John and Cindy Simpson are living a certain kind of hell, a hell which could end with just one phone call.
Four years ago on April 27, the Simpsons’ much-loved and loving daughter Ashley went missing from Yankee Flats Road near Silver Creek. They believe she has been killed and are imploring the people who know what happened to her, who know where her remains are, to step up, to make that phone call to the police.
“I would stake my life that more than one person knows,” Cindy said, choking back tears. “It’s hard looking at my family’s faces every day.”
Amanda, the youngest of Ashley’s three sisters, has three daughters.
“Her three girls, for the first two years, every day they would ask, ‘Did they find Auntie Ashley yet, is she coming home?’” Cindy recounts. “That’s torture. That’s all it was, pure torture for her.”
Now, one of Cindy’s granddaughters will look at the photos of Ashley and say, ‘I don’t remember Auntie Ashley.’
“It’s heartbreaking,” Cindy said through tears. “She knows Auntie Ashley loved her but she cannot remember her.”
Ashley’s grandfather is 83.
“His wish is that she comes home before he goes.”
A social media blitz was held this week, sparked by John’s cousin Rose, to try to generate information about Ashley’s disappearance and to raise awareness of violence against women. The Simpson family is still offering a $10,000 reward for information, provided by John’s uncle.
Cindy said Kasha, a friend of Ashley’s, captured perfectly what she was like in this post on the Please Bring Ashley Simpson Home Facebook page, only a portion of which is below:
“It’s been FOUR years. 4 years since you were able to tell your Mom you love her, cook with your Dad and have him tell you how proud he is of you, and 4 trips around the sun you haven’t been able to laugh with your siblings.
“Four years since your nieces and nephews were able to climb all over you with their dirty little hands, 1,460 days since you were able to sing and dance with your friends. It’s been four years, and a lifetime to go with the same unanswered questions. Ashley was someone you couldn’t forget, you could not be in the same room as her and not be smiling, laughing, wanting to be around her more – the lust she had for life was infectious, she was and still is unforgettable. Unforgettable, yet we are all still here waiting, wondering and wishing to be with her again…”
To add to the pain of Ashley’s disappearance, Cindy and John have to deal with financial predators.
Scammers have used Ashley’s identification to try to write cheques and acquire credit cards.
“Every time that happens, it’s like the knife goes deeper. How can people do that? I never realized how many evil people there were in the world until all of this happened. We’ve had credit cards show up at the house, we’ve had bank cards show up at the house.”
Cindy points out that thousands of women are missing, four of whom disappeared in the North Okanagan-Shuswap in a similar time period. Along with Ashley, Caitlin Potts, Deanna Wertz and Nicole Bell are missing.
“Every time I read about it, my heart breaks for the parents,” Cindy says of all the missing women.
“Four years and yet then I look at other families who have waited 10, 15, 20 years and still nothing. I’m not looking forward to that, I really am not. I’m hoping somebody has enough courage to say, ‘enough is enough, I have to say something.’”
Cindy emphasized that if if the people that know something about Ashley’s disappearance could have experienced her family’s emotions for the past four years, “I guarantee you they’d change their mind.”
Now, “it’s just waiting for that person who finds their wings, becomes an angel and opens their mouth.”