UPDATE: Boyfriend of missing Ashley Simpson charged with her murder | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Boyfriend of missing Ashley Simpson charged with her murder

Ashley Simpson posted this photo of herself on Facebook on April 11, 2016, just a couple weeks before she disappeared.
Image Credit: Facebook
Original Publication Date December 06, 2021 - 10:30 AM

The boyfriend of missing Ashley Simpson, who disappeared in the North Okanagan, has been charged with her murder.

Derek Lee Matthew Favell, born 1982, was charged Dec. 3, for the second-degree murder of Simpson that took place in April 27, 2016.

On April 30, 2016, Simpson was reported missing from a property on Yankee Flats Road, near Enderby where she was living with Favell. She was last seen several days beforehand on April 27, 2016.

READ MORE: 'I know somebody took her life:' Ashley Simpson's family still waiting for answers four years after disappearance

Simpson was 32 years old when she was murdered. 

Police say Ashley's body was discovered in a wilderness area outside of Salmon Arm Nov. 26.

Favell, 39, was arrested without incident in Kelowna Dec. 3.

According to a written statement posted online by Simpson's father, John Simpson, police recently discovered Ashley's body.

"There was no storybook ending. The detectives from her case travelled from B.C. to personally tell us that they had found our daughter’s remains, and had arrested a suspect. All we could muster were tears of joy mixed with sadness," the statement reads. "We had always hoped that Ashley would be found alive, against all odds, but we also knew that, realistically, the chances of that outcome were slim. As a father, I can tell you, no one can be prepared for news that their daughter was found murdered and left to rot in (the) ground."

The statement says the RCMP officers who delivered the news to Ashley's parents also gave them Ashley's rings which were found at the scene.

"It was a very emotional time for all of us, including (the RCMP officers), the statement reads. "(The RCMP officer) told us when she found Ashley that she followed a single beam of light that shone through the clouds and directed the way to Ashley’s grave. I cannot tell you what a comfort that was to us."

A separate statement from Ashley's family said they were "ecstatic" at the news and a "wave of relief and easiness came over" them knowing they could finally bring Ashley home.

"This is the best Christmas present we could have ever got. Relief, something we’ve wished for, for almost six years," the statement reads. "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.

"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," the statement says.

The statement goes on to say that Ashley "shinned" and made the people around her shine.

"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."

The RCMP said in a Dec. 6 media release that Favell had been identified as a primary suspect in the case. In October 2020, the B.C. Unsolved Homicide Unit took over the file.

"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," B.C. RCMP major crime unit Supt. Elija Rain said in the release.

According to a blog post containing an interview with Favell from 2017, he refused to take a polygraph test after Ashley's disappearance.

"The rambling exchange went on for more than an hour, during which time Derek bounced from feelings of guilt and remorse to self-pity," reads the post.

Simpson is one of several women to have gone missing from the area around that time, including Caitlin Potts, Deanna Wertz and Nicole Bell.

The body of Traci Genereaux was discovered on a Silver Creek property in the fall of 2017. Curtis Sagmoen, whose parents own the property, has since been convicted in several cases of violence towards women, but no charges have been laid in relation to the discovery of Genereaux's body.

During a press conference, Dec. 6, the RCMP said there was no connection between this case and the other missing women cases in the area.

Favell remains in custody and is next scheduled in court Dec. 9.

— This story was updated at 1:05 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, to include a statement from Ashley's father.

— This story was updated and corrected at 2:38 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, to include further statements from RCMP and the Simpson family, and to also say Ashley was 32 years old when she was murdered, not 27. 

–– This story was updated at 3:07 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, to include more information from RCMP.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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