It’s been more than five months since Heather Shtuka and her husband Scott arrived in Kamloops to look for their missing son, Ryan.
This past Tuesday they made the tough decision to return home to their two other children without the knowledge of what happened to their son.
Since Ryan disappeared from Sun Peaks in the early morning hours of Feb. 17, more than 1,000 volunteers have spent hours combing the ski hill, holding vigils and fundraisers to support the Shtuka family. Some of the volunteers have even returned more than once to search for the 20 year old.
Shtukas two daughters are graduating this year, one from high school and the other from university and according to Heather’s Facebook page, she has decided to return to Alberta to spend time with them.
When Shtuka and her husband came to Sun Peaks to look for their son they said they would not leave until he was found, but as the months wore on they made the decision to return home, but not without thanking those who had helped look for Ryan. The Shtukas created a video in honour of the volunteers who spent countless hours searching.
“Without all of you, none of this would be possible. Each of you have shown that love is not limited by blood. That you can make a difference. You have proven that an investment in others, far and wide, yields great dividends. That is the legacy I want for my son. For all of my children,” Heather wrote on Facebook.
Ryan is believed to have left a party on Burfield Drive at about 2:10 a.m., or possibly 1:30 a.m. and walked to the village centre for something to eat.
Over the months the Shtuka’s have organized volunteer shuttles from Edmonton, Alta., operated bobcats to dig in the snow and canvassed the area in search of surveillance videos from people’s homes; however they have turned up empty handed.
The search for Ryan continues, as the video reaches more than 100,000 views, 1,500 shares and garnered over 100 comments.
It appears Ryan will not be forgotten as social media users share his story and donate in his name to a GoFundMe which currently sits at more than $90,000.