Two years of searching – Heather Shtuka reflects on personal journey while looking for missing son



For decades Sun Peaks has offered people from all over the world an escape.

Many come, and stay, in search of a fresh start and to get away from their past. For Heather Shtuka it’s an escape despite the fact she’s returning to the location of the most significant trauma of her life.

In February 2018 her son, Ryan Shtuka, went missing in Sun Peaks after a night out with friends. No trace of Ryan has never been found; two years later Heather returns as often as she can.

From the day he was reported missing Heather has been open with her experience on social media, at first to raise awareness and share information while she was unable to physically search herself, and then as a kind of therapy, sharing and reliving memories with those who knew Ryan or with thousands of people who had not.

“I didn’t expect any of this,” she said, about the, at times overwhelming, social media following and attention. “I just needed something to do that I felt was helping in the search for Ryan… I couldn’t even walk without a limp, so sitting at the command centre, for the first day you’re in shock but after that you sit there and go ‘what is my contribution to finding my son?’

“I don’t think I ever would’ve been able to forgive myself if I didn’t participate in some way. It was just writing the story, and I never thought that I would write one every single day…it was just getting Ryan’s name out there, getting that exposure, getting that awareness. And then it took a turn where I felt it was cathartic.”

She’s able to carry the torch of Ryan’s legacy online and has been applauded for her strength but also been the target of heavy judgments.

CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE AT Two years of searching – Sun Peaks Independent News |

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