Mom of missing Sun Peaks man continues search

The mother of a missing Sun Peaks man says valuable time was lost because the family wasn't told how manage their own efforts after official searches were called off.

Heather Shtuka and her family have been looking for her son Ryan near the ski resort town in B.C.'s southern Interior for the last 24 days.

He went missing after leaving a house party on Feb. 17, 2018 on Burfield Drive. He never arrived home and didn't show up for work the following day.

Kamloops Search and Rescue put 22 members on the initial search along with dozens of community volunteers, but after that effort was called off, Heather Shtuka says they were left without any guidance.

"There was no direction so there is a sense that we haven't done enough. We painfully learn each and every day what we could have done better," she told Daybreak Kamloops host, Shelley Joyce. 

Volunteers from Kamloops, Sun Peaks and Alberta, where the Shutka's are from, continue to help the family search.

She says liability issues prevent search teams from sharing information about how to manage volunteers, equipment and searches.

Kamloops Search and Rescue manager Alan Hobler says their teams are directed by the RCMP. The police decide when to stop a search and how much information can be shared with families, he said.

In a statement, Kamloops RCMP Rural Detachment say they are continuing their investigation into the disappearance of Ryan Shtuka.

"We sympathize with Mr. Shtuka's family and understand the difficult and tragic circumstances that they find themselves in and if any new information is received we will once again resume the physical search for Ryan."  

The statement goes on to say, "[w]e continue to maintain contact with Mr. Shtuka's family and at the suspension of our search efforts, we did provide them with the assistance that we could, in order for them to consider conducting further searches utilizing private volunteer resources."

'We'll never give up'

However, Heather Shtuka would like to see more done so no other family will have to go through the confusion she says her family experienced.

She hopes to develop a manual or website that would give key information to families when their loved ones go missing.

"Each and every day, we continue to learn and people should have access to some of the resources that we found out two weeks later," said Shtuka.

As for the search, Heather and her husband, Scott will keep looking for their son until they find out what happened to him.

"We're his parents, we'll never give up."

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