British Columbia

Search suspended for missing rancher near Merritt

Merritt RCMP and Search and Rescue have suspended their search for rancher Ben Tyner whose riderless horse was found Jan. 28.

Rescue teams standing down after combing backcountry for a week

Ben Tyner, 32, was last seen on Jan. 26 in Nicola, B.C., near Merritt in the province's southern Interior. Searchers suspended their efforts to find him on Sunday, but the B.C. RCMP's Major Crimes Unit has since been called in to investigate his disappearance. (Facebook)

Meritt RCMP and multiple rescue crews have suspended their hunt for a missing rancher after a week-long search in harsh weather conditions.

Ben Tyner was reported missing after loggers found his riderless horse still wearing a saddle on Jan. 28 just north of Merritt.

The 32-year-old from Wyoming works at a cattle ranch in nearby Nicola, B.C. and was last seen there on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Ben Tyner's horse was found riderless but wearing a saddle near Merritt, B.C., on Jan. 28. (Facebook)

The large-scale operation to find Tyner included more than a dozen search and rescue teams. Horseback riders, helicopters, police dogs, drones and community volunteers have also combed the backcountry looking for the missing cowboy.

Merritt RCMP,say volunteers searched drainage ditches and steep terrain on Sunday but cold temperatures and snow hindered their efforts.

Temperatures in the area dipped below –20 C on Sunday. 

RCMP said they are suspending rescue efforts both because of the extreme weather and because a large area north of Merritt has been extensively searched.

Police will continue to investigate and said the search could resume if more information becomes available.

Anyone with information on Tyner's whereabouts is asked to contact Merritt RCMP or Crime Stoppers.