Ryan Shtuka search: Family, friends mount renewed campaign before winter

Family and friends of an Alberta man that vanished in Sun Peaks earlier this year are mounting a final search effort before the year’s heavy snowfalls at the resort.

The 20-year-old was last seen on Feb. 17, leaving a house party on Burfield Drive.

He had been working the winter season at the popular ski resort.

“We knew it was going to 50-50 coming up here in November — if the snow would be here, if it wouldn’t be here — but it was still really important for us to be able to come,” said Heather Shtuka, Ryan’s mother.

It is believed that the Beaumont, Alta. native had been heading home for the night when he left the party. His family has said it is unclear what state of mind he was in or how intoxicated he may have been.

Night Time: The search for Ryan Shtuka

Shtuka’s family spent more than three months looking for their son after he disappeared, and even offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to his whereabouts.

Police had initially asked area residents to check their sheds and outbuildings, saying it was possible Shtuka had entered one, and said they had no information suggesting he had left the village.

However, despite the intensive search, no trace of the missing man was found.

In the latest search, volunteers are concentrating their efforts on the village area of Sun Peaks, with Heather Shtuka leading the search.

“I have that connectivity to Ryan when I’m here and it makes me feel closer to him and so neither [his father] Scott nor I want to give up having that, so we’ll come whether the snow is here or not here,” she said.

“But November, we thought we might have the option to be able to go out and search. If there’s snow on the ground it makes it really really difficult.”

Volunteers are now canvassing and plastering the area with posters.

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