Nicola Bulley: Family friend says it ‘may be time to start looking down other avenues’ as search for missing mum continues
A friend of missing Nicola Bulley says it “may be time to start looking down other avenues” if search teams looking in the River Wyre cannot find her.
The mother-of-two went missing in Lancashire on the morning of Friday 27 January while walking her dog.
Detectives say their “main working hypothesis” is that the 45-year-old fell into the River Wyre near to the village of St Michael’s on Wyre.
But her family and friends have claimed there is “no evidence whatsoever” behind this.
Specialist teams, including a private company with underwater sonar equipment, are carrying out comprehensive searches over the river, but they are yet to find her.
Speaking beside the river as searches continued on Tuesday, family friend Heather Gibbons said: “I think it’s incredibly hard, but up to a certain level, we understand it’s human nature, it’s natural for everyone to have speculation, because the truth is in this, nothing is making sense.
“The truth is if we look at it factually, no one knows until we have some evidence.
“I know that the family are massively appreciative of all the police have done.
“As family and friends, the way we are looking at it is, we feel we have got the best of the best on that water and hopefully it will be a completion, one way or the other.
“And if they find nothing, then maybe it’s time to start looking down other avenues.”
It comes after a dive team from Specialist Group International (SGI) joined the search.
The company are using a £55,000 side-scan sonar, with a high frequency of 1,800 kilohertz, to help police carry out a comprehensive search of the river.
The team helped search part of the river on Monday, in an area around and downstream from a bench where Ms Bulley’s mobile phone was left, still connected to a work call.
On Monday night, chief executive Peter Faulding said their search, covering around “three to four miles” of the river, had shown up negative.
He said the team would search another stretch of the river, close to where detectives believe Ms Bulley fell in on Tuesday.
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Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Faulding said: “I personally think, if I rule this stretch of water out where we are working today, I don’t think she is here.
“I think there’s probably a third party involved.”
Police divers previously searched the same area last week as a huge hunt continued for mortgage adviser Ms Bulley, who lived in the village of Inskip, two miles from the river.
Officers say they have ruled out Ms Bulley leaving that area of the river and suspect she may have gone into the water after an “issue” with the dog while walking.
An update on the search is expected by Lancashire Police later today.
On Monday night, Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell told Sky News she “has to be found safe and well” because “I can’t put those girls to bed again with no answers”.
In a separate statement, released through Lancashire Police 10 days on from her disappearance, he also said his girls “miss their mummy desperately” and “need her back”.
“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,” he said.