Body of Mom Whose Disappearance Riveted the U.K. Found in River: 'She Was the Center of Our World'

Dog walkers spotted the remains of Nicola Bulley, 45, less than a mile from where she went missing in Northwest England on Jan. 27, according to police

UK woman named Nicola Bulley whose body was just discovered after she went missing on Jan. 27
Photo: police handout

The body of Nicola Bulley, a 45-year-old mother of two, whose mysterious disappearance from a small village in Northwest England riveted the United Kingdom, was discovered on Feb. 19, British police said Monday.

"Sadly we are now able to confirm that yesterday we recovered Nicola Bulley from the River Wyre," Peter Lawson, the assistant chief constable for Lancashire police, told members of the media at a press conference, CBS News reported.

Bulley's disappearance on the morning of Jan. 27 while walking her dog along a local river after she dropped off her daughters at school ignited a media circus that led to criticism over how police handled the search and sent scores of armchair detectives prowling through Bulley's hometown of St. Michael's on Wyre.

Police, who were roundly criticized after announcing publicly that Bulley had struggled with alcohol during perimenopause, had maintained that she had probably drowned, according to The Guardian.

Over 40 investigators were working on the case at the time her body was discovered by two dog walkers less than a mile from where Bulley went missing, according to The Washington Post.

Detectives had long suspected that she had fallen into the river but when divers were unable to locate the missing mom, scores of social media influencers descended on her village, pestering locals while searching for evidence of a crime, according to The Guardian.

Bulley's cell phone was found on a park bench by the river still connected to a conference call at her office where she worked as a mortgage broker, according to Fox News.

A statement, written by Bulley's family and read aloud by police at Monday's news conference, captured the pain and frustration that her loved ones have endured since her disappearance.

"We will never forget Nikki, how could we, she was the center of our world, she was the one who made our lives so special and nothing will cast a shadow over that," the family wrote.

"Our girls will get the support they need from the people who love them the most," the statement continued.

"And it saddens us to think that one day we will have to explain to them that the press and members of the public accused their dad of wrongdoing, misquoted and vilified friends and family … Finally, Nikki, you are no longer a missing person, you have been found, we can let you rest now."

The coroner is now handling the investigation, police say.

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