Police have confessed they found "no evidence of a slip or a fall" while searching for missing mum Nicola Bulley at the River Wyre.
Ms Bulley, 45, had dropped her children off at school and was walking her dog along the River Wyre, where she was last spotted on January 27.
Investigators previously revealed their "main working hypothesis" was that the mum-of-two had "sadly fallen" into the river, with possible explanations including that she had plunged in to retrieve her spaniel's tennis ball.
READ MORE: Police hunting for missing Nicola Bulley finally find 'key witness' from CCTV
This theory had been blasted by Ms Bulley's sister, Louise Cunningham, who argued there was "no evidence whatsoever" that her missing sibling fell into the water and asked the public to "keep an open mind".
Taking to Facebook, Ms Cunningham urged the public to "keep sharing my Nikki" and said detectives' current belief was "just a theory".
And now police have admitted their investigations have not yet turned up any proof that Ms Bulley slipped or fell into the water.
Superintendent Sally Riley, of Lancashire Police, told the Sunday Times cops found “no evidence of a slip or fall”.
“I think if it had been a sloping bank, a common-sense view would be that you would expect to find scuff marks," she said.
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However, Superintendent Riley still believes Ms Bulley was probably not attacked.
She added: “When you triangulate all the witnesses, the CCTV, the digital and the telephone, the whole picture, it produces such a tiny window for criminal involvement that it becomes highly unlikely.
“A third-party [being] involved that we haven’t yet had sightings of, we haven’t caught on CCTV or dash-cam or all the other things I’ve mentioned, is just not likely.”
Police are continuing their investigation and revealed earlier today that a "key witness" had come forward.
The force had released an image on Saturday (February 4) of a potential witness who was spotted by CCTV cameras on the day Ms Bulley went missing.
The woman in question could be seen sporting a yellow coat and pushing a pram in the area.
"Earlier this evening as part of our search for Nicola Bulley, we put out an appeal to find a witness in St Michael's on Wyre," Lancashire Police wrote in a Facebook post.
"We are pleased to say that the woman came forward very quickly and we must stress that she was very much being treated as a witness and was one of many people in St Michael's on Friday, January 27th."
They added: "Our enquiries to find Nicola are extensive and will include speaking to as many members of the public as possible."
They have also urged anyone else who may have information, including drivers who might have dashcam footage taken in the area, to come forward.
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