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

Nelson City Council heard a presentation on Nelson real estate prices from a representative of BC Assessment on Feb. 26. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
BC Assessment: High demand, low supply will continue in Nelson real estate

Nelson council heard local stats from the Crown corporation at a recent meeting

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Sherpas Cinema films Imagination in the West Kootenay. Photo: Jake Dyson
New Kootenay film commission unveiled

The Civic Theatre and Kootenay Rockies Tourism have partnered on the initiative

Jesse Teindl (left) is grateful for support in his fundraiser for research of a genetic disease that prematurely claimed the lives of his father Tim (right) and uncle Craig Teindl. Photo: Submitted.
Kootenay community steps up for Skinny Genes fundraiser

Fundraiser auction for rare genetic disease raises more than $10,000 for Skinny Genes Foundation

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

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

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Most Read