While the first anniversary of the disappearance of Ashley Simpson weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of her friends and family, the community of Salmon Arm, British Columbia remains on edge.
There have been reports of other strange doings in the place where she was last seen.
In recent days, two women have told their friends that they were nearly killed by a black pickup truck. One incident happened this week, the other happened last fall.
"I've been hearing some odd stories in the community lately," said one of my sources. "Two nights ago (April 12), there was an incident where a woman driving alone was run off the road on Yankee Flats Road by a black pickup truck. Police were involved."
Both Ashley and her neighbor, Deanne Wertz, lived on Yankee Flats. Both women disappeared without a trace within weeks of each other last spring. Neither have been found, though the RCMP say the cases are unrelated.
My source says a neighbor told her about her friend who was walking along Salmon River Road last fall, and a black pickup crossed the yellow line and aimed his truck right at her.
"She was able to jump out of the way into the ditch, and the truck swerved back onto Salmon River Road and took off. She didn't report it because she didn't have a plate number and only knew the truck was black.
"It made me start to wonder how many times something like this has happened and not been reported. Just thought I would share with you, not sure why. But obviously something awful is going on here and women alone seem to be targeted."
Coincidentally, three people were arrested this week after a black pick up was stolen.
By the looks of this story, the two stories appear to be unrelated...except for the fact, in both cases, a black pickup was involved.
On Ashley's anniversary, women continue to feel unsafe and on edge.
Best not to walk alone in Salmon Arm, British Columbia.
Ashley left her home alone and was never seen again. Deanna, an experienced hiker, went off and was never heard from again. Other women have gone missing in the area. Caitlin Potts disappeared in June from the area, and there are other open cases that you can read about here.
Maybe the Highway of Tears didn't take them.
Maybe their killer is local.
Regardless, a black cloud holds steady over this small community. And people are looking for answers.
To catch up on this story, please read this excellent series in the St. Catharines Standard.