A body was found in the River Wyre in the search for missing dog walker Nicola Bulley, Lancashire Police confirmed yesterday.
The body, which has not yet been identified, was found by two dog walkers a mile from where Ms Bulley was last seen, who alerted the police.
The two walkers made the find about a mile downstream the River Wyre, and just south of a nearby caravan park and fish farm.
Ms Bulley was last seen walking along the towpath near Allotment Lane at around 9am on 27 January while the body was found in the River Wyre close to Rawcliffe Road at around 11:35am on Sunday.
Police searched the immediate vacinity around the area where the mortgage adviser was last seen, as well as Wyreside Farm caravan site and the caravans and an abandoned house.
The missing 45-year-old vanished without a trace 24 days ago after dropping her two daughters, aged six and nine, off at school.
Ms Bulley had been walking her dog Willow while connected to a work conference call. Her phone was found still connected to the call on a bench close to where she was last seen, along with a dog harness underneath the bench, while her dog was found nearby.
The area where Ms Bulley’s phone was found was not cordoned off for the preservation of evidence, because police did not consider her disappearance to be suspicious.
Throughout the search, Lancashire Police has maintained that Ms Bulley fell into the river and there was no third party involved.
A team of expert divers from Specialist Group International (SIG) lead by Peter Faulding were brought in to help with the search ten days after Ms Bulley went missing, but they were unable to find the body.
Mr Faulding’s team searched the area of the river where the body was found using high tech sonar equipment, used to search the bottom of the river bed, but did not locate Ms Bulley’s body.
The search was conducted down the River Wyre and downstream towards Great Eccleston. Police continued expanding the search further to the sea following expert advice.
Sonar was used continually down the river as far as Cartford Bridge, where a tidal stretch starts.
Speaking to TV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Faulding said the main focus of his team’s search was above the bench area and not in the reeds where the body was found.
He said: “I can hand on heart say we did our best, but she was not on the river bed, we would have seen her clearly.”
Lancashire Police came under fire last week after revelaing in a press conference that Ms Bulley was classed as a high-risk missing person due to her struggles with alcohol and the peri-menopause.
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