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New missing persons podcast begins with Ryan Shtuka

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Wikimedia Commons and B.C. RCMP
November 14, 2020 - 10:01 AM

A Podcast for the Missing aired for the first time this week featuring the story of an Alberta man who vanished from Sun Peaks one night more than two years ago.

Ryan Shtuka, 20, mysteriously disappeared while walking home from a party at Sun Peaks. The podcast’s creator and Victoria resident Tyler Hooper walks listeners through the first episode which focuses on who Shtuka was prior to his disappearance with an interview with Shtuka’s mother, Heather.

Hooper knew Heather prior to the podcast, so he thought Shtuka’s story would be a good way to start out the series. Originally, he wanted to start off missing persons’ stories as a blog, but it evolved into the podcast and the aim is to bring awareness to missing persons’ cases.

READ MORE: Mother of missing Ryan Shtuka shares memories from holidays past

“Because I had such a good relationship with Heather, I kind of had some of my legwork already done… but also for me, I think Ryan’s case has been really baffling. I know it’s been covered extensively, but I don’t feel like anyone’s (humanized) Ryan as a young man,” Hooper said.

The first episode takes listeners on Shtuka’s background. Described as an "introvert" by Heather, he enjoyed sports and was often the typical pain-in-the-butt older brother to his little sister.

From Alberta, Shtuka only intended to stay at Sun Peaks for one winter, as he loved to snowboard and wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with his life after graduating from high school, Heather said in the podcast. She recalled the last time she saw him, saying if she knew at the time that she wouldn't see him again, she would have hugged him a little longer.

The podcast will have four episodes dedicated to Shtuka. The next one airs Nov. 18 which will look at Shtuka’s time in Sun Peaks, while three and four will focus on the search at Sun Peaks and include theories about what happened to him.

“I’m trying to pull a narrative through all four episodes and bringing in different people, when relevant,” he said, adding that Heather is the anchor.

As of Nov. 13, Hooper said the episode has been downloaded almost 2,000 times, surpassing his goal of 500.

“I’m very glad, and I’m still getting more today.”

“They seem like they do want to know all this information and all these details,” he said. “It’s bringing awareness and that’s the biggest thing… if anyone knows something reach out to Crime Stoppers or the Kamloops RCMP because maybe, this will prompt someone to remember something or have a tip that can help bring Ryan home.”

Hooper’s background is in journalism and media and has experience with storytelling.

This new project will continue its next cold case in Washington after Shtuka’s story wraps up.

Listen to A Podcast for the Missing yourself on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Overcast.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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