The family of missing Alberta man Ryan Shtuka have organized one more search before the heavy snow of another ski season falls in Sun Peaks.
Ryan went missing on Feb. 17 following a house party on Burfield Drive in the ski resort. He was last seen leaving the party at about 2 a.m. to walk the short distance back to his home.
The latest search effort will be held this Saturday, with Ryan’s mother, Heather Shtuka, leading the effort.
Ryan’s father, Scott Shtuka, won’t be able to attend and said the search will involve scouring some locations already searched, concentrating primarily on the village area of Sun Peaks.
He said they won’t likely return for another search until the first week of December.
“At some point, there will be a lot of snow up there and there’s not much we can do except keep the awareness going, so that’s going to be our big focus for the winter until something breaks,” Scott said.
If there’s not too much snow at the bottom of the hills when they return in December, Scott said, more searches will be organized in those areas.
Ryan arrived in Sun Peaks on Dec. 1, 2017, to spend the season snowboarding.
Heather and Scott spent more than three months searching for their son following his disappearance, organizing volunteer efforts out of a command trailer every day after the initial two-day operation by Kamloops Search and Rescue ended.
The parents returned home to their two daughters in Beaumont, Alta. in June, but at least one of them has returned to Sun Peaks on five separate occasions since to continue searching.
During the last search in mid-October, Scott put up missing-person signs along Sun Peaks Road and Louis Creek Road.
“Just to keep the awareness going,” said Scott.
Scott said he and Heather meet with RCMP officers in person every time they visit to review the status of the case.
“I feel they are doing a decent job,” Scott said. “They’ve put a lot of resources into it and we’re still waiting for some answers, but nobody seems to have them yet.”
He said they are sometimes updated on leads police have debunked, but are not kept abreast of any that may be credible due to the sensitivity of the case.
“Sightings are a lot of the things they tell us about,” Scott said, noting one report involved someone saying they saw Ryan working as a lifeguard.
“They follow through with all those leads and it’s nothing,” Scott said.
About five to 10 volunteers are expected to take part in this Saturday’s search. Anyone who wishes to participate can get involved by visiting the Missing: Ryan Shtuka Facebook page or going online to ryanshtuka.com.
“We are always open for more volunteers,” Scott said.