Police in the UK are searching for a mother who vanished two weeks ago while walking her dog.
Nicola Bulley, 45, was last seen on January 27 in Lancashire, which is just north of Manchester. The mother-of-two had dropped her kids off a school, logged onto work, then took her dog, Willow, for walk along a river she often drove to while taking conference calls, according to police.
Investigators said cell phone data shows Bulley logged into a Teams call at 9:01 a.m. and another person walking their dog spotted her walking in the area at 9:10 a.m.
Her meeting call wrapped up at 9:30 a.m., but cell phone data shows Bulley stayed logged on to the call for an unknown reason. Three minutes later, a second dog-walker found Bulley’s dog alone on a bench with her phone — but Bulley was no where to be found.
Lancashire police have spoken with multiple witnesses, pulled video surveillance footage and tracked her digital footprint, but have not been able to find any information about where Bulley could be.
Some of the last images investigators have of the mother are from her Ring doorbell camera before heading down to the river with her dog.
Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, released the following statement through police about her disappearance:
It’s been ten days now since Nicola went missing and I have two little girls who miss their mummy desperately and who 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. 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. If anyone has any information which could help find Nicola, I urge them to get in touch with the police and help us provide the answers we all so badly need.
Lancashire police are focusing their search efforts on a river path that leads from the fields back to a main road.
Police released the following timeline surrounding Bulley’s confirmed movements the day she disappeared:
- 8:26 a.m.: Nicola leaves her home address with her children
- 8:40 a.m.: Nicola drops the children off at school and has a brief conversation with another parent
- 8:43 a.m.: Nicola walked along the path by the River Wyre towards the gate/bench into the lower field, having dropped her children off at school
- 8:47 a.m. (approximately): A dog-walker – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her walking around the lower field with her dog. Their two dogs interacted briefly before the witness left the field via the river path
- 8:53 a.m.: She sent an email to her boss
- 8:59 a.m.: She sent message to a friend
- 9:01 a.m.: She logged into a Teams call
- 9:10 a.m. (approximately): A witness – somebody who knows Nicola – saw her on the upper field walking her dog, Willow. Work is ongoing today to establish exactly what time this was.
- 9:20 a.m.: Her phone was back in the area of the bench
- 9:30 a.m.: The Teams call ended but Nicola stayed logged on
- 9:33 a.m. (approximately): Nicola’s mobile phone and Willow were found at a bench by the river by another dog-walker.
Police have used multiple different technologies to search for Bulley, including sonar, search dogs, drone and helicopter, and local surveillance cameras.
Due to the nature of the investigation, many people on social media have been following Bulley’s disappearance, wondering whether or not foul play was involved. In a press release, police said, “We would like to remind people that much of the speculation and comments on social media are both unhelpful to the investigation and, more importantly, hurtful for the family, who are going through agony as they wait for answers.”
Investigators confirmed their “working hypothesis” is that Bulley “sadly fell into the river for some reason” but they “remain open minded” and are “continuing to carry out a huge number of enquiries.”
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