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Age progression drawn for Ryan Shtuka’s 25th birthday

Artist hopes the drawing will persuade anyone with information to come forward
 | March 16, 2022
Age progression of Ryan Shtuka. Photo Diana Trepkov, forensic artist.

In honour of Ryan Shtuka’s 25th birthday on March 17, a forensic artist has completed an age progression drawing of what he might look like now in hopes it will help get answers.

Ryan went missing after attending a house party in Sun Peaks on Feb. 17, 2018, and since then no clues have been found despite extensive searches and an ongoing investigation by Kamloops RCMP.

Diana Trepkov, the forensic artist who drew the age progression, also hosts a podcast called Can I Help Find Your Missing Loved One? After interviewing Ryan’s mother Heather on the podcast, Trepkov offered to draw an age progression of Ryan as a gift to the family.

“I feel bad for all the families that I interview and I see the pain that they go through,” Trepkov said. “Of course, I feel sorry for Ryan. So I thought I’d offer to do an age progression as something to touch their hearts.”

Although Ryan has only aged just over four years, Trepkov said his family and loved ones would notice a big difference because they haven’t seen him since he was 20.

The artist hopes the drawing will help bring the case back to light and persuade anyone who might have information to come forward.

“It just makes it more personal,” Trepkov said. “We don’t know if someone knows something, but a lot of people are afraid to say what they know … so it just makes the case current and it shows people that he’s a human being. He’s important.”

Trepkov completed the age progression by looking at photos of Ryan from before he went missing and defining his features to make him look more mature. She made his bone structure more pronounced, widened his neck and shoulders, gave him faint facial hair and made his Adam’s apple more prominent. 

She added that she tried to capture his contagious smile and vibrant eyes in the drawing.

“The eyes are the mirror of the soul,” Trepkov said. “I think it’s so important to get the eyes right on any missing person. I’m looking at him now and I can feel in my heart the connection when I look into his eyes.”

Trepkov said Ryan’s progression is a healthy version of what he would look like. 

Trepkov has completed 239 drawings for law enforcement cold cases to date. Although in some cases she can complete a forensic drawing quickly, she said it takes longer when it is a missing person because of the emotion involved.

In the case of Ryan, the drawing took about a month and a half because Trepkov could only manage to draw for a couple hours at a time. However, now that it’s complete, she hopes it will help the Shtuka family find answers.

“I would hope that it touches people’s hearts and if there’s something that hasn’t been said, someone would come forward,” Trepkov said. “I’m hoping for a miracle.”

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