A private specialist diving team are joining police to help search for the missing mother of two, Nicola Bulley. The 45-year-old was last seen on a riverside dog walk in St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire 10 days ago where her phone remained connected to a conference call in the moments she vanished.
Lancashire Police have been working on the theory that Ms Bulley fell in the river Wyre but her family and friends have questioned that, saying there is still no evidence. A team of divers from Specialist Group International, led by forensic expert Peter Faulding, will now help police search for Ms Bulley.
Speaking to BBC broadcasters on Monday, Ms Bulley’s friend Emma White said the family asked Mr Faulding for help. She told BBC Breakfast: “Following the hypothesis of the police that Nicola was in the river, we need some evidence to back that up either way and I feel Peter and his amazing bit of kit … is going to come and sweep the river bed and give us answers.
Mr Faulding said his team will use high-tech sonar, which can see “every stick and stone lying on the riverbed”.
He told Sky News: “Let’s get this water searched so it can be either confirmed or denied if Nicola is actually in this river.”
He added: “This is a particularly long stretch of river for them (police) to do because they’re doubling up as a dive team as well, so this is a huge task for the police.”
Lancashire Police believe Ms Bulley went missing in “a 10-minute window” on January 27 while walking her dog, Willow, in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre after dropping off her daughters – aged six and nine – at school. She logged in to a Microsoft Teams call at 9.01 am. The remote meeting ended at 9.30 am with her phone still connected.
She was seen by another dog walker at 9.10 am – the last known sighting – and police traced telephony records of her mobile phone as it remained on a bench overlooking the river at 9.20 am. The device was found by a dog walker at around 9.35 am, with Willow nearby.
New images, taken from her home’s doorbell camera on the day she disappeared and released by her family, show Ms Bulley loading her car before driving her children to school. She was wearing a long black coat and her blonde hair was in a ponytail.