Nicola Bulley missing: British mum ‘vanishes’ after taking two daughters to school
Specialist divers searched a riverbed for traces of a missing woman on Monday, more than a week after she appeared to have “vanished” and her phone was still dialed into a working conference in a remote rural location in northern England, police say.
Family and friends of Nicola Bulley, 45, have questioned the police theory that she fell into the river in a tragic accident. They say there is no evidence for the hypothesis, leaving them in a worrying limbo.
The mortgage adviser was last seen 10 days ago walking her dog by the riverbank after dropping her two young daughters off as usual at school in the northwest village of St Michael on Wyre.
Shortly after, her dog was found roaming free “in an agitated state,” prompting a member of the public to sound the alarm.
With her mysterious disappearance making headlines, police said Friday they believe Bulley slipped into the water.
“Our main working hypothesis is therefore that unfortunately Nicola fell into the river, that there is no third party or criminal involvement and that this is not a suspicious but a tragic missing persons case,” said Superintendent Sally Riley, who directs the police investigation investigations.
Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, released a statement through police on Monday, saying that Bulley’s two daughters “miss their mama desperately” and “need her back”.
The towpath runs along a steep riverbank, but family members point out that there are no footprints or scrapes in the mud to indicate she fell.
Her parents have expressed fears that Bulley may have been kidnapped.
Her father, Ernest, 73, said last week there was no evidence his daughter fell into the river and he feared someone had “caught” her.
“There are two little kids waiting for their mom to come back,” he said.
Bulley’s sister Louise Cunningham added: “Somebody’s gotta know something. People don’t just vanish into thin air.”
Police divers searched the river but say they found no trace of the missing woman.
A specialist underwater rescue team joined the search on Monday.
Forensic scientist Peter Faulding, chief executive of Specialist Group International, said the high-tech sonar used by his firm was able to “see every stick and rock that lies on the riverbed.”
The outcome of the search would allow police to confirm or deny “whether Nicola is actually in that flow,” he said.
Specialist Group International posted images of the search on Facebook, which included divers, drones and helicopters.
“We will continue the search tomorrow to try to close Nicola’s family in some way,” the company wrote. “Our thoughts [are] with Nicolas family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Girlfriend Emma White told the BBC the uncertainty was particularly difficult for the family.
“After the police hypothesis that Nicola was in flux, we need evidence to back it up either way,” she said.
In November, Bulley – who had frequently documented her walks on social media – wrote on her Facebook page about the place she was last seen.
“Very foggy cold walk,” she wrote, adding that the area was “creepy.”
Detective Supt Rebecca Smith said the team working on the investigation are “completely committed and determined to find Nicola”.
“As a mother myself, I can’t begin to imagine what her two children are going through,” Smith said.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nicola-bulley-missing-mother-vanishes-after-dropping-daughters-off-school-england/ Nicola Bulley missing: British mum ‘vanishes’ after taking two daughters to school