman was found dead in his vehicle in Yellowstone National Park last Saturday.
MTN News spoke with the mother of the woman found dead, who identified her daughter as 38-year-old Catheryn Griffin.
47-year-old Michael Wayne Mccollum of Texas will be released today, Thursday, May 18, 2023, after a video hearing at federal court in Mammoth, Wyoming. MTN News confirmed that Mccollum is being held in the Gallatin County Detention Center.
The Wyoming U.S. Attorney’s office originally asked that Mccollum be kept in detention because he was considered a flight risk and could pose a threat to the community. At the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Elmore of the Lander, WY U.S. Attorney’s Office offered no explanation for the change in the government’s position on the case.
Mccollum’s public defender, Laura Heinrich, proposed a $250 cash bond for his release but Federal Judge Stephanie Hambrick amended that proposal. She required instead a $2,500. non-cash bond required that Mccollum reside at his brother’s residence in Missouri, maintain every other week contact with his attorney, make all scheduled court appearances, and not break any laws while the case is pending. Judge Hambrick noted that Mccollum has what she called, “a sketchy history of making court appearances.” She admonished him to make sure he is present for all future court appearances or face criminal charges and possible jail time.
Mccollum’s passport was seized by Rangers when he was detained in Yellowstone last Saturday. That will be held by the court until his case is cleared. The judge also approved the release of Mccollum’s truck and wallet, both of which are now being held by Yellowstone rangers.
Mccollum was detained when he was found outside his truck last Saturday, about three miles south of Old Faithful on the road to West Thumb. Griffin was found inside the truck. Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said autopsy and toxicology reports for Griffin are expected in two to three weeks.
Mccollum is charged with three misdemeanors including, operating under a suspended or revoked license, possession of a controlled substance and occupants of his vehicle not wearing seat belts.
UPDATE: Man arrested in connection with woman found dead in Yellowstone National Park identified