Missing dogwalker’s sister disputes police theory that she fell in river
The sister of missing dog walker Nicola Bulley has disputed police claims that the 45-year-old “fell in the river”.
Lancashire Police stated in a press conference held on Friday afternoon that they believe Ms Bulley is likely to have fallen into the water while walking her dog in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre.
The theory purports that the mother of two fell during a 10-minute window, as police do not believe there to have been any criminal or third-party involvement.
However, Ms Bulley’s sister, Louise Cunningham, has questioned the idea. She urged the public to “keep an open mind” in a social media post on Friday evening, adding that there is “no evidence” that her sister fell into the water.
“Off the back of the latest police media update, please can I add there is no evidence whatsoever that she has gone into the river, it’s just a theory,” she wrote on social media.
“Everyone needs to keep an open mind as not all CCTV and leads have been investigated fully, the police confirmed the case is far from over,” added Ms Cunningham.
In the early stages of the investigation, police considered the possibility that Ms Bulley had been taken by someone.
Substantial CCTV footage from the surrounding area has ruled out the possibility of Ms Bulley having left the park via the majority of its gates. The path leading to Garstang Lane, however, has proved to be a black spot in the CCTV coverage.
“There’s only a very small area onto Garstang Lane toward the A5/A6 which is not covered by CCTV, and that’s why we’re appealing today for dashcam footage or for people who may have been walking on Garstang Lane or driving in the area to come forward if they can,” Superintendent Sally Riley told the Lancashire Evening Post.
Police are considering whether Ms Bulley fell into the river while trying to retrieve a tennis ball for her dog. However, no such ball has been recovered.
In an interview with Sky News, Ms Bulley’s close friend, Emma White, disputed the idea that a ball had been taken on the walk. She describes how Ms Bulley’s spaniel would often “pester” for it, so Ms Bulley had made the decision to stop using it.
“Willow used to love a tennis ball, but it used to disturb the walk so they haven’t had the tennis ball since way into last year,” Ms White confirmed. “There was definitely no ball.”
Ms White is similarly critical of the theory put forward by Lancashire Police, expressing disappointment that Friday’s press conference was based on a “hypothesis” rather than facts.
“When we’re talking about a life, we can’t base it on a hypothesis,” she said. “Surely we need this factual evidence.”
Supt Riley admitted that Ms Bulley’s clothing could have been a factor, noting that she was wearing a quilted, ankle-length jacket with another coat beneath, which would probably have been “heavy”, especially “on someone who is of slight build and only 5ft 3in”, she told MailOnline.
Ms Bulley was last seen wearing a long, black, quilted gilet jacket, a black Engelbert Strauss waist-length coat, tight-fitting jeans, and green wellies.