Detectives searching for Nicola Brie ‘distracted by false information and accusations’

The detectives leading the search for Nicola Bury, who has been missing for 20 days after he went missing while walking his dog on a river in northern England, said he had heard “false information, accusations and rumors” from the public. said it “diverted” the investigation. police.

Bree, 45, was last seen walking his cocker spaniel Willow on the banks of the River Wyre in Lancashire on the morning of January 27th.

She had just dropped off her two young daughters to an elementary school in the village of St. Michaels on the Isle of Wyre.

Lancashire Police initially said they were working on the hypothesis that Bully had “fallen into the river”, but a team of experts led by police diver and forensic investigative expert Peter Folding have found the riverbed. I searched around, but couldn’t find her body.

Detective Superintendent Rebecca Smith, who is leading the investigation, said at a press conference Wednesday that the fall into the river was one of three main hypotheses police were investigating. said it was an act and that Bree may have left the area voluntarily leaving the dog behind.

Epoch Times photo
An undated family image of Nicola Bulley and her dog Willow. Brie disappeared after walking her dog on the banks of the River Wyre in Lancashire, England, on January 27, 2023. (Family/Lancashire Police)

Lancashire Police Deputy Chief Constable Peter Lawson said at the same press conference that there was as yet no evidence of a “criminal aspect or involvement of third parties” in Bree’s disappearance.

Britain’s breaking news and newspapers have been dominated by the disappearance of a part-time mortgage adviser, and the case has sparked a great deal of speculation from armchair detectives on social media.

Mr Smith said: I couldn’t have come this far without everyone’s help. ”

She added: “But I think it’s also very clear that we’re being inundated with false information, accusations and rumors that are distracting us from our work.”

Mr Smith said: Family is the most important part of this and all the speculation and rumors are affecting them. , is the priority of the investigation team and … we cannot be distracted from it. ”

Bree lived in St. Michael’s on the Wire with her partner, Paul Ansel, and their two children.

Earlier this week, Ansel told Channel 5 that his “instinct” was that she wasn’t falling in the river, saying, “Nikki never gave up on us. We will never give up on her, we will find her.

Asked about Ansel, Smith said:

“TikTokers playing a private detective”

Smith referred to “TikTokers playing private investigators” and claimed to have found Bree’s glove on the riverbank.

She said: “The glove was recovered. It is not believed to be related to the investigation. It is not Nicola’s, but we own it.”

Epoch Times photo
Specialist Group International, a private underwater search and recovery company, searches the River Wyre, Lancashire, 7 February 2023. (PA)

Later, when asked by a journalist if “aspiring detectives” were interfering with detectives, she replied: In my 29 years in the police, I have never seen anything like it. Some are pretty shocking and really hurtful for families. ”

she said: But as long as you keep prioritizing the incoming information, you won’t be distracted from the priority actions you’ve completed. ”

Social media’s ‘persistent myth’

Smith said there are many “persistent myths” circulating on social media about the incident, including a reference to the empty house across the Wyre where Bree went missing. It was

She said: “The derelict house across the river has been raided three times with the owner’s permission, but Nicola is not there.”

Smith and Lawson also revealed for the first time some “personal vulnerabilities” that led police to rate her as a “high-risk” missing person on the day Bree went missing.

However, she declined to elaborate on the nature of the “vulnerability” and asked the press to “respect the family’s privacy.”

Smith detailed the work police did to check CCTV footage of the area.

she said:

However, she said:

“But we are on day 20. After thorough, dedicated and meticulous research, there is not a single piece of information to suggest that Nicola has left the field,” Smith said. added Mr.

PA Media contributed to this report.