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Weekend RCMP search for missing person Ryan Shtuka concluded

Heather Shtuka said she was impressed with RMCP efforts and vowed to 'refine' family's search methods
 | June 2, 2021
A candle light vigill for missing resident Ryan Shtuka was held in front of the Village Day Lodge Feb. 22 2018. SPIN File Photo

The search for Ryan Shtuka continues, after an extensive RCMP search over last weekend did not find him. 

In a Facebook post from May 31, Heather Shtuka, Ryan’s mother, said she will continue to search for her son until he is found. 

“It matters little what personal opinions you or I have regarding Ryan’s disappearance,” she wrote. “The goal remains to search until I am dust or dirt because my son matters. That is what I can do. That is what I will do.”

Shtuka, who was just 20 years old at the time of his disappearance, was last seen leaving a party on Burfield Dr. in the early hours of Feb. 17. 

Search and rescue officials, RCMP, and Shtuka’s family and friends, and over 1,000 volunteers have completed numerous searches of the area since.  

But last weekend marked the first time the RCMP dedicated significant resources on a boots-on-the ground search of Sun Peaks since May 2018, breathing new energy into the case.  

According to RCMP spokesperson Const. Crystal Evelyn, the weekend saw around 16 officers—a mix of Kamloops Mounties as well as the Southeast District Tactical Troop—take part in the search. 

Heather said she was impressed with the thoroughness of the RCMP search, and hopes to use similar techniques in future searches. 

“Looking at our techniques, we know our search methods are solid, but our approach needs refining,” she wrote. “We are so desperate to get it all done that we move from area to area in a hurried attempt. In year three, with the limited times that travelling allows us to come up here, we must be more thoughtful and methodical.” 

The mysterious disappearance of Ryan Shtuka has garnered significant international attention, and on social media, and a fresh round of speculation. 

In her Facebook post, Shtuka called for the public to be respectful in how his disappearance is discussed.

“The number one comment I hear is ‘someone knows something,’ she wrote. “That sentence in itself isn’t triggering. I understand the intent.” 

To that comment, she said she retorts with a different question: Perhaps no one knows anything? 

“People tend to stubbornly insist that cannot be true,” she wrote. “That may be so but that is not absolute, no matter how many Dateline shows we have all watched.  Regardless it is a tactless approach to families [who are] grieving. I understand the concept but it tears my soul to have people thoughtlessly utter these words.

Is that what you prefer me to think as I wake each morning?  That my son was tortured, beaten or murdered? I’m not naive but to function with that mindset is beyond what should be humanly possible.”  

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