Body pulled from river confirmed to be that of missing mom Nicola Bulley

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By Kim Novak

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Police have confirmed that the body found in the River Wyre is that of Nicola Bulley, found over three weeks after she disappeared while on a dog walk.

Lancashire Police told the public in a press conference held on Monday (February 20) that the body found in the river was indeed that of Bulley following formal identification.

The mother of two, 45, had vanished on January 27 after dropping her young daughters - aged six and nine - to school before taking the family dog, Willow, for a walk near the River Wyre in St. Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire.

A short while later, Willow was seen looking agitated on her own while Bulley's phone was found on a nearby bench still connected to a work conference call.

The police had initially hypothesized that Bulley had fallen into the river and drowned, however, extensive searches failed to find any trace of her in the water.

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Nicola Bulley went missing on January 27 after vanishing while walking her dog. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

Her body was located over three weeks later on February 19 less than a mile away from where she was last seen, after police were called by a man and woman who were walking their dog, per reports from PA.

Lancashire Police said during the press conference on Monday: "Sadly, we are now able to confirm that yesterday we recovered Nicola Bulley from the River Wyre. Nicola's family have been informed and are, of course, devastated.

"Our thoughts are with them at this time, as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community. We recognise the huge impact that Nicola's disappearance has had on her family and friends but also on the people of St Michael's.

"We would like to thank all of those who have helped during what has been a hugely complex and highly emotional investigation.

"Today's development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted but we hope that at least it can begin to provide some answers for Nicola's loved ones. They remain foremost in our thoughts. The case is now being handled by His Majesty's coroner."

A statement from the family was also read out, telling the public: "Our family liaison officers have had to confirm our worst fears today. We will never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments and that will never leave us.

"We will never forget Nikki - how could we? She was the center of our world. She was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that.

"Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most and it saddens us to think that one day we will have to explain to them that the press and members of the public accused their dad of wrongdoing, misquoted and vilified friends and family.

"This is absolutely appalling. They have to be held accountable, this can not happen to another family."

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Paul Ansell (pictured) shared the family's devastation after Nicola Bulley's body was found, before it was formally identified. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

The family called out Sky News and ITV for contacting them in the wake of Bulley's body being found, despite having asked for privacy, adding: "Leave us alone now."

"These are our lives and our children's lives," they added. "To those that genuinely helped and supported us privately, we thank you. The community support in St Michael's, friends, neighbours, and strangers, has been nothing short of comforting and heartwarming. Friends, you know who you are - thank you.

"Our hearts truly break for others who have missing loved ones - keep that hope alive. Finally, Nikki - you are no longer a missing person. You have been found. We can let you rest now. We love you, always have and always will. We will take it from here."

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The local community had rallied round the family in the hopes of finding the missing mother. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

Lancashire Police had issued a statement after the body was found, saying at the time: "This morning, Sunday, 19 February, you may be aware of police activity around the river near to St Michaels. We want to provide you with an update on that activity.

"We were called today at 11:36 AM to reports of a body in the River Wyre, close to Rawcliffe Road. An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water, and have sadly recovered a body.

"No formal identification has yet been carried out, so we are unable to say whether this is Nicola Bulley at this time."

"Procedures to identify the body are on-going. We are currently treating the death as unexplained," they added. "Nicola’s family have been informed of developments and our thoughts are with them at this most difficult of times. We ask that their privacy is respected."

Following the recovery of the body, Bulley's partner Paul Ansell, 44, told Sky News that he had "no words right now, just agony," adding: "We're all together, we have to be strong."

Authorities had failed to locate the missing mother despite combing the waters using an 'arc-search', which is when the riverbed is monitored using a side-to-side motion from one bank to the other.

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Her body was spotted by passersby despite extensive searches by police and dive experts. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Bulley's body is believed to have been found in reeds just around a slight bend in the river, near to where a tree had fallen on its side and was partially submerged.

Peter Faulding, an expert forensic diver, had led an independent search of the water in conjunction with the police, and had previously claimed it was unlikely Bulley would be found in the river.

Following the discovery of a body, he told MailOnline: "All I can say is when we searched she was not on the bottom of that river. We weren’t searching the reeds, our job was to search the water."

He'd previously stated that most drowning victims "go down where they are" and are found within five or 10 meters of where they entered the water.

Our thoughts remain with Nicola Bulley's family and friends at this difficult time.

Featured image credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Body pulled from river confirmed to be that of missing mom Nicola Bulley

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

Police have confirmed that the body found in the River Wyre is that of Nicola Bulley, found over three weeks after she disappeared while on a dog walk.

