The family of Nicola Bulley have issued a heartbreaking message as the search for the missing mother-of-two approaches its fourth week, telling her: “We love you so much and your girls want a cuddle.”
The 45-year-old mortgage adviser disappeared while walking her dog in the village of St Michael’s on Wyre after dropping her daughters – aged six and nine – at school nearby, leaving her phone on a riverside bench and her beloved spaniel running loose.
“Nikki is such a wonderful daughter, sister , partner and mother and is missed dearly – we all need you back in our lives,” her family said in a new statement issued via Lancashire Police.
“Nikki, we hope you are reading this and know that we love you so much and your girls want a cuddle. We all need you home. You can reach out to us, or you can contact MissingPeople.org.uk. Don’t be scared, we all love you so very much.”
Their appeal comes a day after police revealed at a press conference that they had immediately classed Ms Bulley as a high-risk missing person after being made aware of her “specific vulnerabilities” in talks with her family.
Hours after the briefing on Wednesday, called to quell intense speculation over the case, police decided to publicise the nature of those vulnerabilities – revealing that Ms Bulley had faced “significant issues with alcohol” brought on by “ongoing struggles with the menopause”.
Lancashire Constabulary said it had taken the “unusual step” of giving details about her private life “to avoid any further speculation or misinterpretation”.
In their statment on Thursday, Ms Bulley’s family said they were made aware before police publicised those details, adding: “Although we know that Nikki would not have wanted this, there are people out there speculating and threatening to sell stories about her. This is appalling and needs to stop.
“The police know the truth about Nikki and now the public need to focus on finding her … and not making up wild theories about her personal life”.
Ms Bulley’s loved ones said she has suffered with significant side effects such as brain fog and restless sleep during the menopause, and was taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help with her symptoms.
“But this was giving her intense headaches which caused Nikki to stop taking the HRT thinking that may have helped her but only ended up causing this crisis,” they said.
It is the most in-depth statement issued by Ms Bulley’s family since her mother, father and sister appeared on Sky News just days after her disappearance along the River Wyre.
“It’s just been so painful,” said her father, Ernie Bulley. “We’re such a close-knit family, we talk to each other every day. This has just emptied our lives at the minute, we just feel so empty.”
Several days later, Mr Ansell had said: “We’re never going to lose hope, but right now it’s as though she vanished into thin air, it’s just insane. I can’t believe we’re a week on and of yet it seems we’re no further on, it seems absolutely impossible. It’s like a dream, I can’t get my head around it.”
Speaking near the scene where his partner’s phone was discovered, still connected to a Microsoft Teams work call, Mr Ansell told reporters: “My whole focus is my two girls, just staying as strong as I can for them.”