Years after they went missing, the disappearances of five women from the North Okanagan and Shuswap remain unsolved.
Now a Shuswap resident has come forward with concerns that a tip she reported to police about one of those cases, the disappearance of Ashley Simpson, was never followed up on.
It was up a forest service road in May of 2016 that Kendra made a discovery that prompted her to call the police.
“Once we got up to the top, there was a pile of clothing on the ground. There (were) some pink shirts, there (were) some jeans, there was some makeup, there (were) some CDs and there was a piece of mail addressed to Ashley Simpson,” Kendra recalled.
Global News has agreed to withhold Kendra’s last name as she is concerned for her safety given that the disappearances remain unsolved.
Ashley Simpson, 32, went missing from the region the month before Kendra made the discovery.
The forestry road is off the Trans-Canada Highway east of Salmon Arm and about a 40-minute drive from Yankee Flats Road where police say Ashley Simpson had been staying before her disappearance in April 2016.
Kendra said she was “a little bit freaked out” when she found the belongings and mail.
“We were calling around. We were yelling her name. We searched the area as much as we could,” she said.
Weeks after that discovery and her call to police, Kendra returned to the same rural area.
“We went up about a month after that and the clothing was still there. I didn’t notice any mail. It looked as though nothing had been moved other than run over so it didn’t look to me like anybody had even gone to look,” Kendra said.
If the police didn’t follow up on the discovery after her tip, Kendra feels that amounts to negligence.
“I’m pretty disgusted, to be honest…I think they just neglected to want to go and take a look,” she said.
It’s unclear whether the RCMP did investigate the Shuswap woman’s discovery.
Police declined an interview request.
The RCMP said that because the investigation into Ashley Simpson’s disappearance is active and ongoing, police can’t speak about specific tips or evidence.
However, in general, police said all tips are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
“There may be occasions when the tip may not assist in advancing the investigation further, as the information provided has previously been verified or discounted through other means,” Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said in a written statement.
Editor’s Note: Based on police press releases, a video attached to this story incorrectly reported that the last place Ashley Simpson was seen was in Vernon. A police spokesperson has since confirmed that the last place she was seen was at a Yankee Flats Road residence where she was staying.