Police hunting missing dog walker are looking for ‘key witness’

Police searching for Nicola Bulley are appealing for a “key” witness who they believe was in the area on the morning of the mum-of-two’s disappearance.

The witness who was seen pushing a pram on the morning of Friday January 27, when Miss Bulley went missing, is a woman.

Officers believe Ms Bulley fell into the River Wyre while walking her dog.

Her family and friends have claimed that it is “no evidence whatsoever” behind the police theory.

The woman was seen walking in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre at around 8.22am.

She is seen walking again just under 20 minutes later at 8.41am.

Read more:
What were the dog walkers movements before she disappeared?

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “It is believed that the woman in question may have walked along the river path during these times so detectives are trying to speak to her and appeal for her to get in touch.”

A force spokesman said it was vital to collect as much footage as possible from the area this morning to “carefully review every piece” and establish whether Nicola can be seen.

“We know from the footage we’re currently reviewing, this is a busy road, especially at that time of the morning,” they said.

“There will be many people who were in that area at the time who may not think they can help, but we would ask you not to make that decision yourself and come forward so that we have as much material as possible to assist the investigation. .”

Crucial 10 minute window

Ms Bulley, 45, was seen walking her dog on a footpath by the River Wyre.

Their investigation is focusing on the police a critical 10 minute window where the mortgage adviser’s movements are not accounted for between 9.10am and 9.20am

A timeline compiled by the force found she logged into a work conference call on Microsoft Teams at 9.01am.

Nine minutes later a witness who knows Mrs Bulley said they saw her on the upper field walking her dog, Willow, who was off her lead.

This is the last confirmed sighting of her.

At 9.20am, police believe her phone was left on a bench near the river.

At 9.30am, the work conference call ended but she remained connected – before her phone was found three minutes later on the bench by another dog walker.

We will never lose hope

Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell vowed to “never lose hope” on Friday, a week after she “vanished into thin air”.

He said he was focused on supporting his daughters, aged six and nine, but added: “I don’t know how I’m coping.

“I don’t want to think about that.”

Friends and family told Sky News correspondent Katerina Vittozzi it was “too early for sympathy”, and say they are not ready to accept the police theory that Ms Bulley fell into the river.

They have now set up a community search hub at the village tennis club where people are invited to take a map of the local area and try to help.

Specialists and divers from HM Coastguard, mountain rescue and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have been deployed to assist in the search, as well as sniffer dogs, drones and police helicopters.

A team of detectives is working to analyze telephone communications, house-to-house enquiries, CCTV, dashcam footage and other digital inquiries, Lancashire Police said.

Read more:
Nicola’s girls ‘miss her a lot’, says a friend of hers
Signs and placards displayed in the streets to find a missing mother of two

‘He is a very strange person’

Forensic search and rescue expert Peter Faulding told Sky News he is “mystified” by the “strange” circumstances surrounding Ms Bulley’s disappearance.

Mr Faulding, who has worked on hundreds of cases, said police were facing difficulties during the search operation due to the River Wye’s tide.

But he said: “I mean, find the phone, bench; normally, if someone gave a ride, they would have their phone in hand.

“You know, the dog to be dry; going after dogs, this is why many people drowned. They jumped after their dogs.

“But the dog was found dry, so it’s clear he didn’t go in the river, and what makes me suspicious about this case is that he’s a very strange person.”

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