While John and Cindy Simpson continue to be told by RCMP that the search at the Sagmoen Farm is not related to their daughter Ashley’s disappearance, the discovery of the remains of Traci Genereaux has ramped up their sense of loss once again.
The couple, who have endured 18 months of waiting and wondering since Ashley went missing April 28, 2016, are facing the increasing likelihood that their daughter is dead.
“Of course, I want her in one piece alive, but if it’s gotta be in a box, then so be it. We’ve just gotta get her home,” says John Simpson in an interview from Ontario.
His wife Cindy, says she feels certain that Ashley is no longer alive. She says in some ways the news of the search on the farm has left their family with divided hearts.
“In some ways you wish yes, or hope yes, that she will be found there, but you also pray no,” she says. “But in my heart I know she’s gone. All I want now is to bring her home, so our family can say a proper goodbye and know where her final resting place is.”
Cindy says this is the critical missing piece in the family’s grieving process.
“Right now, it is an open chapter until she is found. Once that happens, I think you can start a different stage of the grieving process and then the healing can start. Right now, healing is not even in our vocabulary.”
Cindy says the RCMP have been keeping in communication with her and are standing by the information they have been given since the search began – this search is unrelated to Ashley’s case. Ashley was last seen on Yankee Flats Road, just one road over from Salmon River Road, where the Sagmoen Farm is located.
“Of course they also tell us they aren’t ruling anything out at this point,” Cindy says.
The couple’s emotions are also divided for the family of 18-year-old Traci Genereaux. On one hand, they feel sorrow for the confirmation of their loss, on the another this is information they are also desperately searching for.
“In what seems like a strange way, I’m happy for Traci’s parents, that they will come to some peace of mind,” says Cindy. “I can’t say it’s closure because I don’t believe there will ever really be closure for any family in a situation like this one, but now they have a chance to lay her to rest. That’s a big thing for me, not knowing where Ashley is.”
Cindy says the scale of the search at the Sagmoen farm is bringing her some strange comfort.
“Ashley’s case is an open case and I know they (RCMP) are working on it. They have told us that all along. But to see how thoroughly they are doing their jobs in Silver Creek, that’s comforting to see that those are the resources they will put out there when they get the information they need to go on. That’s reassuring whether this case involves Ashley or not.”
John has spent much of the last 18 months keeping his daughter’s case in the public eye, and trying to draw awareness to the issue of missing and murdered women in Canada. He’s participating in charity walks and vigils, and rarely do a few days go by without him donning a t-shirt with his daughter’s picture on it to ensure her face is visible.
“We need the community, the government and the police to all join together and demand the investment of resources in these cases. There’s just too many families living without answers.”
He says he keeps this up because he is certain his daughter would have wanted that.
“One thing I can do is try to have people sit up and take notice. Maybe it will help her case, or maybe someone else’s.”