Detectives’ “main working theory” states that the 45-year-old fell into the River Wyre not far from the town of St Michael’s on Wyre. Her relatives and close friends, on the other hand, claim that there is “absolutely no proof” to back this up.
Meanwhile, police have extended the search cordon to the sea from Knott End to Morecambe
A family friend of missing woman Nicola Bulley said “nothing is making sense” as specialist underwater divers searched a stretch of river where police believe she may have fallen in.
Heather Gibbons spoke on the banks of the River Wyre while, below her, Peter Faulding and his team from Specialist Group International, used a sonar to scan the depths on day 12 of the search.
Family and friends of mother-of-two Ms Bulley, 45, have questioned the police “theory” that 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. .
Mr Faulding, a private search expert sometimes used by police, has said if his team cannot locate Ms Bulley in the river then she is not there and he would not rule out “third party involvement” in her disappearance.
Ms Gibbons said speculation, rife on social media, about the disappearance, was “hard” for the family to take and a stream of visitors, members of the public arriving from far and wide, some bringing children and taking selfies, had made the area feel like a “tourist spot”.
She said: “I think it’s incredibly hard, but up to a certain level, we understand it’s human nature, it’s natural for everyone to have speculation, because the truth is in this, nothing is making sense.”
Meanwhile, police investigating the disappearance of Ms Bulley are speaking to more than 700 drivers who traveled through the town of St Michael’s on Wyre around the time she went missing.
At a press conference, Lancashire Police Supt Sally Riley said: “We have now identified around 700 vehicles that drove through the village on that morning on the 27th January at around 9.10am, 9.15am.
“We are in the process of speaking to all of those drivers to try and find out if they have any dashcam footage, what they saw on that day or anything else that may be of value to the police inquiry.”
Ms Riley said thousands of pieces of information had been received from members of the public, with a team of 40 detectives currently investigating approximately 500 different lines of inquiry.
She said: “This is normal in a missing person inquiry and does not indicate that there is any suspicious element to this story. The inquiry team remains fully open-minded to any information that may indicate where Nicola is or what happened to her.”
Ms Riley said the police’s extensive inquiries into Ms Bulley’s disappearance have “so far not found anything of note”.
Superintendent Sally Riley told a press conference: “Throughout this investigation… we remain fully open to any information that is credible and factual to try and trace Nicola and bring answers for her family but it does remain our belief that Nicola sadly fell into the river and that this is a missing persons inquiry.
“Any information that comes in that indicates otherwise is being checked out all the time and negated as each inquiry comes up. We’re not closed in any way to any particular line of inquiry and we remain genuinely open to that.
“All these extensive inquiries however have so far not found anything of note.”