Nearly 17 months after the disappearance of 20-year-old Ryan Shtuka in Sun Peaks Village, the community continues to search. Local filmmakers Russel Walton and Jared Featherstone have created a documentary, funded by Telus Storyhive, to keep the search for Ryan alive in everyone’s memory.
The Paramount Theatre, in downtown Kamloops, had never looked so full as locals and loved ones of the Shtuka family piled in for a viewing of Peaks and Valleys: The Search for Ryan Shtuka, a documentary telling the story of Ryan Shtuka and his mysterious disappearance from Sun Peaks.
“That I stand here before you still seems so surreal. Today marks almost 17 months since our son Ryan has been missing,” Heather Shtuka, Ryan’s mother, said, “A tragic and pained journey that has been filled with indescribable grief and yet unexpected blessings. It’s a terrible paradox”.
The documentary follows the Shtuka family’s never-ending hunt for their son who went missing while living out a young man’s adventure of working and doing what he loved in the mountains.
Both Walton and Featherstone felt an immense drive to keep this story alive, as this story could have been either one of them.
“What grabbed us about this story right from the beginning was that we grew up in Kamloops and we’ve been in Ryan’s shoes before. We’ve been up at Sun Peaks,” Featherstone said, “When we heard about what happened that night, or what could’ve happened or what didn’t happen, we saw our selves in Ryan’s shoes”.
“Watching the finished product, I want to express how proud we are of what [Walton and Featherstone] have accomplished. It is clear to me that what started out as a project about a missing child quickly became a labour of love,” Heather Shtuka praised.
The evening viewing was an emotional journey through the disappearance that hits home for many locals and families of missing children.
“Whether a child goes missing willing, unwillingly or unknowingly. We as loved ones are left to navigate through the unfathomable nightmare,” Shtuka said.
Attendees were encouraged to donate to the Kamloops Search and Rescue, to keep their hard work going. Featherstone mentioning that they’re a service many don’t think about until they’re in need of them.
If you have any information in connection with Ryan’s disappearance, please contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.