November 15, 2017 1:30 am

His daughter disappeared 19 months ago, so he’s launching drones to find missing women

An Ontario father is channeling his grief over his missing daughter into helping other missing women. As Rumina Daya reports, John Simpson is determined to use his experience with drones to help other families.


Nineteen months. Two trips from Ontario to B.C.

No leads in the case of Ashley Simpson, a woman who went missing near Salmon Arm last year.

So now her father John Simpson, who lives in Ontario, is taking to the air in the search for her, and other women who have disappeared in the area in the past 20 months.

Coverage of missing women in the Okanagan on

Simpson has held a fundraiser to buy two drones for volunteers who are searching for missing women near Salmon Arm.

He was inspired to do it after a teenager used his own fleet of drones in the search.

A group of volunteers looking for missing women in the Okanagan, with the drones that will aid them in their search.

Jody Leon

“I’m only doing things that I hope any other father would do,” he said.

“I see a dilemma of the missing… and I see that action needs to be taken.”

It’s just the latest effort that John has made as he has tried to find his daughter.

He has already looked in the ditches and the rivers of Salmon Arm.

“I was out there this year, in May, because the flooding situation and everything being closed down, it was really hard to get access to anything,” John said.

READ MORE: For family of missing woman, disappointment as Salmon River Road search wraps up

The drones will be handed over to a volunteer group who have continued to search for missing women in the area.

Remains found at a farm near Salmon Arm were identified as Traci Genereaux, an 18-year-old who was last heard from in May.

The flying machines should help them see in areas where they can’t easily access the terrain.

“This gives families who are dealing with this issue of murdered and missing women, it gives them hope and strength I’m sure,” said searcher Jody Leon.

The drones are set to be deployed close to Salmon Arm this weekend.

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