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

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

Just Posted

NH representative confirmed that people who received their first dose will be scheduled to receive their second dose within the recommended timeframe.(The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette photo)
Vaccine rollout abruptly halted in Lakes District

Northern Health cites Pfizer shipment delays for the vaccine distribution disruption

This BC Hydro map shows some of the power outages across Northern BC. Many were caused by high winds. (BC Hydro Website)
Power out across much of Northern BC

BC Hydro anticipates some may be without power overnight

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

The B.C. Government increased limited entry hunt (LEH) authorizations of cow/calf moose by 43 animals in 2020 in mountain caribou recovery areas near Revelstoke and Prince George. (Wikipedia Commons)
Cow moose and calf harvest numbers expected by May

No wolves culled yet; cull scheduled for 2021 winter

The BC Government’s Rural Dividend Fund extension would help revamp the village brand. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Village to unveil its new brand on Jan. 22

Gets extension on province’s Rural Dividend Fund grant

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Most Read