February 13, 2019 7:50 pm

‘The hole in our family will never be replaced’: missing Merritt cowboy’s family appeals for help

WATCH: The family of Ben Tyner, the missing cowboy from Merritt, made an emotional plea for any information in regards to his whereabouts. Catherine Urquhart has more.

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The family of a cowboy missing from Merritt made a tearful plea for help on Wednesday.

Ben Tyner was last seen Jan. 26.

Two days later, his horse was found saddled, but riderless, prompting an extensive search. Sixteen search and rescue crews from across the province, three dog teams and two aircraft were looking for him at the height of the search. Seven days after the search began, it was suspended amidst frigid conditions.

On Wednesday, for the first time since his disappearance, Tyner’s family spoke to the media.

‘To say that we are heartbroken is an understatement’: Ben Tyner’s mother pleads for help

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“To say that we are heartbroken is an understatement,” Jennifer, Ben’s mother, said. “Our hearts are shattered and our lives have been thrown into turmoil. We feel as if we’re only shells of the people that we were before our son, Ben Tyner, went missing over two weeks ago.”

She said they’d be grateful if anyone with new information would step forward — no matter how insignificant that information might seem.

“To think that I will never again see his smile or hear his infectious laugh, never see him realize his dreams, never have him wrap his arms around me again is unthinkable,” Jennifer said. “Our son loved life and touched so many people during his life.”

READ MORE: Search for missing Merritt cowboy suspended after 7 days amid frigid conditions

Ben’s brother, Jack, said his brother wasn’t the type who would get into trouble, describing him as “big, strong and honest as they come — a pure soul.”

“The hole in our family will never be replaced. I will never hear him laugh, feel his strong handshake again, his deep voice — it’s gone,” Jack said. “We’re asking for your help. Any information, anything that could help, we’d be forever grateful to you all.”

The family thanked the community of Merritt for its help, saying all the support they’ve received has been overwhelming.

“Can’t say enough for everyone and how much they’ve done for us,” Jack said.

READ MORE: Ben Tyner’s family joins desperate search for missing Merritt, B.C. cowboy

The RCMP major crime unit was called in to assist with the investigation. While the search has been suspended, the pursuit for leads in the case continues.

The family says they are going to resume work on the family ranch, though they admit it will not be an easy task.

“I know it’s gonna be tough to go home and be without him,” Jack said.

The last time Jack saw his brother was right after Christmas — around Jan. 1. His father, Richard, said they talked quite often. He said his son was a “great guy. A fine human being.”

“Please help us,” Richard said. “If anybody has any information whatsoever, please come forward.”

WATCH: Ben Tyner’s family appeals for help

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