Volunteers canvas East Village for signs of missing person Ryan Shtuka
Preparing for the inevitable winter snowfall, Scott Shtuka, father of missing resident Ryan Shtuka, spent last weekend constructing billboards in areas surrounding Sun Peaks in hopes of keeping momentum going in the search for his son.
Ryan has been missing since Feb. 17 after a house party on Burfield Dr.
“Keeping awareness up with the new employees working up in Sun Peaks, people that are there and new tourists… so keeping that exposure and awareness going,” said Scott. “That was our key goal this weekend was to get that done and obviously searching as well.”
The three new billboards are a key tool for the ongoing search for Shtuka. Signs were placed on private property along Heffley Louis Creek Rd. and towards Agate Bay Rd., covering all routes to the resort.
Scott said he and wife Heather are thankful for the continued efforts and generosity of the property owners.
On Oct. 13 and 14, 24 volunteers came to Sun Peaks to assist in Scott’s search in what social media supporters called the Show up for Scott event.
“That’s huge, it’s absolutely huge. We’re so grateful for all the support of everybody. It makes me cry actually that people still come from (as far as) Regina,” said Scott.
This search was focused the East Village, keeping searchers away from a simultaneous RCMP dog search in the Burfield Dr. area.
“My primary focus was to stay away from them, so they could do their thing… so we weren’t taking away from their valuable time,” explained Scott. “This particular dog had never been in this area before or the handler. He’s new to Sun Peaks so he wanted to concentrate on that area.”
Scott said he found searching this time of year much easier than previous searches conducted in the spring and summer months and focused on the Nordic trails and road to McGillivray Lake.
“There’s a lot more visibility in the bush right now and walking around you could really see in and around things,” he said.
Recognizing that three seasons have passed since his son’s disappearance, Scott adapted the way he and volunteers searched by looking for dark brown colours as clothing will have faded due to weather.
“I found it a lot easier to see things, but again you’re looking for something different now,” he said.
Scott and Heather plan on returning to the community once or twice a month throughout the winter season. They’re planning another large search Nov. 2 to 4 before the resort transitions into ski season.
Ryan was last seen in the early morning hours of Feb. 17 at a house party on Burfield Dr. 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.