The partner of missing Nicola Bulley says he is “100% convinced” she is not in the River Wyre.
Bulley has been missing for 14 days and a specialist underwater team searching the river suspended the operation on Wednesday after no body was found. A search of the surrounding countryside carried out by Lancashire constabulary also found no trace of her.
Her partner, Paul Ansell, told Channel 5 News on Friday: “Extensive searching, you know, as you’re probably aware, has gone on in that river.
“The fact that the divers and underwater rescue team and all that were in that river on the day, and thankfully found absolutely nothing, in the part where you would have to presume is her last known location.”
He added: “Personally, I am 100% convinced it’s not the river, that’s my opinion.”
Police posited last Friday that Bulley fell into the river while walking her dog and said they had found no evidence of criminal involvement.
Louise Cunningham, Bulley’s sister, publicly doubted the police’s assumption that she had fallen into the river.
She wrote on Facebook: “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.”
Bulley’s friend Emma White also doubted the police’s assumption. “When we are talking about a life, we can’t base it on a hypothesis – surely, we need this factual evidence,” she told Sky News.
“That’s what the family and us are all holding on to … we still have no evidence, and that’s why we’re out again in force.
Bulley has been missing from St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, since 27 January. In the same interview on Friday, Ansell told Channel 5 News the family was going through “unprecedented hell”.
“But that hope and that positivity in me is stronger than ever, and I’m never, ever going to let go,” he said. “Nikki would never give up on us ever. She wouldn’t give up on anybody. And we’re not going to ever give up on her, we’re going to find her.”
He added: “There has to be a way to find out what happened, there has to be. You cannot, you cannot walk your dog down a river and just vanish into thin air. Something happened that day, something …”
Talking about the couple’s two children, Ansell added: “The only thing, the only thing that I can do is tell them that everybody is looking for mummy.
“The best people in the world are looking for mummy – just to give them that, you know, that level of hope that they can understand that everything that can be done to find mummy is being done.”
On Thursday, police expanded their search efforts from St Michael’s to about 10 miles downstream where the river empties into the sea at Morecambe Bay, with police patrol boats and rescue boats spotted on the river and in the bay.