I sure hope this isn’t true.

After five days of searching to no avail, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office now believes that the Marine who was lost in the mountains was never missing and may have staged his disappearance.

7,000 man-hours went into the search. The cost was enormous. Authorities have charged Steve Powers, the man who was rock-climbing with missing marine Lance Hering, with false reporting:

Powers, 20, was arrested Wednesday night after he admitted during police questioning that he made up the story about the hiking accident and helped Hering stage his disappearance, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said. “There were a number of inconsistencies in his story and as we pursued that with him in an extensive interview last night, he ultimately confessed that he and Mr. Hering had colluded in staging this whole event,” Boulder County Sheriff’s Lt. Phil West said.

Boulder has also released the costs of the John Mark Karr investigation: $40,000. The citizens of Boulder have taken quite a hit this month.