‘My pal vanished near a river like Nicola Bulley – she washed up 3 months later’

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    The friend of a woman who went missing in a river like police suspect Nicola Bulley has – has opened up about the "horrible" three-month period before she was found.

    Lisa Scholz, 33, also slammed online "conspiracy theorists" speculating about what has happened to Nicola given that similar speculation made the discovery of Sophie Burns, 28, "even more devastating".

    Police investigating Nicola’s disappearance have said their "main working hypothesis" is that the mum-of-two has "sadly fallen" into the River Wyre.

    READ MORE: Nicola Bulley river diving expert 'can't get head around' how police 'found nothing'

    However, internet sleuths as well as diving expert Peter Faulding (who is now assisting the search) have slammed this theory.

    Lisa urged people to "take a step back" and trust the police, noting the extensive fraught efforts to find her friend.

    She told the Daily Star: "A police officer back then said to me: ‘You know, when we say someone is in the river, we know it means someone is probably dead, and we don’t say that without a reason.’

    "The first responders and police were at the scene [of Sophie's disappearance] at the river within 20 minutes.

    "Then with the dogs as well. They also had divers and boats. They also used some sort of a sonar for a while.

    "We all chipped together and paid a guy with a drone. He claimed it would see a difference between a body or if it’s not a body, but he flew down the whole river and said he couldn’t find anything either."

    Sophie went missing from her home in Carlisle in December 2021. In February 2022 her body was found near Burgh-by-Sands, some distance down the River Eden.

    Lisa said the body was found by a dog walker following a storm that dislodged it, bringing an end to three-months of "out of control" speculation.

    She told us: "When she left her house, she would have had to have walked past CCTV cameras but they couldn’t find her on the footage.

    "So at first people thought she’d fallen in the water, but when they couldn’t find her there either everyone started to speculate.

    "For example, when I see people talking about this abandoned house [in Nicola's case] I remember people contacting me saying: ‘We saw a guy going in and out of an empty house a few times, maybe he’s kidnapped Sophie.’

    "The speculation just got out of control. It wasn’t reality anymore.

    "It seemed the public did not want to accept what the police actually said."

    Recalling one example, Lisa said a person got in touch saying they might have seen Sophie just three days before she was found.

    She said: "We were still online chasing this tip then suddenly came the call saying they found her body, which was even more devastating.

    "I was so angry because I went on a ridiculous goose chase the whole time."

    An inquest into Sophie death's was opened in July last year. The opening heard she "had sent a number of concerning messages to her partner with one suggesting she had entered into the water".

    Cumbria Coroner's Office confirmed to the Daily Star that Sophie's case is "ongoing".

    There is no indication that Nicola entered the River Wyre intentionally.

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