Nicola Bulley: Police believe missing mother fell into River Wyre and her disappearance is ‘not suspicious’
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The 45-year-old was last seen next walking her dog next to the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre at around 9.15am on Friday (January 27).
A major search for Ms Bulley continues, but no trace of her has been found.
At a press conference on Friday (February 3) – one week after her disappearance – police said its “main working hypothesis” was that she fell into the River Wyre.
Supt Sally Riley, of Lancashire Police, said inquiries so far had left a 10-minute window in which they cannot account for Ms Bulley’s movements.
They believe she did not leave the riverside area.
Ms Riley said: “We remain open to any inquiries that might lead us to question that, but at this time we understand that she was by the river.
“Our main working hypothesis, therefore, is that Nicola has sadly fallen into the river, that there is no third-party or criminal involvement and that this is not suspicious, but a tragic case of a missing person.
“This is particularly important because speculation otherwise can be really distressing for the family and for Nicola’s children.”
Timeline of Nicola Bulley’s last known movements
8.43am: Nicola walked along the path by the River Wyre, having dropped her children off at school
8:50am (approximately): A dog walker – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her walking around the lower field with her dog. Their two dogs interacted briefly before the witness left the field via the river path
8.53am: She sent an email to her boss
9.01am: She logged into a Teams call
9.10am (approximately): A witness – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her on the upper field walking her dog, Willow. Work is ongoing today to establish exactly what time this was.
9.30am: The Teams call ended but Nicola stayed logged on
9.35am (approximately): Nicola’s mobile phone and Willow were found at a bench by the river by another dog walker.
What have Lancashire Police said?
Supt Sally Riley said: “It’s now a week since Nicola went missing and her disappearance has understandably caused a huge amount of concern and upset in the local community, as well as being an absolutely awful time for her family.
“As a mum I can’t begin to imagine the suffering they are going through. We are supporting them as best we can and keeping them updated on our efforts to try and find Nicola.
“We have done a huge amount of work both in terms of searches of the area as well as extensive enquiries which have been going on behind the scenes and based on that work we are as sure as we can be that Nicola has not left the area where she was last seen and that very sadly for some reason she has fallen into the water.
“There is absolutely nothing to suggest from all the extensive enquiries we have made that anything untoward has happened to her or that there is any third-party involvement in her disappearance.
“This remains a missing person enquiry and we will continue to carry out searches and to do everything we can to find Nicola and provide her family and the community with the answers they desperately need.
“Officers will be in and around the village and anyone with information or concerns should feel free to approach us.”
What does Nicola look like?
Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser, has lived in Lancashire for 25 years but is originally from near Chelmsford, Essex, and has a southern accent.
She is described as white, 5ft 3ins (1.6m) tall, with light brown shoulder-length hair which was tied into a ponytail at the time of her disappearance.
She was last seen wearing an ankle-length black quilted gilet jacket, a black Engelbert Strauss waist-length coat, tight-fitting black jeans, long green walking socks, ankle-length green Next wellies, a necklace and a pale blue Fitbit.
“It’s really important that the public pay heed to those very specific clothing descriptions please, because factual sightings of those items would be very useful to us,” Ms Riley added.
Anybody who has seen Nicola, or has information about where she might be, is asked to call 101, quoting log number 565 of January 30.
For immediate sightings please call 999.