A woman who disappeared while walking her dog has “two little girls that need their mummy home”, her boyfriend has said, as a major search continues.
Nicola Bulley, 45, was last seen at 9.15am on Friday by a member of the public.
Her mobile phone was found on a bench near where she was last seen on a towpath by the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire. It was still connected to a conference call when it was found.
Ms Bulley’s dog, a springer spaniel called Willow, was found loose between the river and bench.
Image: Nicola Bulley
Image: Map showing where Nicola Bulley went missing Police said on Monday they were keeping an “open mind” about what happened but they do not believe Ms Bulley was attacked.
Her partner, Paul Ansell, said he spent all of Sunday searching for the mother-of-two.
Mr Ansell, an engineer, said: “It is just perpetual hell. It is just utter disbelief.”
“We are living through this but it doesn’t feel real,” he said from the family home in Inskip, Lancashire.
“All we can say is we need to find her. She’s got two little girls that need their mummy home.
“We have got to get some good news now.”
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Ms Bulley, also known as Nikki, and Mr Ansell have been in a relationship for 12 years.
Police indicated she dropped her children, aged nine and six, to a local primary school before walking her dog on Friday.
“I got a call from the school regarding somebody who had found Willow, and Nikki’s phone and the dog lead and harness on the bench,” Mr Ansell, who then called the police, said.
“We take the kids to school and take the dog down there – either myself or Nikki – nearly every day.”
Ms Bulley, a mortgage adviser, is originally from Chelmsford, Essex and has lived in Lancashire for 25 years. Police said she speaks with an Essex accent.
Image: Officers from Lancashire Police searching for missing woman Nicola Bulley
Image: Officers from Lancashire Police searching for missing woman Nicola Bulley Police ‘more and more concerned’ for Nicola
Superintendent Sally Riley from Lancashire Police told a press conference that fears for Ms Bulley are growing as time passes.
She said: “The police are keeping a really open mind about what could have happened but we do believe that the likelihood is that Nicola has gone missing and this is not a crime inquiry.
“We’ve mounted a really intensive operation to try to find Nicola. We’ve got a large area to search.
“People do go missing but clearly as time goes on we become more and more concerned for Nicola.
“But we’re very much hoping that we will find something to try to bring her home safe and well soon.”
Ms Bulley is described as white, 5ft 3in, with light brown shoulder-length hair.
At the time of her disappearance she was wearing a long black gilet jacket with a hood, black jeans and olive green ankle wellington boots. Her hair was in a ponytail.
Searches have been carried out by Lancashire Police – using a helicopter, drones and dogs – with support from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team and the North West Underwater Search Team.
Locals have also organised searches in the area.