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Missing woman's friends and family given new hope after 'influx of calls'

Sky News logo Sky News 03/02/2023

Friends of missing woman Nicola Bulley say there's still hope she can be found after fresh appeals at the scene sparked an "influx of calls".

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Emma White told Sky News they were hoping for a "lightbulb moment" on Friday - exactly a week after she disappeared.

Friends and locals have been holding photos and placards of Ms Bulley by the roadside in the Lancashire village where she went missing.

It appears to have had an effect, with the police getting a number of new calls by lunchtime.

"I can say it has received an influx of calls to 101," said Ms White.

"The liaison officer - Paul [Ms Bulley's partner] has called him a short time ago - they're looking into all the calls they're receiving as we speak."

"The hope was diminishing today," she told Sky News.

"But after the news I've just heard, that torch of hope is shining again and given just a glimmer of hope that somebody knows something, has seen something..."

As the search continues and divers comb the river, she said Ms Bulley's two daughters were being kept active with things like sleepovers, seeing friends and a school disco.

Paul Ansell, Ms Bulley's partner, said this morning that he was "staying as strong as I can" and focusing on supporting "the girls".

He said he kept playing "every scenario" in his head "around and around", but admitted it was as if she had "vanished into thin air".

Another friend, Heather Gibbons, said the disappearance was totally out of character and that Ms Bulley had arranged playdates for her children for the day after she went missing.

The mortgage adviser was last seen about 9.15am on 27 January on a path by the River Wyre in St Michael's on Wyre.

Ms Bulley walked from her children's school to a path by the river. Pic: Google © N/A Ms Bulley walked from her children's school to a path by the river. Pic: Google

She had just dropped her two young daughters at school.

The 45-year-old's phone was found on a bench, still connected to a work call, and her dog was running loose.

Police said a potential witness had been identified - but the woman reportedly told the Daily Mail she hadn't seen anything and had already spoken to police earlier in the week.

Officers are still treating the case as a missing person investigation and say there's no evidence of outside involvement.

On Thursday, Ms Bulley's sister and father told Sky News they have been "stuck in a nightmare" since her disappearance and that "her children need her home".

Louise Cunningham told Sky News: "We're going round and round in circles trying to piece together what could have possibly happened.

"It's like she's just vanished into thin air. We just want her home, we need her home, her children need her home. It's absolutely heartbreaking."

Her father Ernie Bulley, 73, spoke of the "pain" the "close-knit family" are feeling.

"This has just emptied our lives at the minute, we just feel so empty," he said.

"We appreciate everything everyone is doing to find her. The police have been brilliant, the local community has been outstanding. But at the end of the day we just want her back."


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