It has been two years since cowboy Ben Tyner disappeared.
The cowboy, who hailed from Wyoming, was working as manager of the Nicola Ranch when he was last seen on Jan. 26, 2019.
Two days later his horse was found on Swakum Mountain, with its rider nowhere to be seen.
“Ben’s rider-less horse, discovered on a logging road off Highway 97 near Winnie Flats, prompted a large-scale search effort, which spanned multiple days and involved countless police and search and rescue resources,” said Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey, spokesman for the BC RCMP in the Southeast District.
“Merritt RCMP was supported early on in its investigation by the BC RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit, who maintains conduct of the still ongoing investigation into Ben Tyner’s disappearance. Today, Ben’s parents continue to suffer with the unexplained loss of their son. Desperate to find answers to the questions they’ve been asking for years, Jennifer and Richard Tyner renew their plea for tips.”
Tyner’s family released a video to Youtube asking anyone with information to come forward.
“Ben’s disappearance has dramatically affected us,” said Ben’s father, Richard Tyner.
“The last two years have been filled with horrendous heartache, continued hope and many, many prayers.
Ben is constantly in our daily lives, through tending his horses and cattle and having his dog, Sioux, trail beside us. The working pens on the ranch are called ‘Ben’s pens’ because he built them. His friends stay in touch with us through phone calls and visits. Two scholarships have been started in his name.”
Richard Tyner commented on his son’s horsemanship, and the positive qualities he possessed as a person.
“Originally from Florida, we brought Ben and his brother to Wyoming at a young age. Ben has been around horses, dogs and cattle since he was born. He excelled at horsemanship and was very skilled in leather making and whip making. But, Ben was not just a cowboy. He was a voracious reader. He loved to experience new places and cultures. He spent time in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana and Idaho. A year was spent importing cattle into Russia. He traveled to Australia to visit friends in 2018.
“A team player, Ben was always willing to do what it took to get the job done. He was there to lend a hand whenever someone needed help. He is always going to be a gentle giant with an incredible bear hug that made you feel needed, wanted and so loved.
To have to live with Ben’s loss is the most painful, excruciating experience ever,” continued Richard, becoming visibly emotional and fighting back tears.
“The loss we feel is immeasurable. On this second anniversary of Ben’s disappearance, we continue to have unanswered questions. We are constantly praying that someone who knows something will come forward because Ben still needs to be found. We know that many local people have continued the search for Ben and for that we are extremely grateful. If anyone knows anything, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please inform the Major Crimes Unit in Kelowna as soon as possible. As always, your prayers and good wishes truly help us make it through each and every day.”
RCMP did not have any new information to share with the public, but stated that the investigation remains open.
“The investigation into the disappearance of Ben Tyner continues to be diligently led by the RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit,” said O’Donaghey.
“To date, numerous investigational avenues have been explored, and in order to protect the ongoing investigation police are unable to share those findings publicly at this time. However, based on those findings, major crime investigators have reason to believe that criminality was involved in Ben Tyner's disappearance, and is the victim of a homicide.
“The Tyner family is offering a private reward in the amount of $15,000 for information that leads to the location of their beloved son Ben, and to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for his death. The monetary reward is offered and will be managed solely by the Tyner family, not the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”
Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald