May 2, 2019 8:17 pm
Updated: May 2, 2019 9:05 pm

Is there a link between two mysterious disappearances near Merritt?

WATCH: The mystery surrounding the disappearance of ranch hand Ben Tyner has deepened with the news that another ranch worker vanished along the same B.C. highway a few years earlier. Catherine Urquhart spoke to his family.

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Nicola Lake ranch manager Ben Tyner vanished without a trace on January 26.

No sign of the 32-year-old has been discovered despite extensive searches. His disappearance is now believed to involve foul play.

But Tyner’s case isn’t the only unsolved disappearance in the area.

Globalnews.ca coverage of Ben Tyner

Another man is missing from a nearby ranch, also situated on Highway 5A, between Merritt and Kamloops.

Dean Morrison worked as a painter at Stump Lake Ranch, about 45 kilometres away. Then one day in October 2013, the 44-year-old was gone.

Morrison’s mother, Elizabeth Faber, says the similarities between the two cases immediately caught her attention.

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“My initial reaction was just shock, and then I started realizing they both worked on ranches, they both vanished without a trace and they were both in the prime of their lives,” Faber said.

READ MORE: B.C. RCMP suspend renewed search efforts for missing cowboy

Denis Gagnon, a former RCMP officer who is now a private investigator at BCSI Investigations, was hired by Faber to find her son and has conducted extensive interviews with nearly a dozen people.

“It may just be a coincidence, and I have to be honest about that,” Gagnon said. “But the fact is, this area is quite remote and there may be a connection between some associates, but we don’t know that. So there’s a possibility there’s a connection between the two of them.”

RCMP say they’re investigating the cases separately but Gagnon has little doubt officers are looking at every possibility.

“I’m sure they will be looking, because of the location on Highway 5A,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to look at the similarity of the cases.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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