Police investigating the disappearance of Nicola Bulley in Lancashire have the right to investigate the theory that the mother-of-two is in the River Wyre, a retired detective has said.
Julie Mackay, a former detective inspector at Gloucestershire Police, said no new evidence had emerged to suggest otherwise.
Ms Bulley, 45, from Inskip, Lancashire, went missing while walking her dog in a park near the river in St Michaels on Wyre on the morning of January 27 after dropping her two children off at school.
Her mobile phone and spring spaniel, Willow, were found next to a bench in the park.
Despite two sightings of Miss Bulley in the hour before she disappeared and an extensive search of the area, police were unable to find any trace of her.
Lancashire Constabulary said on Friday they were keeping an “open mind” as to what might have happened.
The force said they were continuing to search the river, although the investigation was being directed further down the river to an area where it is tidal.
Ms Mackday said she believed there were three main reasons she believed the mother-of-two was in the river.
They were that no new information gave them reason to think otherwise; she is unlikely to be criminal because of the time of day she disappeared; it would be more difficult to find her because of the winter conditions.
“I still believe she is gone in that river – today when you look at the last two weeks and review it, nothing has changed,” she said The Daily Mirror.
“It’s not as unusual as you think. If she’s gone over the Wyre then sadly it becomes a tide and then there’s the possibility that she’s gone out to sea.”
It was reported over the weekend that detectives working on the case visited a garage near Michael’s Church to request CCTV footage and take statements from staff.
A witness has also told police he saw two men acting suspiciously near the route where Ms Bulley regularly walked her dog the day before she went missing.
The witness, who did not want to be named, said the “hooded” men were “carrying fishing rods” and “were trying to hide their faces”.
“It was very strange. It made me uneasy,” said the witness The sun.
The two men were seen at around 7.45am the day before Miss Bulley disappeared. The witness said “they may have been two ordinary fishermen” but “they looked like they were trying to hide their faces, which struck me as odd”.