'It's hard every day': Search continues at Sun Peaks for missing 20-year-old man

RCMP, friends and family are still looking for 20-year-old Ryan Shtuka, who was last seen February 17 leaving a party.

Ryan Shtuka was last seen leaving a party early Saturday morning

Police in Kamloops are looking for 20-year-old Ryan Shtuka. (Kamloops RCMP)

Police and volunteers continue to search for 20-year-old Ryan Shtuka, six days after the young man was last seen leaving a party in the early hours of Feb. 17. 

Kamloops Search and Rescue suspended its official search on Monday, but Kamloops RCMP are continuing their investigation into Shtuka's disappearance.

"It's hard every day. I think as soon as it starts getting dark and it gets colder, it's hard knowing that your child's still out there, and they still need you and you feel like you can't do anything," Shtuka's mother, Heather, told CBC News.

"You feel helpless."

Heather said friends and family have come from Alberta to help search around the B.C. Interior ski resort, and she's been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the Sun Peaks community. Shtuka moved to Sun Peaks in December to work as a lift operator at the resort. 

"For this community to come together the way they have … is beyond us," Heather said. "It makes me proud and I find comfort in knowing that Ryan has spent his last three months in such an amazing community." 

In Shtuka's hometown of Beaumont, Alta, a community gathering has been organized for Thursday night in his honour.

RCMP ask residents to check outbuildings and vehicles 

Kamloops RCMP are asking Sun Peaks residents to check outbuildings and vehicles, as Shtuka may have tried to find warmth in the freezing conditions on Saturday morning.

"Well if somebody is disoriented, they are seeking shelter. It was snowing that morning and it was cold out," said Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.

"There's those feelings of hopefulness and then there's the harsh reality of knowing that if he's in the elements, at this point in time, we are looking at recovery," Heather said. "So that's hard as a parent."

RCMP are asking the public to contact them at 250-314-1800 if they think they saw Shtuka after 2:50 a.m. on February 17.  

With files from Jaimie Kehler