Local News

100 Days Later, Still No Leads To Michelle Bullard's Whereabouts

Posted April 11, 2006
Updated December 31, 2006

— Monday marked the 100th day in the search for a missing Lee County woman -- but investigators say they still do not know where she is.

Up to 20 investigators in three different counties have searched for Michelle Bullard, who vanished from a house outside Broadway on Jan. 2.

The search has spanned three different counties, and volunteers continue to search for the 23-year-old on the weekends. So far, they have combed more than 700 square miles. Their efforts have turned up very few leads in the case.

"I never give up hope. All families need closure," said search volunteer Jackie Cox.

Three months later, detectives assigned to the case have been scaled back -- from 20 working on the case full time then to just one now.

People close to Bullard and the case, including her mother, Karen Riojas, wonder if officers are doing enough.

"When I ask them specifics about this case, they just tell me they don't know," Riojas said. "And I say, 'What do you mean you don't know? After this amount of time, you're sitting here telling me you don't know.'"

The last big lead in the case came in January when investigators found Bullard's purse and some other belongings in the Cedar Creek area of Cumberland County. But nothing came of that evidence, causing them to stop their ground searches.

"If we had a big lead come in while you and I are talking, we would pull everybody off what they're doing right now to pursue that lead," said Lee County Chief Deputy Kevin Bryant.

Investigators say they have followed all leads they have already received. For now, they are just waiting for new tips.

Bullard is 5 feet 2 inches tall and 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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