NEAR SALMON ARM – It’s been more than three weeks since a woman suddenly disappeared from the Salmon Arm area in B.C.’s interior.
Now two of the last people known to have seen Ashley Simpson are telling their stories.
Brent Cox said the 32-year-old had been living in a trailer on his property with her then boyfriend, Derek Favell.
Cox said he and Favell have been friends for a long time so when Favell asked to stay on Cox’s property with his girlfriend, Cox agreed.
Cox said the last time he saw Simpson was the last Wednesday in April when she was doing yard work.
“That day she seemed great and then right before I left for town, her and Derek got into a little bit of a fight. It wasn’t much of a fight. I heard Ashley yelling a little bit and I asked her to keep it down,” said Cox.
Favell confirms the couple did fight that day over money.
“We kind of had a bit of a fight. I ended up going to sleep. I woke up in the morning, I thought Brent had [driven] her into town or [driven] her down to someone’s to go spend a couple days,” said Favell.
“She had done [this] before where she had taken off at night and we had to get someone to go pick her up because she was walking. I kind of figured that she had done the same thing.”
But Cox said he didn’t know about Simpson leaving till Favell told him about it the morning after the fight.
“[I] came home that evening and nobody was here. The next morning I learnt from Derek that Ashley had left. He had received a text from her in the morning that she was gone and she would send for her stuff.”
Favell recalled that conversation with Cox this way.
“I told [Cox] that I’m pretty sure that she took off this morning. She had sent me two texts at about 7:30 to 8 o’clock in the morning…basically she was done with me and didn’t really want me and didn’t really want to have anything to do with me,” said Favell.
Simpson’s family was expecting her back in Ontario for a summer job. At first Cox thought she had simply left to head home.
However, now she has been missing for weeks and police say foul play may have been involved in her disappearance.
“The investigation into Ashley’s disappearance has not come up with much information to date. Normally with missing persons matters…a good percentage of them are located in short order. We tend to get information on their whereabouts or information as to where they were last seen,” said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.
“With the case of Ashley Simpson the lack of information and leads, leads us to believe that foul play may be a contributing factor in her disappearance.”
Favell said he was “crushed” when he realized she was missing and he filed a missing persons report after learning Ashley had also not been in contact with her family.
“It has been pretty well hell for the past few weeks,” he said.
Cox said he has been doing everything he can to help including allowing search and rescue to go through his property.
“I let them through the home. I let them through the property, they took their dogs through. [I’m doing] anything I can do to help because I really feel for Ashley’s family and her friends,” said Cox. “I’ve got kids of my own.”
On Tuesday, police issued as statement saying there is nothing to connect Simpson’s disappearance to the case of another young woman missing from the north Okanagan. Caitlin Potts was last heard from in February. Police say they haven’t ruled out foul play in her disappearance.