Family prepared to stay as long as needed

Search for Ryan Shtuka enters 17th day, more search dogs on the way to help

Kamloops Search and Rescue returned to Sun Peaks to resume and expand the search for missing person Ryan Shtuka. Photo SPIN.

In the last two weeks snow has fallen, guests have come and gone and life has continued at Sun Peaks. But Ryan Shtuka’s parents are still in the community searching for their first born who has been missing since a  house party in the early morning hours of Saturday, Feb. 17.

While Kamloops Search and Rescue (KSAR) and Kamloops RCMP are no longer actively searching the area the family has continued to organize a search themselves.

Heather Shtuka, Ryan’s mother, said she believes he is still in Sun Peaks.

“The belief is Ryan is still out on the mountain, out in the elements,” she said.

Family and friends have done their best to learn about searching techniques and equipment and every part of the village has been covered in varying degrees of intensity.

Now they are regrouping and focusing on in depth searches of small areas with volunteers standing shoulder to shoulder.

“Every place on the map of this resort has been touched, but how well?,” said Heather. “We can’t say for absolutely sure. Now we’re going back to the beginning shoulder to shoulder, we will know with certainty he’s not there.”  

Ryan Shtuka was last seen Feb.17 on Burfield Dr.

The searches have been conducted by Sun Peaks’ residents and people travelling from Kamloops and Ryan’s home of Beaumont, Alta. who have returned to search the Burfield Dr. area again and expand from there. More volunteers are needed for the daily searches. The Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association will be in the resort March 7 through 9 to assist in the search. Volunteers are asked not to search during those days to give the teams space on their own. 

Ryan’s father, Scott, has been out daily looking for his son.

“Scott’s tired,” Heather said. “He gets up every morning, he puts on his snow pants and he goes out and searches for his son, and that’s tough for him.

“All day there’s never a break for him at all and he’s frustrated and he’s angry at himself that he cant find him, so that takes a toll.”

To help the family feel more stable they’ve moved into a home in the resort and have been visited by Ryan’s younger sisters and other family members and friends.

Their closeness as a family has been even more important as speculation abounds on social media.

“We get mediums that contact us and that speculate, and I get that it’s not an exact science, but when you’re sending me ‘He’s near snow and trees’ or ‘He’s been taken off the mountain, I’ve seen it’. Unless you can provide some more specific elements to it those have no value to me,” Heather said.

“I’m trying to stay in this place where I’m receiving the love, encouragement, and prayers. Sure I know that there’s those possibilities but nothing has told me that those have happened, so I keep them to the side in this little box.”

As that support comes and goes and as snow falls and melts and more guests come to visit Sun Peaks, Heather and Scott will be here searching through it all.

“Scott and I are not leaving until we find Ryan.”

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