Local News

'I Want Answers,' Missing Lee County Woman's Mother Says

Posted March 14, 2006
Updated December 31, 2006

— The mother of a missing Lee County woman is on the offensive with investigators, saying not enough is being done to find her daughter.

"I'm angry, I'm frustrated, I want answers, and I'm not receiving them," said Karen Riojas, the mother of Michelle Bullard. "This is day 74 of this nightmare."

Authorities said Bullard, 23, went missing in the early-morning hours of Jan. 2 after her friends reported that she was taken at gunpoint during a home invasion in Lee County.

During a news conference called by Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins on Tuesday, Riojas peppered the sheriff with questions about the investigation and what was being done to find her daughter.

Calling the investigation one of the two most frustrating cases he has had recently, Rollins, for the most part, said he just did not have many answers, but assured the public and Riojas that investigators are doing the best they can.

Although Bullard was apparently reported missing in Lee County, the search for her has spanned across three counties, including Harnett and Cumberland.

Authorities said that volunteers searching for clues in the case discovered Bullard's wallet and license on a rural road in Cumberland County, near the residence of the family of David Wilson, who killed himself the same day Bullard went missing.

Investigators had been interested in Wilson, who shot himself in the chest when Harnett County authorities approached him, because they said he loosely fit the description of the alleged home invasion assailant and because he may have been on the same surveillance video as Bullard the night before her disappearance.

Riojas referred to Wilson's autopsy report, in which it was noted that Wilson had bruises around his thigh and groin.

"I'm not a rocket scientist, but I can read and can see the diagram of this, and I'm baffled that you can't see that," Riojas said.

But Rollins said there are many ways Wilson could have gotten those bruises -- he was a plumber and had been in an accident the day he committed suicide.

Rollins reiterated Tuesday that Wilson was not necessarily connected to Bullard's disappearance and that there was no proof that the two even knew each other.

He maintained that although there were many coincidences between the two cases, investigators have not been able to link them together.

"There are coincidences, but we've got to have all (physical evidence) to connect the dots," Rollins said. "We don't have that."

Bullard is 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs about 125 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. A $10,000 reward is being offered to anyone who has information leading to her recovery.

Anyone with information that may help solve the case is urged to contact the Lee County Sheriff's Office at (919) 775-5531 or local law enforcement.


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