Communities rally around family to support
The mother of missing person and Sun Peaks resident Ryan Shtuka is hopeful she and her family will have answers soon.
Heather Shtuka and her husband Scott received a message from Ryan’s roommate late on Feb. 17 saying Ryan hadn’t showed up at work and they had filed a missing persons report, but not to worry.
The couple quickly decided to make the nine hour drive from Beaumont, Alta. to Sun Peaks.
“We expected to find him within the first couple of hours,” said Heather.”It was about 60 minutes outside of Kamloops, that’s when our stomachs were turning, that sense of our hearts were racing. I think because we expected that as soon as we arrived they’d tell us that they’d found Ryan.”
Ryan was last seen in the early morning hours of Feb. 17 at a house party on Burfield Drive. He was wearing dark grey jeans, a white and grey shirt, blue jacket and burgundy hat. Anyone with information has been asked to contact the RCMP or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
A snowboard lover, he came to Sun Peaks in December with some friends to work for Sun Peaks Resort LLP. It wasn’t his first time in the resort; his family rented a home to celebrate New Year’s Eve a few years ago.
When Heather and Scott arrived in the resort early Sunday morning Kamloops Search and Rescue (KSAR) established a command centre where they organized more than 20 members and over 70 public volunteers.
By Monday morning KSAR’s search was suspended, something Heather said she understands.
“I understand that people are talking about (it being) suspended and are disappointed,” she said. “But their manager Alan Mole came and kept us updated the entire time. They showed us exactly what they were doing and how much effort they had given. That man was as shattered as we were when they came to us Sunday night and said they couldn’t find a trace of him.”
Searching continued after the weekend. RCMP scoured the area with police dogs and used a helicopter to look from the air.
Volunteers from Sun Peaks and Beaumont have continued to mobilize search parties and local businesses and residents have rallied around the family to support them, with offers of billeting and hot meals.
Spiritual medium and family friend Derryn Donaghey arrived in Sun Peaks Feb. 19 to assist with the search. A GoFundMe for the family raised more than $20,000 in one day.
One of Ryan’s two younger sisters, Julianna, asked people to light a candle in their window to spread hope and light for the family and social media pages were flooded with people honouring her wish. Services and fundraisers have taken place in Beaumont to aid the family.
Heather said they’re grateful for the support in their hometown and in Sun Peaks.
“Sun Peaks’ community, and for sure the surrounding area, should be proud of who they are…My son was really happy here. You can see how people have rallied and we’re just so grateful.”
With no evidence found as of Feb. 21 Heather and Scott are left with no answers about the night he disappeared or his whereabouts.
“I want to do whatever I can to bring him home,” Heather said. “Everybody loved him, his friends really loved him. Around 12 of them drove here to assist in searching. He inspired that loyalty in people. He’s sarcastic, funny, smart. He’s a great person.”
For updates on the search go to sunpeaksnews.com.