Police have extended the search for Nicola Bulley out to sea after finding no evidence she fell in the river – as a family friend admitted doubts to the working hypothesis of how she fell gone.
Heather Gibbons has joined family and friends of Ms Bulley in challenging Lancashire Police’s theory that she may have fallen into the River Wyre while walking her dog on January 27.
She told The Sun: ‘It’s natural for everyone to have speculation because the truth is, nothing in this makes sense.
It comes as police, who will be joined by specialist divers from Specialist Group International (SGI) for a third day on Wednesday, have yet to find any evidence that she is in the water despite two days of extensive searches.
Peter Faulding, forensic expert and founder of SGI, previously said it was unlikely Ms Bulley was in the fast-flowing river – adding it was ‘impossible’ for the 45-year-old to have reached the sea.
Ms Bulley – a 45-year-old mother of two – disappeared near the River Wyre on January 27
However, The Times reports that he told the newspaper that it was possible her body had already reached the sea if she had fallen into the water due to the winding course of the river.
While SGI divers focused on the area where Ms Bulley’s phone was found on a shoal, other dive teams started looking further upstream towards Morecambe Bay on Tuesday.
The bay is around 15 kilometers from where Mrs Bulley is believed to have disappeared and where the River Wyre empties into the sea.
Mr Faulding also slammed ‘keyboard warriors’ who accused him of having an ‘ulterior motive’ for joining the search last night.
He said, “That’s what you get for trying to help people. I have dedicated my life to helping families searching for missing loved ones.
‘Do our job to search the dark and murky waters for a drowning victim. My team and I don’t deserve this trash.
Mr Faulding was also reportedly ticked off by police for speculating Ms Bulley was missing after saying there could be third party involvement.
Meanwhile, Lancashire Police continued to rule out any “suspicious or criminal” items on Tuesday.
Earlier, Mr Faulding said his hopes for further diving expeditions were limited and he told GB News it was impossible for Ms Bulley to be at sea.
“We used the high frequency side scan sonar on this stretch today and it’s so detailed I can even see every stone in it. She is not in this stretch, ”explained the expert.
“We also had sonar on the other side yesterday in the tidal river. Now if you take a soccer ball down a tidal river… when the tide goes out the ball will go down the current and as soon as the tide turns it will come back. It will end up in the same place.
Peter Faulding (pictured) said if his team were unable to locate Ms Bulley in the river she was not there and he would not rule out ‘third party involvement’ in her disappearance
Divers have started searching near the estuary as the search for Nicola Bulley expands due to fears she may have floated downstream
Lancashire Police Superintendent Sally Riley pictured speaking to the media at St Michael’s on Wyre Village Hall today
“For Nicola, going out to sea would be impossible, literally, it’s so long in 11 days. It’s a very long way,” Mr. Faulding said.
Morecambe Bay was the scene of a disaster in 2004 which saw 23 illegal Chinese immigrants working as cockle pickers drowned by the rising tide.
A team of 40 detectives are currently working on around 500 different leads and more than 700 drivers who passed through the village at the time of Ms Bulley’s disappearance are being sought.
Speaking at a press conference today, Superintendent Sally Riley said police had received an ‘unprecedented’ amount of information and leads.
She added: “At the moment there are approximately 500 active pieces of information and investigative leads that we are working on to try and find answers for Nicola’s family.”
“This is normal in a missing person investigation and does not indicate that there is anything suspicious in this story.”
“The investigation team remains fully open to any information that may point to Nicola’s whereabouts or what happened to her.”
But the police chief stressed that detectives had yet to find any evidence of foul play.
“Any criminal or suspicious elements have been ruled out,” she said.
“It is important to stress that any information that indicates otherwise is constantly verified.
“We are by no means closed to any particular line of inquiry, but all of these thorough investigations have so far found something remarkable, however.”
Detailing the extent of the police investigation, Superintendent Riley said his team had received thousands of pieces of information “from the public, the wider community, family and friends Bulley”.
Officers carried out door-to-door inquiries in the village of St Michael’s on the Wyre and CCTV footage was also analysed.
Police have identified 700 cars which drove through the village at the time of Ms Bulley’s disappearance and each driver is being contacted and asked to check any dash cam footage they may have.
The dive expert said it was ‘impossible’ for Ms Bulley to be in the sea, saying it was ‘a long way’ to the estuary from where she disappeared.
Police say they are ‘open-minded’ about the disappearance of the mother-of-two, but their working assumption remains that the 45-year-old fell into the river
Read more: How a dog’s behavior can reveal hidden clues to mysteries
It is believed that dogs are able to find the last location of their owners through their sense of smell.
Experts advise those searching to return to where the dog was last spotted, as it will come back to its owner and scent.
A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than a human’s and can pick up a localized scent.
If his home is far away and the dog cannot find his owner, he will worry and try to get home to a familiar place.
In some cases, some dogs will return home or attempt to follow their missing owner, according to Colin Tennant, director of the Cambridge Institute of Dog Behavior and Training, who wrote in The Sunday Times.
Dogs, however, cannot understand what happens if a human falls into water. In this case, the dog may run along the bank looking for eye contact or stop at the bank as the last place of detection.
Superintendent Riley said the police investigation by his officers had been reviewed by the National Crime Agency and they had found no new lines of inquiry to pursue.
The police chief has warned “amateur sleuths” they will be arrested if they are found to be breaking the law during their own search.
Derelict and derelict buildings along the river have been broken into by members of the public conducting their own investigation.
She added: ‘There are properties along the river that are empty or derelict and while it may be well intentioned for people to think this could be a line of inquiry, I would ask them to refrain. to do.
“In some cases it can be criminal if they break in, cause damage or commit burglary.
“We entered abandoned properties – including those by the river, (and) all those being renovated that were empty – with the permission of these owners and their acquaintances.”
Superintendent Riley also said police would go after people making vile comments on social media and speculating about Ms Bulley’s whereabouts.
She added: “It is a scary time for the family, especially her two little girls.
“I would ask everyone to remain constructive and cooperative with the investigation and not to do anything that might thwart us and prevent us from trying to find Nicola.”
In a sign of tensions between police and Mr Faulding after he made a series of TV appearances offering his own theories, she stressed he was not party to all the details of their wider investigation.
The ‘baffled’ dive expert leading the search for Nicola Bulley’s disappearance fears her mobile phone discovered on the bend next to the river may have been left as a ‘decoy’. Ms Bulley is pictured here with partner Paul Ansell
But Mr Faulding hit back in an interview with GB News last night, saying all information should be made available to his team.
“If you don’t have the facts, you can’t do proper research. It is very difficult without this information.
“Normally, I am aware of this information on a lot of this research.”
“If there is more information, I certainly don’t know about it and it would be helpful to know.”
It comes as Ms Bulley’s family and friends questioned the police theory that she was likely to have fallen in the water.
And Mr Faulding said that if his team were unable to locate Ms Bulley in the river, she was not there and he would not rule out ‘third party involvement’ in her disappearance.
Mr Faulding said his ‘gut instinct’ told him Ms Bulley was not in the water.
“I personally think if I rule that stretch of river today where we’re working, I don’t think it’s here, I think there’s probably a third party involved,” Faulding told Good on Tuesday. Morning Britain.
The forensic expert said he spoke with Ms Bulley’s ‘distraught’ partner Paul Ansell to update him on the search.
He said: ‘I spoke to Paul last night and asked if she had any haters, stalkers, the normal questions you would ask. And nothing, he said no. And she was perfectly normal that day when she left, nothing out of the ordinary.