Police have found a body in their search of Nicola Bulley, the mum-of-two who disappeared while walking her dog on 27 January.
Though the body is yet to be identified, the news marks a turning point in the ongoing investigation.
A spokesperson for Lancashire police said in a statement: "This morning, Sunday, 19 February, you may be aware of police activity around the river near to St Michaels.
"We want to provide you with an update on that activity. We were called today at 11:36am to reports of a body in the River Wyre, close to Rawcliffe Road.
"An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water and have sadly recovered a body.
"No formal identification has yet been carried out, so we are unable to say whether this is Nicola Bulley at this time.
"Procedures to identify the body are on-going. We are currently treating the death as unexplained.
"Nicola’s family have been informed of developments and our thoughts are with them at this most difficult of times. We ask that their privacy is respected."
Speculation about what might have happened to the 45-year-old has continued to grow in the 23 days since she vanished.
Bulley went missing after dropping off her two daughters - aged six and nine - at school before taking her dog for a walk by the River Wyre in Lancashire.
An anonymous villager says that she found Bulley's mobile phone, which was still connected to a work call, on a bench by the side of the river under a tree.
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.
At a press conference on 3 February, police first told the public of its 'main working hypothesis' that the mortgage adviser fell in the river during a '10-minute window' between 9.10am and 9.20am that day.
There is still no evidence of a crime, and therefore authorities are not treating the case as suspicious.
But Bulley's partner, Paul Ansell, said he is '100 percent' sure she didn't fall into the river, saying the path was 'about as well known a walk to us as you could possibly do'.
"On the very odd occasion when you see somebody that you don't know, they stand out like a sore thumb," he said.
"So whatever has happened, in my eyes, has to be somebody who knows the local area. And the fact that nothing's been seen or heard, I just truly believe that it's something in the village."
Many efforts have taken place in the hope of finding Bulley, including underwater searches using specialist sonar equipment in the river.
Peter Faulding, head of the private diving team Specialist Group International (SGI), was one of many who contributed to the efforts.
Speaking on TalkTV earlier this month, he described the case as 'the most baffling' he's worked on due to the fact that she wasn't found after ten days of intensive searching.
Faulding explained: "After 25 years of doing this kind of work, after hundreds of cases, I am well and truly baffled. Normally you would expect the divers to find them easily.
"When people drown they generally go down where they are. We normally find them within five to ten days of where they went down.
"This is the most baffling case that I have ever worked on."
In regard to today's news, reports state that police found the unidentified body along the same stretch of the river searched by Faulding and Lancashire Police divers.
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Topics: UK News