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News of Ashley Simpson brings hope to other North Okanagan-Shuswap families of missing women

Simpson family gets closure after remains of Salmon Arm woman found and man charged
Priscilla Potts, Caitlin Potts’ mother, speaks to media in 2020 about how much she misses her daughter who has been missing since Feb. 21, 2016. (File photo)

The discovery of Ashley Simpson’s remains has not only provided relief for her family, it has brought hope to the families of other missing women.

For people who have found themselves in the club that no one wants to belong to, the families of the four missing women know the others can understand better than most people what they are going through.

Caitlin Potts
Caitlin Potts

Priscilla Potts is one of the parents in the North Okanagan-Shuswap whose daughter went missing around the same time as Ashley Simpson. Caitlin Potts was last seen in February 2016 in Enderby.

Priscilla said she is so grateful that John Simpson and his family are not suffering anymore from not knowing where Ashley is.

“I’m so happy for them.”

She also referred to hope.

“It gives me hope, it gives me a lot of hope,” Priscilla said.

However, her situation continues to be terribly hard, with the loss of her daughter and with Caitlin’s other family members also suffering. She is not convinced Caitlin’s case is getting the attention it deserves.

Nicole Bell has been missing from Malakwa since Sept. 2, 2017. (Facebook photo)
Nicole Bell has been missing from Malakwa since Sept. 2, 2017. (Facebook photo)

For Jane Aubertin, the news was also met by happiness for the Simpsons.

Aubertin is Nicole Bell’s mother. Nicole has been missing since September 2017, last seen in Sicamous.

“I’m overjoyed that the Simpson family can finally get some peace and rest,” she said. “After five long years. I’m very overjoyed with that. I was almost in tears when I heard the news.”

Her feelings are mixed. The first couple of days after she heard, she would sometimes think, ‘Can this be true?’

But a weight has been lifted off her shoulders.

“It gives us hope – it gives us hope for Nicole and Caitlin and Deanna.”

For her, she said, it’s always 50/50 whether Nicole will be found alive.

“With Ashley, I’m so happy they can actually have peace and closure. I don’t know if they were tears of joy or tears of sadness.”

She said the RCMP were doing their job, based on their results.

“It gives us hope for the rest of us.”

Aubertin, who lives in Alberta, said it’s unlikely she would go to Ashley’s memorial, but she will light a candle and listen to a song that day in remembrance.

Deanna Wertz
Deanna Wertz

The Observer was unable to reach Dale Wertz, Deanna Wertz’s brother. Deanna was last seen near Yankee Flats Road on July 19, 2016.

Read more: RCMP find remains of Shuswap woman missing for five years, former boyfriend charged

Read more: Five years pass with no peace for families of North Okanagan-Shuswap missing women
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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