Boyfriend charged with 2016 murder of Ashley Simpson near Salmon Arm, B.C.

The boyfriend of Ashley Simpson, who went missing south of Salmon Arm, B.C., over five years ago, has been charged with her murder.

According to court records, Derek Lee Matthew Favell is facing a charge of second-degree murder dating to April 27, 2016.

Simpson was last seen walking on a street in Silver Creek near Salmon Arm with her pink suitcase, and was reported missing several days later.

In a statement, Simpson’s family in Ontario said RCMP informed them in person on Dec. 3 that her remains had been found and a suspect arrested.

“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,” said John Simpson.

Simpson said the two detectives who delivered the news to the family at their home in Niagara-on the-Lake, Ont., recounted how they were searching in an undisclosed location when a single beam of sunlight illuminated the location where Ashley was buried.

The detectives brought the family rings found at the site that had belonged to Ashley.

Ashley Simpson vanished from the Salmon Arm area in April 2016. (Facebook/Ashley Simpson)

“We’re emotionally a wreck as a family because of this, but now maybe we can have closure and move on with our lives,” Simpson said.

RCMP say Favell was identified as a suspect before the B.C. Unsolved Homicide Unit, a standalone investigative team within the B.C. RCMP Major Crime Section, took over the investigation in 2020.

The Simpson family had kept vigil and a search effort alive ever since Ashley was reported missing, including growing a support group called Ashley’s Army to approximately 1,500 people. 

Favell’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 9 in Kamloops.

“We are deeply saddened, of course. But we wanted her home and she’s coming home,” said Simpson.

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