Missing snowmobiler call was a 'false report,' says RCMP

Just before midnight on Jan. 7, Hay River RCMP received a call from someone who identified themselves as Shawn Lafferty, 20, and said that they were lost. That was a false report, police now say.

A man identifying himself as Shawn Lafferty called the Hay River RCMP on Jan. 7 saying he was lost

Search and rescue teams board a Hercules aircraft in Yellowknife on Jan. 10, to search for the snowmobiler who reported himself missing earlier in January. (Submitted by Shai Topaz)

Police say that the man who reported himself as a lost snowmobiler earlier in January gave a "false report."

In a news release Wednesday, RCMP thanked the public and media for their help in the search and rescue efforts for the "possible lost snowmobiler."

Police said that making a false report to police is criminal — and that it "ties up resources that could be better used responding to where they are truly needed," in the news release.

Just before midnight on Jan. 7, Hay River RCMP got a call from someone who identified themselves as Shawn Lafferty, 20, and said that they were lost.

Police said at the time the caller was unable to provide a location. The call had come from a tower near Behchoko, but the poor signal made communication difficult. The man was believed to be in the area of Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Providence, Behchoko or Whati. 

Ground and air searches were organized in the areas around Behchoko and Whati, especially near areas with cabins.

A Hercules aircraft was also dispatched in search of the man.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information on the person responsible for making the hoax calls is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.