The search for a missing cowboy near Merritt has been suspended after a week of scouring the Nicola Valley turned up no sign of 32-year-old Ben Tyner.
Merritt RCMP and search and rescue teams had been searching for the manager of the Nicola Ranch since Jan. 28, when Tyner’s horse was found in the hills above the town.
Merritt RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore said the search has been suspended due to extensive coverage in the area where the horse was found and because of extreme cold and poor weather conditions.
The temperature in Merritt on Monday morning was -19 C, with a wind chill making it feel like -24 C.
The large-scale search included more than 19 teams from across the province, dog tracking teams, air support, drones, horseback riders and community volunteers who covered the large area north of Merritt. In addition, Tyner’s family members from Wyoming arrived to help.
“Extreme cold and snow on Sunday hindered search efforts somewhat, but volunteers continued to search drainage areas and steep terrain with no results,” Dunsmore said. “Although the search is suspended at this time, the RCMP will continue to investigate and if further information is located the search can be reinstated.”
Tyner was last seen on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 26, at Nicola Ranch, where he has worked as the ranch manager since November.
A search was not launched until Monday, when loggers in the Nicola Valley found a horse in full gear, but no sign of its rider.
Dunsmore said other ranchers believe Tyner rode to an area known as Swakum Ridge, northwest of Merritt, searching for cattle belonging to the ranch.
Police say he wasn't immediately reported missing because he was working on his days off and may not have told anyone about his plans.
Anyone with information or who may have seen a man riding in the Swakum ridge area on Jan. 26 or Jan. 27 is asked to contact the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.