KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Major crimes detectives have joined an investigation into the disappearance of a B.C. ranch employee, but RCMP say there's no evidence to suggest foul play.
Ben Tyner, the 31-year-old manager of the Nicola Ranch, near Merritt, was last seen Jan. 26.
He was reported missing two days later when his saddled horse was found wandering northwest of Merritt.
An extensive, seven-day search found no trace of Tyner and was suspended on Sunday.
Sgt. Janelle Shoihet says the major crimes unit was called in to ensure there are no "missing links."
She says there's a slim chance that Tyner is still alive and he is still considered missing, but she also says it's time to be realistic about his odds.
"He's been out in the elements … and my understanding is it has been quite chilly, quite cold up there. If something did happen to him, if he got bucked off the horse or something and he's been underneath the snow ... the chances are slim," Shoihet says.
But she also adds that searchers will hold out hope until there is some definitive evidence to the contrary.
They will re-examine tracks that have already been searched, in an effort to locate Tyner.
Merritt-area residents are being told they may see an increase in police activity, now that the major crime unit has joined the case, and Shoihet says anyone who might have any details should contact Merritt RCMP.