RCMP major crime unit joins investigation of vanished Merritt cowboy

The B.C. RCMP Southeast District’s Major Crime Unit (SED MCU) has been called to assist in the investigation of missing Merritt cowboy Ben Tyner.

Tyner, 32, was lat seen on Saturday, Jan. 26. His horse was found equipped but riderless two days later by a local hunter.

The search was suspended on Sunday, after crews had combed the frigid Nicola Valley backcountry for seven days.

On Wednesday the RCMP said while the search was not currently active, the investigation into Tyner’s disappearance remained very much so.

“While the official search was suspended on Sunday after seven days of searching, the investigation is not over,” said Staff Sgt. Lorne Wood, Merritt RCMP Detachment Commander in a media release.

“We are thankful to have the expertise and resources available from the SED MCU, to assist us as the investigation transitions from a short term search effort.”

Police said residents may see an increased police presence throughout Merritt and the surrounding area as a result of the unit’s arrival.

Tyner’s disappearance led to a massive search and has left many puzzling over unanswered questions.

More than 16 search and rescue teams from around the province were unable to locate any sign of Tyner, including footprints near where the horse was located.

Tyner’s family arrived in the area from Wyoming to help search last Tuesday, and local ranchers have also been combing the area.

There has been speculation that someone may have transported the horse to the area in which it was found using a truck trailer.

However, none of the trailers were reportedly missing from the Nicola Ranch, which Tyner managed, and no one has come forward to say they drove Tyner into the backcountry.

Towards the end of the search, crews were dealing with temperatures of -24 C.

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