Ryan Shtuka: Found or Missing? Is He Dead or Alive?

In February 2018, a young Ryan Shtuka vanished into thin air after spending the evening with friends at a party in Alberta, Canada. The ensuing search faced many obstacles, including very few leads, and over time, inclement weather. The investigation into Ryan’s disappearance is one of the stories featured on Paramount+’s ‘Never Seen Again.’ The viewers learn more about his parents and their efforts to find their son. So, if you’re curious to find out more, here’s what we know.

What Happened to Ryan Shtuka?

Ryan Shtuka was born in March 1997 to Heather and Scott Shtuka. The young man was based out of Beaumont in Alberta, Canada, and loved ones described him as an intelligent, sarcastic, and funny person who was always around. At the time of the incident, Ryan had been living in British Columbia and worked at a ski resort in the village of Sun Peaks there.

Image Credit: Global News

Ryan headed to a friend’s house somewhere on Burfield Drive in Sun Peaks just hours before he was last seen. Then 20-years-old, he left the party at around 2 am on February 17, 2018. It was believed that Ryan was heading home, but he didn’t show up to work the next day, and there had been no activity on his cell phone or social media. The worried family quickly reported him missing and mounted an extensive search for him.

Is Ryan Shtuka Dead or Alive?

The family of Ryan Shtuka stated they weren’t sure of his state of mind when or how drunk he was when he left the party. The authorities found no leads that led them to believe Ryan left Sun Peaks, so they urged the residents to check their garages, sheds, and unlocked vehicles for any sign of him. However, Ryan was nowhere to be found, leaving loved ones with more questions than answers.

Image Credit: Facebook/Kelowna Capital News

As days turned into weeks, Ryan’s family continued to look for him in the area. Heather mentioned in March 2018 that, barring a few days in the beginning, all searches were organized by her or Scott. She added, “Not one of us have been a search and rescue expert, never even knew how to do any of this stuff. So, to begin with, it was a huge learning curve for all of us, and painfully each day, we learned what we could be doing better. So even though we’ve touched every part of this resort, how well have we really touched it? What were we searching for at the time?”

Furthermore, the terrain of the area, coupled with limited information about where Ryan could have gone, made it difficult to search for him. The quest for his whereabouts continued until the winter snow that year. In February 2019, loved ones headed to Sun Peaks to honor Ryan’s memory. At the time, Heather said, “We didn’t go up just as grieving parents, because we’re not. We have this ambiguous loss, so we can’t quite hope, and we can’t quite grieve. We’re in this netherland, and there’s no way of knowing when that will ever change for us.”

As the years passed, the authorities maintained that the investigation was open. But there were few leads to track down and no developments in the case. However, Ryan’s family has continued their search for him despite the passage of time and has maintained they would not be slowing down. In June 2021, the authorities returned for another search in Sun Peaks. Heather and Scott were in regular contact with the police, and the mother said it was the first organized search for Ryan since 2018.

Heather added, “Looking for his hat, and his jacket, or his shoe, or the phone, or his car keys — things like that would also be very beneficial. Things that probably will stand better test of time, and maybe be more obvious to people as they’re going through. So I just ask people to be mindful, watchful, vigilant.” The family has continued traveling to Sun Peaks every year and has taken part in a candlelight vigil and a ski run at the annual memorial in February 2022. Heather added they would resume the search for Ryan in April 2022.

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