Ashley Simpson: Six Months Gone

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

Last week, when you visited a donut shop in St. Catharines, Ontario, a young woman handed your security detail a t shirt emblazoned with the image of a young woman who disappeared six months ago, without a trace, from her home in Salmon Arm, B.C.

That woman is my cousin, Ashley Simpson, who has now joined an exclusive club of  women who go missing or who are murdered each year in this great country of ours.

We don't want Ashley Simpson to be a statistic.

Rather, we want to remind everyone that Ashley is a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a friend. Even though she is only in her mid-thirties now, Ashley has lived a full and important life. She has worked as a cook in logging camps, at resorts, and on ships. She helped her dear old dad as a caterer for many summers in Huntsville.

Ashley Simpson continues to touch many lives.

She is lovely. And she is lost.

You may find it curious that I speak about Ashley in the present tense. I do so because, in our minds, she is always with us, never forgotten. She is a symbol of all that is good, and pure and wonderful. We do not want to remember Ashley as a victim but as a divine spirit. Regardless of what happened to her, she will always live in the present, in our hearts, forever.

Please understand that we know that, as a Prime Minister, you breathe rare air. But we also know you lost a brother to misfortune, and can understand our pain. Ashley's family is suffering. They cannot work, they cannot sleep, they cannot rest while more women go missing in this country and are never found.

We hope that the federal government will take a stand, and offer some kind of support for the families who are collateral damage. We also hope that you will stand by your promise to stand up for girls and women who are victims of violence if for no other reason than they are female.

If you want to learn more about the circumstances of Ashely's disappearance, I am providing you with the latest news, via the Salmon Arm Observer published just days ago.

In the meantime, hug your daughter close.

Right now, no woman is safe in this country.

Update on Ashley's Case

The file remains open, but Ashley Simpson’s family is no closer to knowing what happened to the 32-year-old woman than when she went missing April 27.
John and Cindy Simpson have still heard nothing about the whereabouts of their daughter, who the RCMP believe may have been the victim of foul play. In May, the RCMP brought in members of the major crimes unit to work on the case.
In a message sent to John and Cindy, RCMP Sgt. Steven Rigby recently outlined their work on the case.
“The primary efforts over the past two weeks have been to complete another ground search in the high priority areas that we identified and analyzing some of the evidence and statements that have been collected to date,” said Rigby in an email to the family.
“Our investigators worked with members of the tactical team during the latest search and covered a substantial amount of area over a three-day period. Unfortunately, we still don’t have any results to provide you that will help you deal with your family’s loss.”
Police have released no public information about their findings.
In the initial weeks following Ashley’s disappearance, searches were conducted in the area of Yankee Flats and Silver Creek, especially focused on the Yankee Flats property where Simpson had been living in a travel trailer with her boyfriend, Derek Favell.
Brent Cox, who owns the property where Ashley had been living, told the Observer that Simpson and her boyfriend had a fight about money on April 27, and Simpson had texted Favell to say she was leaving.
Cox says Simpson had indicated she wanted to go back to Ontario to work with her father, but did not have the financial means to get there.
Simpson has not been seen or heard from since.
In the meantime and as a way to cope with the anxiety of not knowing Ashley’s whereabouts, the Simpson family has participated in a number of fundraisers and events highlighting the plight of missing or murdered women and issues surrounding domestic violence.
On Saturday, John walked in heels as part of the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event in St. Catharine’s, Ont., as well as the Sisters in Spirit and Take Back the Night events.
“It’s something I can do,” John told the Observer. “I can’t just do nothing. I won’t stop until Ashley is home.”
The police investigators reiterated to John and Cindy that any and all information related to Ashley’s case is important.
“From an investigation standpoint, tips from the public are most helpful, and potentially have fewer court problems if they result in evidence, when people with information contact the police directly,” said Rigby.

Anyone with information relevant to this investigation may contact the Enderby RCMP detachment  at 250-838-6818, or the North Okanagan-Shuswap Crimestoppers  at 1-800-222-8477.


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