British police on Monday confirmed that a body found in a river over the weekend in Lancashire was that of Nicola Bulley, a woman who disappeared last month after dropping her children off at school.
“Today’s development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted, but we hope that it can at least start to provide some answers for Nicola’s loved ones, who remain foremost in our thoughts,” the police in Lancashire, in northwest England, said.
Bulley, 45, was last seen walking along the River Wyre on Jan. 27 shortly after dropping her two daughters off at school.
The mortgage adviser’s phone was found on a bench still dialed in to a work conference call, and her dog was running loose on the riverbank near her home village of Saint Michael’s on Wyre.
In a statement shared by police, Bulley’s family thanked “those who genuinely helped and supported us, privately,” adding that “the community support in St Michael’s, friends’, neighbors and strangers has been nothing short of comforting and heart-warming.”
But the family criticized the news media’s coverage of Bulley’s disappearance, saying “the press and members of the public” had unjustly accused the girls’ dad of “wrongdoing” and “misquoted and vilified friends and family.”
“This is absolutely appalling, they have to be held accountable this cannot happen to another family,” the family’s statement read.
Lancashire police had faced criticism earlier for releasing personal details about Bulley, including that she was battling an alcohol problem and dealing with menopause. They appeared to have been vindicated after saying from the start that Bulley likely had fallen into the river, but their handling of the case prompted accusations of victim-blaming.
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she wasn’t “wholly satisfied” with the Lancashire police’s answers on why they had released the private details.
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