The sister of Nicola Bulley has urged people to keep an open mind about her disappearance as the search enters its ninth day.
Multi-agency search teams continued to trawl the river near St Michael’s on Wyre, working on the hypothesis that the 45-year-old mortgage adviser from nearby Inskip could have fallen in.
Louise Cunningham asked people to “keep sharing my Nikki” and said there was “no evidence whatsoever” that she had fallen into the River Wyre in Lancashire.
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.
“Everyone needs to keep an open mind as not all CCTV and leads have been investigated fully, the police confirmed the case is far from over.”
Supt Sally Riley from Lancashire constabulary said the investigators’ main hypothesis was that Bulley had accidentally fallen into the river while walking her dog.
Divers from HM Coastguard, mountain rescue and Lancashire fire and rescue service had all joined the search, with sniffer dogs, drones and police helicopters deployed.
At a press conference on Friday, Riley said: “Our main working hypothesis is that Nicola has sadly fallen into the river, there is no third-party or criminal involvement and this is not suspicious but the tragic case of a missing person.
“This is particularly important because speculation otherwise can be really distressing for the family and for Nicola’s children.”
Detectives are also working behind the scenes to analyse CCTV and dashcam videos, while members of the public with footage that could be useful have been urged to come forward.
Police believe Bulley went missing in just “a 10-minute window” while she was walking her dog, Willow, close to the river after dropping off her daughters – aged six and nine – at school.
Bulley had logged in to a Microsoft Teams call at 9.01am, which ended at 9.30am with her phone still connected to the call.
She was seen by another dog walker at 9.10am – the last known sighting – and police traced records of her mobile phone as it remained on a bench overlooking the river at 9.20am. It was found by a dog walker at about 9.35am, with Willow nearby.
“Based on all the work we have done so far, we are now as confident as we can be that Nicola has not left the field where she was last seen and our working hypothesis is that she has fallen into the river for some reason,” officers said.
They said she was wearing an ankle-length black, quilted gilet and a black Vector coat underneath, which had long sleeves and came to her waist. Officers added that she was wearing tight black jeans with long green walking socks.
She was also wearing ankle-length green wellington boots from Next, a necklace and pale blue Fitbit. Her hair was tied in a ponytail.
Her partner, Paul Ansell, 44, told broadcasters: “I don’t really have anything to say other than what the family said yesterday. My whole focus is the two girls.
“Stay strong for them. I’m scared that if I put any focus on to anything else it’s going to take my focus off that.”