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The search for Nicola Bulley has been extended towards the sea after police found no evidence of her falling into the river. Divers from the private search company Specialist Group International (SGI) have yet to find evidence the mum-of-two fell into the river.
SGI has focused attention on a three to four-mile-long stretch of the river where the 45-year-old mortgage adviser’s phone was found.
Further dive teams have been searching further upstream towards Morecambe Bay.
SGI founder and forensics experts Peter Faulding has previously dismissed the idea Ms Bulley is in the river.
But he said it is possible her body could have reached the sea by now.
Family and friends of Ms Bulley, from Inskip, have challenged a police theory she probably fell into the water while walking her dog, after dropping her children off at school in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, on January 27.
Friend Heather Gibbons said: “It’s natural for everyone to have speculation, because the truth is, in this, nothing is making sense.”
Meanwhile, Mr Faulding has said if his team does not find her in the water using his sonar equipment then he believes she has not been in the river.
The forensics expert told GB News SGI had been using a high-frequency side scan sonar in a stretch of the river on Tuesday and it is so detailed they can even see every stone of the riverbed.
READ ABOUT A NICOLA BULLEY WITNESS COMING FORWARD
He said: “She’s not in this stretch. We also sonar-ed on the other side down yesterday in the tidal river. Now if you take a football on a tidal river… when the tide goes out the ball will go down the stream and then as soon as the tide turns it will come back in again. It’ll end up back at the same place.
“For Nicola to get out to sea would be impossible, literally, it’s such a long way in the 11 days. It’s an awful long way down.”
Mr Faulding has raised the prospect of “third party” involvement in the disappearance despite the police holding the line that they are investigating a missing person case.
Superintendent Sally Riley told reporters at a press conference in the village on Tuesday that Mr Faulding is not included in “all the investigation detail”.
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She said: “Our search has not found Nicola in the river and then a re-search in parts by SGI has found the same. That does not mean… that Nicola has not been in the river.
“In the light of other inquiries being discounted from the investigation so far… clearly our main belief is that Nicola did fall into the river.
“Clearly, Mr Faulding isn’t included within all the investigation detail any more than the members of the public are that I’m briefing through these sorts of press conferences.”
Police have rejected suggestions that missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley could have been a victim of crime.
Supt Riley said “every single” potential suspicion or criminal suggestion which police had received had been looked at by detectives and discounted.
She said: “I would like to reassure the community that nothing in this investigation so far, it has been checked out if it has come in suggesting crime, it has been checked and discounted.
“So every single potential third party line of inquiry and potential suspicious or criminal element has been looked at and discounted.
“It does remain our belief that Nicola sadly fell into the river and that this is a missing persons inquiry.”
She added the National Crime Agency had also looked at Lancashire Police’s investigation and had failed to identify any other suspicious line of inquiry.
The police maintain it is still a possibility Ms Bulley left the area by one path not covered by CCTV cameras which is crossed by the main road through the village.
Officers are now trying to trace dashcam footage from 700 drivers who passed along the road at the time she disappeared, at about 9.20am.
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