No new leads in Ryan Shtuka search, but police efforts were 'revitalizing' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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No new leads in Ryan Shtuka search, but police efforts were 'revitalizing'

Grid searches showed no new leads this weekend, but searches will continue June 12, 2021.
June 04, 2021 - 7:00 AM

The weekend search for Ryan Shtuka didn't turn up new leads, but his mother remains determined, with new directions to take the search efforts.

Heather and Scott Shtuka were notified by police about their effort to conduct shoulder-to-shoulder grid searches, the first police search and rescue effort in three years.

"I respect that RCMP have not been able to send search and rescue crews up. The investigation is ongoing at all times," Heather Shtuka said.

Ryan Shtuka went missing at Sun Peaks over three years ago after leaving a party. He was reported as missing when he did not show up for work the next day.

Since then, extensive searches have covered the area and his family refuses to give up.

"We feel like we've covered every spot, and there's days I feel so let down, but I have to keep going," Heather Shtuka said to "My two daughters need to know no matter where they go, there will be two people that will always love them."

While no new leads came about, the police search this weekend helped direct further search efforts.

Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Const. Crystal Evelyn acknowledged that while shoulder-to-shoulder grid searches can be a slow process, it can ensure each area is searched "precisely."

There were some places already covered in previous searches and some new areas ventured into, but the biggest change is a focus on finding the things that can withstand the elements.

Shtuka has reconciled with the fact that she may not find her son "wholly," especially due to animal activity in the mountain resort town.

"The hat, the shoes, the coat, his car keys and his phone may stand the test of time. So that's what we're now looking for - those small items," she said.

While the search methods and expectations have changed over the three years, Ryan's family has continued to hope. His mother is increasingly grateful for the support they've received over the years.

"I feel connected to my son here and we feel connected and loved by the community. We're going to find the blessings. I refuse to believe Ryan's life has been anything other than a gift, and he's gifted us with so many blessings up to now too," she said. "I think it's fair to say it's spilled over into other (missing) peoples' cases, too. There's an awareness and sensitivity to other families. It's miraculous to see how many people are engaged and continue to join in our efforts."

While Heather and Scott take some time to regroup and relax in Kelowna, they will soon prepare to return to Sun Peaks on June 12 for another search effort, before the undergrowth in July makes search efforts more difficult.

"It's revitalizing for us. What came for us this weekend is how we're now going to expand our search methods," she said. "When Ryan's found, there's going to be no medal for any of us that got it right. So you don't have a winner, but you may just have closure."

Kamloops RCMP have no plans at this time to join in the search efforts later this month.

Go here for more of our Ryan Shtuka stories.

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