LEE COUNTY, N.C. — As the search for 23-year-old Michelle Bullard entered its third night, and with little to no real leads to go on, Lee County sheriff's detectives knew it was time for the family to make a heartfelt plea to the public.
"As Michelle's mother I'm pleading for anyone who has any information to please contact the Lee County Sheriff's Department," said Karen Riojas before a crowd of news cameras late Wednesday afternoon.
"We love her we miss her and we want her back in our arms one more time," said Riojas.
Detectives said Bullard was visiting with friends when a masked man barged into the home with a gun. They said he tied up Bullard's friends and then left with her. After searching a nearby pond and woods, detectives are now relying on leads from the public, not knowing for sure if Bullard is still in the area.
"I have no indication we are keeping our investigation local," said Chief Deputy Kevin Bryant.
While much is unknown about this case -- from Bullard's' whereabouts, to the suspect's description and whether he left the home by car or on foot -- family and friends said one thing is for certain: Bullard is a nice, loving person, and she has more friends than enemies.
There was talk that a man who committed suicide in neighboring Harnett County may have something to do with Bullard's kidnapping. Investigators now tell WRAL that the suicide does not appear to be related to this case.
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