Police still believe that Nicola Bulley fell into river and is a missing person
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Police still believe that missing person Nicola Bulley fell into the River Wyre.
In a press conference, Superintendent Sally Riley said the force's theory is that Bulley 'sadly fell into the river and this is a missing person enquiry'.
She added: "The river is a complex area to search ... and is tidal in parts.
"As acknowledged by experts, this makes the search more difficult."
Authorities have been searching for Bulley since she went missing on 27 January in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire.
The 45-year-old had dropped her two daughters - aged six and nine - off at school and then went on her usual dog walk alongside the River Wyre.
Her phone, still connected to a Teams call for her job as a mortgage adviser, was found on a bench on a steep riverbank overlooking the water, along with the dog lead, with the dog harness on the ground.
The spaniel, Willow, was found on a path by the river.
In a statement released on Monday (6 February) through Lancashire Police, her partner Paul Ansell said: "I have two little girls who miss their mummy desperately and who need her back."
Later on Monday night, the head of a team of private underwater search experts cast doubt on the force's current working hypothesis that Bulley had fallen into the river.
Ahead of the Specialist Group International (SGI) beginning its second day of searching the River Wyre on Tuesday, Peter Faulding said he did not think the missing mother was in the water.
Speaking with TalkTV, Faulding – a leading forensic search expert and SIG's founder – said: "I personally don't think she's in the river, that's just my gut instinct at this point."
He added that his team of divers would go back up the river on Tuesday, to search once again near the point where Bulley's mobile phone was found on a bench.
In a separate media interview on Monday night, Faulding admitted he was 'baffled' by the case.
"Police were there on day one diving where the phone was found on the bench," he told the Daily Mail.
"Normally, if a person has drowned, they go down within a few metres if being searched for the same day.
"In another couple of days I will be confident she is not in that area at all. We have the best sonar you can buy. We have scanned a huge area today (Monday) and there is nothing there."
The expert diver added: "A body will move after a time, but they searched that area and came up with nothing – that is what is weird here. We are baffled."
The group, which is based in Dorking, Surrey, and has been volunteering its services free of charge, has been using specialist sonar equipment to look for Bulley in the River Wyre.
After spending Monday searching 'three or four miles' of the river until it grew dark alongside Lancashire Police, Faulding told the PA news agency: "It's a negative search, no signs of Nicola."
He added that his team will look through another stretch of river on Tuesday 'towards where Nicola went originally missing'.
Ansell, her partner, meanwhile said in his statement: "This has been such a tough time for the girls especially but also for me and all of Nicola's family and friends, as well as the wider community and I want to thank them for their love and support.
"We are also really grateful to Peter and his team from SGI for coming up and helping support the work of Lancashire Police as they continue their investigation."
The force has searched the river and riverbank all the way to the sea, using search teams, sonar, search dogs, drone, helicopter and CCTV.
Featured Image Credit: PA/Alamy Police Handout
Topics: UK News
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