A week back, I got a call from Grant LaFleche, a reporter with the St. Catharines Standard. He said he was looking into the case of my missing cousin, Ashley Simpson. We had an interesting chat about my blog which I have kept up since April when Ashley went missing.
I told him my story. I didn't know Ashley or even her father, John, who is an adopted cousin.
Well, I certainly know them now. And I know, too, about the cases of the other missing women from her neighborhood in Salmon Arm. Wish I had met anyone of them in different circumstances.
Would have bought them a drink.
But there you go.
All through this painful process, I've been hoping that one of my media colleagues would take on this case. Alas, there are few resources in the media these days, especially news organizations that would pay the freight and give a reporter the time to visit her home, mark her last steps, and ask the hard questions.
The Standard did. And the link below is Part One of Ashley's story.
I say thanks to Grant, to my former paper, and to Postmedia for telling her story -- the good and bad of it.
It's an unflinching account, so I caution my cousins and Ashley's friends.
Don't be mad. And troll or throw rocks.
She was no shrinking violet. She drank. She carried on. But she also loved, and hurt, and breathed the rare air of ships, and logging camps.
To quote an old cogger from Butch Cassidy, "She wasn't crazy; she was colorful."
Above all, Ashley mattered.
We all do.
So hug your children tight, and share with them this cautionary tale.
Here is Part One.