Ashley Simpson, missing since April 2016. (Photo contributed)

Parents of missing Shuswap woman try all avenues to find daughter

Ashley Simpson added to Please Bring Me Home website

Like most families of missing women, or missing people, John and Cindy Simpson have not given up hope of finding their loved one.

Not that they think their daughter will be found alive, but simply that they’ll find her, that they will be able to bring her home.

Ashley Simpson was last seen on April 27, 2016. She was 32. She had been living on Yankee Flats Road near Silver Creek and was hoping to head home to Ontario to work with her dad again.

Recently her parents added another tool to their search. Ashley’s name has been included on the ‘Please Bring Me Home’ website, a group out of Ontario that searches for missing people. She is one of five missing persons listed on the B.C. portion of the site.

Matthew Nopper, co-founder with Nick Oldrieve of the non-profit group, says it was founded in 2016, and has seen successes. Part of the impetus for its formation came from the death of Nopper’s father who went missing in 2012. He was found after taking his own life.

Read more: Ashley Simpson’s mom pleads for help on third anniversary of her disappearance

Read more: $10,000 reward offered for information on missing Shuswap woman

Please Bring Me Home was featured on television program W5 in the fall. After the airing, tips flooded in regarding people on the website, while interest from retired police officers climbed. The group’s numbers have increased considerably and Nopper says the goal is to create chapters in each province.

People with tips or wishing to volunteer can contact the website, pleasebringmehome.com, leave a private message on Facebook or send an email to: pleasebringmehome@outlook.com.

Nopper encourages people to provide information: “Just to be brave, have the courage to come forward and tell the story. These families need closure and everyone needs to be brought home.”

John Simpson remains baffled why missing people just aren’t being found.

“Not only B.C., but B.C.’s more prevalent.”

A family member donated a $10,000 reward in June for information regarding Ashley, but so far there have been a few leads, mostly just people wanting money, he says.

“There are still four women missing in that area,” John emphasizes, referring to Ashley plus Deanna Wurtz, Caitlin Potts and Nicole Bell. “We can’t seem to find any of them even though there are search parties, drones…I know it wouldn’t be safe to be walking alone in that area if I was female.”

Regarding Curtis Sagmoen, who was living on his parents’ property in Silver Creek where the remains of 18-year-old Traci Genereaux were found there in October 2017, John says only: “I’m on the fence on that whole situation.”

Read more: Missing Shuswap woman catalyst for new search technology

Read more: Walking for missing women

John is grateful for the work being done by Shane Michaels with Wings of Mercy, a volunteer group using cutting-edge drone technology to help rural and remote communities find people who are missing.

Shane’s a pretty remarkable person. He’s done a lot for families, more than he realizes I think,” John says, adding it’s good to know Michaels started his group because of Ashley and the pink suitcase she was reported to be carrying when she disappeared.

John points out that when the searches in the Shuswap began for the missing women, there were about three drone pilots in the area; now there are hundreds of people across the country searching.

“That’s what I was hoping people would do, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Meanwhile, John and his family are keeping busy, trying to raise money for their searches as well as for other families who are struggling in similar situations.

“Our way is to try to do as much as we can, to make something good out of something bad,” he says. “We keep paying it forward, hoping something good will come out of it.”

John adds that friends and family have seen loved ones die over the past couple of years.

“You have to enjoy what you have when you have it. You never know when it’s going to go…”



marthawickett@saobserver.net

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