The daughters of a mum who went missing last week continue to ask “where’s mummy” as her family make desperate attempts to find her.
Nicola Bulley, 45, disappeared while walking her dog near the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, last Friday morning (27 January) and has not been seen since.
Her partner Paul Ansell has said he “cannot get his head around” how the mother-of-two had vanished, and said his focus was on staying strong for their two daughters. The 44-year-old said his “whole focus is my two girls” and he was “hoping to goodness” that people would come forward with new information, adding that he will “never lose hope” one week on from her disappearance.
Speaking near the scene where Ms Bulley was last seen, he told broadcasters: “Every single scenario comes to a brick wall. Every single one of them. All we are doing is sitting there going round and round and round through each scenario.”
He added: “We’re never, ever going to lose hope, of course we’re not, but it is as though she has vanished into thin air. It’s just insane.”
On Friday morning (4 February), members of the local community stood by the side of the road holding signs bearing Ms Bulley’s photo, urging people to contact police with information. Mr Ansell said the support had given the family “a great amount of comfort”.
Ms Bulley’s friend Emma White spoke of her “heartache” on the seventh day of her disappearance and revealed that Nicola’s family were trying to be “strong” for her worried little girls, aged six and nine, who continue to ask where their mummy is.
She told the BBC: “She’s a daughter, a mother, a partner, a sister, a great friend, and we just all want Nicki back. So if anybody has anything that they can give the police, anything, just share it.
“Seven days on, such a tough milestone today for all the family and friends. We’re out in force today. We’ve had banners made, placards with her face, so the idea is that seven days on there might be someone that’s passing today that passed last Friday, that might be able to shed that glimmer of hope we need.”
She added: “They are the most close-knit family. Those poor girls asking questions, ‘where’s mummy, how is mummy’.”
Tearful dad pleads ‘come home’
Ms Bulley’s sister Louise Cunningham told Sky News on Friday that “something has got to have been missed” as “people don’t just vanish into thin air”. Meanwhile, her tearful father Ernie Bulley said Nicola’s young daughters still believed it is “only a matter of time” before their mother comes home.
He told Sky: “There are two young children there waiting for their mummy to come back and we want her back obviously also, but if Nicola is out there, if she’s watching this, then all we’d like to say is: ‘Come home, contact the police, contact ourselves and we just want you back.’
“And they know that mummy’s missing but they know that she’s going to be coming home and everyone is looking for her, so it’s only a matter of time, that they’re thinking in their minds that she’s going to walk through that door.”
It comes after Mr Ansell said earlier this week that the family were living in “perpetual hell”.
Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser from Inskip, Lancashire, vanished while walking her dog after dropping off her daughters at school last Friday and was last seen at 9.10am. She had logged on to a work Teams call, which ended at 9.30am with her still logged on.
Her mobile phone and the lead and harness for her dog, springer spaniel Willow, were later found on a bench close to the River Wyre in the Lancashire countryside.
Lancashire Police have said they do not believe any crime has been committed and are treating the incident as a missing person inquiry. A potential witness, a dog walker, who was traced following a police appeal on Thursday (2 February), said she had spoken to officers and “doesn’t know anything”.
The force said that despite “unanswered questions” people should not “speculate or spread false rumours” about the disappearance.
In a press conference on Friday (3 February), police investigating the disappearance say they believe Ms Bulley fell into the River Wyre while walking her dog. The force said its “main working hypothesis” is that she fell into the river and that “this is not suspicious but a tragic case of a missing person”. They believe the 45-year-old mum-of-two vanished in a 10-minute window from 9.10am to 9.20am when the dog walker went missing last Friday (27 February).
Superintendent Sally Riley told a press conference in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre that the last confirmed sighting of her took place at 9.10am that day where she was seen on Upper Field walking her dog.
Her dog was off the lead which was normal, the superintendent added. At 9.20am police believe her phone was on a bench while connected to a work Teams meeting, which ended 10 minutes later. Ms Riley said: “We only have a 10-minute window in which we cannot account for Nicola’s movements.”