Nicola Bulley alarm raised by walker after ‘bone dry’ dog was found alone by river
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A passerby raised the alarm over Nicola Bulley's disappearance after spotting her 'bone dry' Springer Spaniel next to the river where she was last spotted.
The mother, 45, was last seen on Friday 27 January while walking her dog alongside the River Wyre in St Michael’s in Wyre, Lancashire.
She also claims to have witnessed Nicola's pet Willow running free while the dog's harness was on the floor next to the river.
After finding the phone, the woman spoke to her daughter-in-law who then called Nicola's partner Paul, who contacted the police.
The witness said: "I saw the dog and I recognised it, but I suddenly couldn't think whose dog it was.
"There was a mobile phone on the bench and there was also something between the bench and the river so I went and looked, and it was a dog harness.
"The dog looked worried so I tied her up and rushed home as I had to go to an appointment.
"I then went and spoke to my daughter-in-law and she immediately knew who the dog was, alerted the woman's partner and that was it - the police were on it."
Another local who claimed to know the woman who found Willow also told MailOnline: "She said the dog was near the river bank and close to the bench that Nicola's phone was found.
"Willow was bone dry and so hadn't been into the water but the dog was in an agitated state."
A major police search with helicopter, drones, sniffer dogs and specialist divers and equipment in the area remains ongoing.
Nicola's partner, Paul Ansell, 44, has called the situation 'perpetual hell'.
In a statement, her family said: “The girls are desperate to have their mummy back home safe with them and your ongoing efforts have provided comfort to them whilst we await news on Nicola.
“We ask for anyone who thinks they may have any information that may help the police find Nicola to please come forward and help them with their enquiries.”
Yesterday, Lancashire Police found a 'key witness' and said they had spoken to an elderly dog walker, according to a statement.
Superintendent Sally Riley of Lancashire Police said that the case 'remains a missing person inquiry and at this time there is nothing to suggest any third-party involvement in Nicola’s disappearance'.
“We appreciate there is also a great deal of concern in the local community, and we appreciate people want to help," she added.
“However, parts of the riverbank are treacherous, and we would ask that nobody puts themselves in danger and that the police and partner agencies’ efforts to find Nicola are not compromised.
"If anyone has any questions or concerns, they are welcome to speak to officers in the area."
LADbible have contacted Lancashire Police for further comment.
Anybody with information can call 101, quoting log 473 of January 27, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image Credit: Nicola Bulley/Facebook / PA Images / Alamy
Topics: UK News