Missing since October 1999, Matthew Taylor was last seen at a truck stop in Sicamous. (Contributed)

Group rekindles search for man last seen in Sicamous

Please Bring Me Home supporting search efforts for Matthew Taylor, Ashley Simpson

There won’t be any celebrating when Matthew Richard Taylor turns 37 this month.

For the past 20 years, Feb. 25 has been a day of heavy hearts for the family of the Canmore, Alta. man who was last seen at a Sicamous truck stop on Oct. 30, 1999.

Each February for the past several years, Taylor’s family sends him a note on Facebook, a birthday wish to remind him he is loved and missed.

“You have no idea how much we all wish you were here today so we could celebrate your achievements, your life, your happiness, your health, your family and everything that makes you, you,” stated a Feb. 24, 2019 post on the Facebook page, MISSING Matthew Richard Taylor – Canmore, AB. “We love you so so so much. Wherever you may be today, always know you have never been forgotten and you always are in our minds and hearts. So many people love you, not only your family, and we all wish to welcome you home.”

Taylor is one of the missing persons cold cases being rekindled by Please Bring Me Home, a Canadian organization of citizen investigators determined to keep search efforts active until those who have disappeared are found. Part of that involves simply keeping the names of the missing front and centre in the public eye, with the hope that new tips will come to light that could help bring a search to an end.

“Every story we’ve done in the last four years always results in tips,” said Please Bring Me Home executive director Nick Oldrieve.

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The organization was formed four years ago in Ontario. According to Oldrieve, it consisted of “random people who knew nothing about nothing,” who volunteered their time to look for cold-case missing persons. In October 2019, the organization was featured on an episode of CTV’s W5, after which the group received calls from families across Canada asking for help.

“We hate saying no to anybody so we’ll try to change something on our end to help anybody that asks,” said Oldrieve. “So we asked ourselves the question, can we do something in each province? We got all these retired members of law enforcement, human remain detection dog handlers, people with drones, people who just wanted to volunteer to join our group and help. And we just started to expand.”

Oldrieve said the organization is in the process of creating dedicated search teams in every province, including B.C. While the organization has come under criticism for negatively impacting active police investigations, Oldrieve maintains if their work brings someone home, it’s worth the risk.

Oldrieve says Please Bring Me Home’s involvement comes at the request of the families of missing persons. In B.C., specifically the Thompson-Shuswap-Okanagan regions, the organization is using its resources to support the search for Taylor, Ryan Shtuka, who went missing in 2018 at Sun Peaks, and Ashley Simpson, who was last seen on April 27, 2016. With the search for Simpson, Oldrieve said Please Bring Me Home is playing a supportive role to the group Wings of Mercy.

“What we’re doing is if we do a story about Ashley Simpson and tip comes into us, we’ll give that to Wings of Mercy and a detective on the case. We’re definitely going to use our reach to see if some tips can come in,” said Oldrieve.

Anyone with tips about Taylor, Simpson or Shtuka can leave an anonymous message with Please Bring Me Home at 1-226-702-2728.

Salmon Arm Observer

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