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)

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

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read