The family of a Merritt cowboy, who went missing two years ago, has renewed calls for information into his disappearance, which police suspect to have been a murder.
Ben Tyner’s riderless horse was found wandering a logging road off Highway 97, near Winnie Flats in the Nicola Valley, back on Jan. 26, 2019. The discovery launched a large-scale search effort, which spanned multiple days involving many police and search and rescue members working through frigid temperatures.
Police suspected foul play, and, to date, the file remains open, lead by the BC RCMP’s Southeast District Major Crime Unit.
“Today, Ben’s parents continue to suffer with the unexplained loss of their son,” Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey, a spokesperson for the BC RCMP, said in a police press release. “Desperate to find answers to the questions they’ve been asking for years, Jennifer and Richard Tyner, renew their plea for tips.”
Numerous leads, which police will not disclose publicly to protect the ongoing investigation, have been explored. However, police maintain the belief that Tyner was the victim of a homicide, O’Donaghey said.
Police at the time had been investigating the possibility Tyner’s horse was driven into the area with a truck and trailer.
A local hunter who found the horse told the Merritt Herald there was no sign the animal got to where it was found from the direction of the ranch.
Tyner’s parents are offering a reward of $15,000 for information that leads to the location of their son and to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for his death.
Ben Tyner was 32 years old at the time of his disappearance and was working as the manager of Nicola Ranch. Last seen Jan. 26, he was reported missing on Jan. 28, after a local hunter came across his horse, still fully-equipped, but only a single rein and looking spooked.
Tyner, originally from Wyoming, was new to the area and had been hired two months prior, in November of 2018.
This week, the family issued a video statement on the anniversary of Tyner’s disappearance.
“To have to live with Ben’s loss is the most painful, excruciating experience ever,” Tyner’s father Richard said.
He said they continue to have unanswered questions and pray someone who knows something will come forward.
“Our hope is that we can find Ben and be able to determine what happened,” Richard said, noting they know many local people continue to look for his son, for which the family is grateful.
“Ben is constantly in our daily lives, through tending to his horses and cattle and having his dog Sue trail behind us,” Richard said.
Two scholarships have been started in Ben Tyner’s name.
The reward is being offered and managed by the Tyner family, not the RCMP.
Anyone with any information is urged to call their local RCMP, the Southeast District Major Crime Unit information line at 1-877-987-8477 or BC Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).