Search is on for Merritt cowboy likely missing since weekend, Report

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Search is on for Merritt cowboy likely missing since weekend, Report
Search is on for Merritt cowboy likely missing since weekend, Report

The search for a cowboy who went missing near Merritt a week ago will continue through the weekend, the RCMP said Friday.

Mounties, several search and rescue teams, and the man’s family members are on day 5 of the hunt for 32-year-old Ben Tyner.

Tyner’s horse was found in an area just north of Merritt on Monday morning and reported to the RCMP later that day.

Tyner was hired as the ranch manager at Nicola ranch in November. He is new to the Merritt area but RCMP say he has been ranching and riding horses for many years. He is believed to be in good shape and competent in the bush.

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He is described as being around 6-foot-3, 240 lbs with dark hair and beard and normally wears a black and red woollen hat with ear flaps.

Aiding the search Friday were rescue dogs, tracking teams, helicopters, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. The effort included teams from the Central Interior, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Members of local First Nations and ranchers were also volunteering their time.

Const. Tracy Dunmore, of the Merritt RCMP, said the weather was in their favour, and with so many volunteers the plan is to keep searching into the weekend and cover the terrain as much as possible.

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She said Friday that no new evidence has been found.

The horse owned and last ridden by Tyner was discovered near the Nicola Ranch unscathed with nothing to indicate how it had lost its rider on Monday.

Tammy Straya told Postmedia News that Tyner had brought the horse with him from Wyoming when he took the job as Nicola Ranch’s ranch manager three months ago.

She said there was nothing to indicate an accident or struggle.

Straya said Tyner was last seen on Saturday. She said his truck and trailer are still parked in his driveway and there was nothing to suggest in what direction he had headed or why.

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RCMP said earlier this week that other ranchers believe Tyner rode to an area known as Swakum Ridge, northwest of Merritt, and may have been searching for stray cattle belonging to the ranch.

Authorities say Tyner was likely dressed for the weather, but there’s nothing to suggest he brought gear for an overnight stay.

On Tuesday afternoon, Tyner’s brother Jack, who is a professional rodeo rider, posted on Facebook “We’re coming for you big brother. I love you!!!!.”

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