Drones a new frontier in search for missing persons

Earlier this year a Niagara area man took the search for his missing daughter to a new level by bringing some drones along.

John Simpson’s daughter, Ashley, has been missing since April 2016 from Salmon Arm BC.

Sadly, he is not the only father looking for his child in this area. Five women in total have disappeared in the North Okanagan since 2016; including Simpson’s daughter Ashley, Caitlin Potts, Nicole Bell, Deanna Wertz and Traci Genereaux.

A recent RCMP investigation on a farm in the area turned up the remains of one of those missing women, Traci Genereaux.

Simpson has been unrelenting in his work to search for his daughter. Last spring he travelled to BC to search along riverbanks and creeks nearby. However heavy flooding prevented the search of a critical area he wanted to scour.

So he consulted with a drone expert. A 14 year old with a fleet of drones to scour the riverbanks for clues of his daughter’s whereabouts. Ashley was not located – but Simpson decided the drones were of such great use to assist in searches for missing persons that he would do something to help.

With funds collected at charity events in Ashley’s memory, Simpson raised enough money to purchase four drones, two of which he donated to Jody Leon of the Splatsin First Nation in Enderby. She is now collecting volunteers to train for Transport Canada certification to fly the drones and help with future drone assisted searches.

Technology has been noted to be both a help and a hindrance. But in instances like this — it seems good and logical that given the outrageous statistics for indigenous women going missing that drone certification and drone purchase for first responders on reserves would be a good investment.

Would it be a good investment for Six Nations? With our Carolinian brush it may be challenging but an additional layer of investigation could be beneficial for locating illegal activity in that brush as well as missing persons.

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