Ashley Simpson loved to entertain children so she often dressed up as Miss Sweets, the clown. Here she clowns around for her dad John’s 60th birthday party. (Photo contributed)

Missing Shuswap woman’s ID found in northern BC

Ashley Simpson’s identification found in tank of a sewage vacuum truck in Pink Mountain

The discovery of their missing daughter’s driver’s licence has created questions but no answers for John and Cindy Simpson.

“We were doing fairly well until this broke,” John said Wednesday morning, Oct. 24, speaking from Niagara On the Lake, Ontario. “That sits in your mind wondering, maybe the tears are flowing a little bit more than they usually do, you know. It’s back in the news and back in your face.”

The driver’s licence of their daughter Ashley, who went missing from Yankee Flats Road south of Salmon Arm in April of 2016, was found two weeks ago in the tank of a sewage vacuum truck used by the Sasquatch Crossing Lodge in northern B.C.

“Police are aware that Ashley Simpson’s ID was located at the Sasquatch Crossing Lodge, an area in Pink Mountain that Ashley was linked to prior to her relocation to North Okanagan,” confirmed RCMP Media Relations Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Related: Ashley Simpson’s father returns to find her

John, meanwhile, says the discovery brings up all kinds of questions.

“We’re not sure when it got there, how it got there, anything like that… They sent it to me after the police were up there. It was found in the back truck tank, but it looked pretty new, it didn’t look discoloured, it didn’t look like it sat in the tank for too long.”

He says there are so many possible scenarios to explain the find. Is it a plot to throw them off from looking in the right location; was it there because her ID was stolen?

“I think years ago Ashley told me somebody stole her ID…,” John says. “And why the vac truck? I know the vac truck empties into a lagoon so she would never be found again, type of thing. That leaves us to wonder a lot of questions, of course.”

He confirms that Ashley worked with him – he was a cook – at the lodge and an affiliated motel, the Buffalo Inn, for three seasons. She worked both in the kitchen and with reservations. Pink Mountain is a town in the Rocky Mountain Foothills, about 180 kilometres northwest of Fort St. John. Her boyfriend worked across the road in another business.

John has described in previous interviews the special bond he and his daughter shared. He refers to his Icelandic, Viking heritage, and how he loves adventure and travelling. As did she. Ashley would join him, working and travelling.

She was 32 when she went missing.

Related: Missing woman’s family holds out hope

Ashley had moved to the Shuswap in early 2016 and was living with her boyfriend on Yankee Flats Road when she disappeared. She had been planning to come home to Ontario.

John said police didn’t need to keep the driver’s licence because so many people had handled it that there would be no evidence remaining.

He says he and his spouse Cindy are still hanging onto the hope that Ashley will be found in the area where she lived in the Shuswap.

Although he is not a strong believer in psychics, he says Cindy is. They’ve consulted with several who think Ashley’s remains are in the Shuswap.

“They say she’s in the area, we’re not looking in the right spot.”

John says his family is grateful for the drone searches being carried out by the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women group as well as Wings of Mercy. He’d like more people to remember the missing women and help search.

Along with Ashley, Caitlin Potts, Deanna Wertz and Nicole Bell have gone missing from the North Okanagan-Shuswap. The remains of Tracy Genereaux, who was also missing, were found in October 2017 on a farm in Silver Creek, not far from Yankee Flats Road. No arrests have been made or charges laid in her death.

Related: Families of missing Shuswap women call for action

John would like the government to get involved.

“I wish the government would take it seriously and bring troops in with all the equipment they have and scour B.C. until they find these people,” he says.

Meanwhile he and Cindy are emotionally and financially drained.

He’d like to see more government help for families with missing children. He says help is available if a child is 18 or younger or, if they’re older, a body is found. But in cases like theirs, there’s nothing.

“Two-and-a-half years and $30,000 that you can’t claim on your taxes. There are so many families affected. My wife and I are just hanging in,” he says.

And the waiting for news is torturous.

“It drains a person’s soul after a while,” he says. “You’re just a blank individual waiting for something else to happen.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay High voting station was slow and steady for the provincial election day, Oct. 24, 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Early voting reduces election day turnout in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

An estimated 15,918 mail-in ballots requested in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Drive up voting is popular with Victoria-Swan Lake voters at the Craigflower elementary polling station. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Drive up voting popular at Craigflower polling station in Victoria-Swan Lake

Nearly 13,000 mail-in ballots were requested in the Victoria-Swan Lake riding

Polls close at 8 p.m. in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
VIDEO: Esquimalt-Metchosin candidates reflect on campaign as polls close

An estimated 12,000 mail-in ballots were requested in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding

This was the line-up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The short-up line speaks to the high number of votes, which have already been cast against the backdrop of COVID-19 by mail or in advanced voting. Voters, however, unanimously praised the safety measures in place, as well the convenience of the polling stations. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
‘Slow’ turnout at polls across Saanich North and the Islands

Peter Mason, district electoral officer, expects about 10,000 ballots to be cast

Barb Wright and Cynthia Vance at the District Electoral Office for the Langford-Juan de Fuca (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Polls now closed in Langford-Juan de Fuca

An estimated 12,120 mail-in ballots were requested in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read