THERE are "two possibilities" as to why a body has only just been found in the search for Nicola Bulley, an ex-murder cop says.
Two dog walkers tipped off police yesterday after they spotted remains in the Lancashire river, just a mile from where the missing mum was last seen on January 27.
Cops quickly raced to close off the area and confirmed a body had been found.
However, as no formal identification had been carried out, they could not say whether the remains belonged to the Nicola.
A former-murder cop has now weighed in on the tragic discovery.
He said while "we don't know all the facts", there seemed to be only two reasons a body has only just been found.
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Speaking to The Times, he said: "That means really only two other possibilities – the body was weighed down or there were failures in the search."
The ex-cop continued: "It's important to emphasise we don't know all the facts.
"However, it does seem pretty extraordinary given the level of searches in that area."
He said it was possible the remains had been hidden in thick mud or reeds.
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But, he added: "The police had underwater drones and the private company had 3D scanners for that reason so it seems unlikely."
It comes after another former cop claimed nobody will ever know with "absolute certainty" what happened to Nicola.
Ex-Met Police commander John O’Connor said even DNA tests may not give all the answers.
He said: “It is unlikely anyone will ever know with absolute certainty what happened.”
John continued: “The identification process suggests the body has been in the water all the time.
"If it is Nicola then it now becomes a question of did she slip, was she pushed or did she jump into the river?
“A post-mortem examination will establish whether she suffered any injuries from a third party.
"I think it’s very unlikely she would have been pushed into the water and then drowned.
“But this will be determined by a coroner at a full inquest and in my opinion it will be an open verdict."
It comes as…
- The horrified witness' first words after spotting a women's body in the river were revealed
- Nicola's family could be waiting days to find out if the body pulled from the river is hers
- A former cop claims we'll never know what happened to Nicola
- The missing mum's partner shares how he and their children are coping
- Inside the police's search for the 45-year-old
John also criticised the police and other search efforts, adding: “These search teams couldn’t find a currant in a rice pudding.
"I find it pathetic that a body has been found a mile from where she went missing.”
The police have been criticised many times in the weeks since Nicola vanished.
More recently they were slammed after revealing Nicola had "vulnerabilities" at the time she went missing.
These included "significant issues with alcohol" in the past that were brought on by her "ongoing struggles with the menopause".
They were quickly blasted by MPs and former cops.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has ordered the force to explain why the details were revealed and police have now referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
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Meanwhile, Nicola's partner Paul broke his silence yesterday after the body was found and said he had: "No words right now, just agony."
Other members of the mum's family were said to be feeling "heartbroken", and bracing for "the worst possible news".
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