Lancashire Police told the public in a press conference held on Monday (February 20) that the body found in the river was indeed that of Bulley following formal identification.

The mother of two, 45, had vanished on January 27 after dropping her young daughters - aged six and nine - to school before taking the family dog, Willow, for a walk near the River Wyre in St. Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire.

A short while later, Willow was seen looking agitated on her own while Bulley's phone was found on a nearby bench still connected to a work conference call.

The police had initially hypothesized that Bulley had fallen into the river and drowned, however, extensive searches failed to find any trace of her in the water.

wp-image-1263195816 size-full
Nicola Bulley went missing on January 27 after vanishing while walking her dog. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

Her body was located over three weeks later on February 19 less than a mile away from where she was last seen, after police were called by a man and woman who were walking their dog, per reports from PA.

Lancashire Police said during the press conference on Monday: "Sadly, we are now able to confirm that yesterday we recovered Nicola Bulley from the River Wyre. Nicola's family have been informed and are, of course, devastated.

"Our thoughts are with them at this time, as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community. We recognise the huge impact that Nicola's disappearance has had on her family and friends but also on the people of St Michael's.

"We would like to thank all of those who have helped during what has been a hugely complex and highly emotional investigation.

"Today's development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted but we hope that at least it can begin to provide some answers for Nicola's loved ones. They remain foremost in our thoughts. The case is now being handled by His Majesty's coroner."

A statement from the family was also read out, telling the public: "Our family liaison officers have had to confirm our worst fears today. We will never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments and that will never leave us.

"We will never forget Nikki - how could we? She was the center of our world. She was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that.

"Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most and it saddens us to think that one day we will have to explain to them that the press and members of the public accused their dad of wrongdoing, misquoted and vilified friends and family.

"This is absolutely appalling. They have to be held accountable, this can not happen to another family."

wp-image-1263195973 size-full
Paul Ansell (pictured) shared the family's devastation after Nicola Bulley's body was found, before it was formally identified. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

The family called out Sky News and ITV for contacting them in the wake of Bulley's body being found, despite having asked for privacy, adding: "Leave us alone now."

"These are our lives and our children's lives," they added. "To those that genuinely helped and supported us privately, we thank you. The community support in St Michael's, friends, neighbours, and strangers, has been nothing short of comforting and heartwarming. Friends, you know who you are - thank you.

"Our hearts truly break for others who have missing loved ones - keep that hope alive. Finally, Nikki - you are no longer a missing person. You have been found. We can let you rest now. We love you, always have and always will. We will take it from here."

wp-image-1263195974 size-full
The local community had rallied round the family in the hopes of finding the missing mother. Credit: PA Images / Alamy

Lancashire Police had issued a statement after the body was found, saying at the time: "This morning, Sunday, 19 February, you may be aware of police activity around the river near to St Michaels. We want to provide you with an update on that activity.

"We were called today at 11:36 AM to reports of a body in the River Wyre, close to Rawcliffe Road. An underwater search team and specialist officers have subsequently attended the scene, entered the water, and have sadly recovered a body.

"No formal identification has yet been carried out, so we are unable to say whether this is Nicola Bulley at this time."

"Procedures to identify the body are on-going. We are currently treating the death as unexplained," they added. "Nicola’s family have been informed of developments and our thoughts are with them at this most difficult of times. We ask that their privacy is respected."

Following the recovery of the body, Bulley's partner Paul Ansell, 44, told Sky News that he had "no words right now, just agony," adding: "We're all together, we have to be strong."

Authorities had failed to locate the missing mother despite combing the waters using an 'arc-search', which is when the riverbed is monitored using a side-to-side motion from one bank to the other.

wp-image-1263195817 size-full
Her body was spotted by passersby despite extensive searches by police and dive experts. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Bulley's body is believed to have been found in reeds just around a slight bend in the river, near to where a tree had fallen on its side and was partially submerged.

Peter Faulding, an expert forensic diver, had led an independent search of the water in conjunction with the police, and had previously claimed it was unlikely Bulley would be found in the river.

Following the discovery of a body, he told MailOnline: "All I can say is when we searched she was not on the bottom of that river. We weren’t searching the reeds, our job was to search the water."

He'd previously stated that most drowning victims "go down where they are" and are found within five or 10 meters of where they entered the water.

Our thoughts remain with Nicola Bulley's family and friends at this difficult time.

Featured image credit: REUTERS / Alamy