B.C. RCMP investigation leads to charge in Ashley Marie Simpson’s homicide

Salmon Arm, BC – As Ashley Marie Simpson’s family approach the sixth holiday season since being reported missing in the spring of 2016, they finally have some answers as to what led to her sudden disappearance.

Ashley was reported missing to the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP in April of 2016, after she had not been seen or heard from for several days. Ashley’s typical communication with family and friends had ceased unexpectedly and without explanation, leading loved ones and investigators to immediately suspect her disappearance may have been a result of something criminal.

On Friday December 3, 2021 the BC Prosecution Service approved one charge of second degree murder against 39 year-old Derek Favell, Ashley’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance.

Ashley Marie Simpson
Ashley Marie Simpson

“Early on, the Southeast District Major Crime Unit was called to take conduct of the investigation into Ashley’s disappearance. This team worked diligently for almost five years on the case, identifying Favell as a primary suspect,” states C/Supt. Elija Rain, who heads up the BC RCMP Major Crime Unit. “In October 2020, the BC Unsolved Homicide Unit (UHU) assessed the findings to date and assumed conduct of Ashley’s case.”

UHU is a dedicated, standalone investigative team within the BC RCMP Major Crime Section, that assists RCMP Detachments, units and Municipal Police Departments with investigations into unsolved homicides and missing person’s cases where criminality is suspected. UHU focuses on cases where progress has been made in identifying a suspect(s).

“We know nothing can bring Ashley back. Now, as we prepare to continue to support Ashley’s family through the court process, we hope that the announcement today will bring them some sense of peace,” states C/Supt. Rain

On December 4, 2021, Derek Favell appeared remotely before a JP and was remanded to appear remotely in Kamloops Provincial Court on Thursday December 9, 2021.

Statement from Ashley’s family

Ashley shined. She shined and she made the people around her shine. Children, everywhere loved her. People would meet her once and remember her. They could remember details of her conversation after one meeting. She loved her family, especially her nieces and nephews.

We miss her presence, having her around, the joys and the smiles she brings, as well as the smiles she brings other people. She loved to travel. We think she was going to go further, but always came home.

We want people that knew her to remember how she made them feel loved. She made them feel special. She was a caring soul. People will remember her for the love and the caring she showed everybody, family, friends and strangers.

When we found out about the development, we were very ecstatic. A wave of relief and easiness came over us knowing that finally she is coming home. It was the most important thing for us that we could bring her home. The circumstances matter, but it matters most that she is brought home.

This is the best Christmas present we could have ever got. Relief, something we’ve wished for, for almost six years. Thank you Christmas came early.

We are extremely grateful for all of the hard work done on Ashley’s case.

It is nice to finally have the closure we have so longed for. Justice for Ashley is the next thing, we miss her, she will always be part of our family.

Please give us time to let it sink in. Anybody is more than welcome to come to the service when we announce it on social media and in the local pape


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