New timeline leads to expanded search area for Ryan Shtuka | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops News

New timeline leads to expanded search area for Ryan Shtuka

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Wikimedia Commons and B.C. RCMP

SUN PEAKS - It's been seven weeks since Heather and Scott Shtuka left their home in Beaumont, Alta. to search for their son Ryan who was reported missing in Sun Peaks.

With several feet of snow still in parts of the resort town, the Shtukas aren't leaving any time soon, but they are starting to focus some search efforts on a new area.

Ryan was reported missing after he didn't show up for work on Saturday, Feb. 17. He was last seen leaving a party on Burfield Drive at approximately 2:10 a.m.

Heather says within the first few days of Ryan being missing, someone reported seeing a man that matched Ryan's description near the village at approximately 1:55 a.m. that day. Originally, Heather says, this potential sighting was checked out but later dismissed because it didn't line up with the timeline people at the party gave.

She says they are now focusing on this information, adding that Ryan's roommate received a text which indicated she would have left the party at approximately 1:30 a.m. as opposed to 2:10 a.m.

"We thought we’d find him right away," Heather says. "Those first few days we were so desperate."

The potential sighting was in the Fairways Drive area, with the person possibly heading into the village, according to a witness. Heather believes if the person spotted was in fact Ryan, he could have potentially been heading into the village to grab a bite to eat before 2 a.m. closing time.

Unfortunately, Heather says, several surveillance cameras in the area do not work, but she's urging anyone who lives in the Sun Peaks area to check their home surveillance cameras for any time after 1 a.m. on Feb. 17.

"That’s been frustrating for us," Heather says.

She adds that they've recently moved to a different building to stay in, which sparked the investigation of the possible sighting. 

"The irony is we actually look over the road to where Ryan was last (possibly) seen," Heather says.

Image Credit: Submitted/ B.C. RCMP

After Heather and Scott moved to that building, the person who saw someone matching Ryan's description that morning went to speak to them and told the Shtukas they thought they saw Ryan and had reported it to the RCMP. That's when Heather and Scott remembered first hearing about the sighting.

It came at a time when the family was struggling to figure out where to go next. They had completely scoured the area that would have been near the route for Ryan to walk from the party to his home. They've excavated, searched, and as Heather put it, they had done it all.

Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Simon Pillay confirms that police are aware of the new potential timeline and are investigating all possible scenarios thoroughly.

"This is still an open investigation both the city and rural RCMP are very much involved in," Pillay says.

Searches are still being focused on Burfield Drive, but with a new timeline comes new areas to search, and the family is not leaving Sun Peaks until Ryan is found, which could mean staying until after the snow melts, which likely won't be until at least mid-May.

"It sure would be nice to get a little bit of a break, a little bit of help. We’re exhausted. Every day is the same."

The Shtukas are always looking for more volunteers to come and help with their daily searches in Sun Peaks, and more information for that can be found here. Next weekend, a shuttle will also be heading from Edmonton to Sun Peaks for people who want to search.

"When people show up they tell us that they also believe, and sometimes that’s all we need," Heather says. "I have to believe he is (here), I have to believe that, because the snow is not melted. We have to stay until the snow melts.”

Heather says there are six to eight feet of snow in some areas they have searched so far.

Ryan's seasonal job in Sun Peaks was set to wrap up on April 1, also Heather's birthday. But he wasn't planning on heading home to Alberta until about April 17 or 18. She says the owner of Bottoms Bar and Grill in the village told her it was on Ryan's bucket list to drink the bar dry on April 16.

Since he can't do that, Heather is going to step in.

"I will be going to drink the bar dry on the 16th," Heather laughs.

If you saw anyone who matches Ryan's description in the Sun Peaks area in the early morning hours of Feb. 17, or surveillance footage that may be useful, contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.

For more coverage on this story, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 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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