Local News

Search Of Lee County Lake Turns Up Empty

Posted May 4, 2006 7:00 a.m. EDT
Updated December 31, 2006 10:54 a.m. EST

— Lee County authorities called off their search of a lake in Broadway Thursday afternoon after divers spent hours at the scene and found no evidence in connection with the disappearance of a missing 23-year-old woman.

Investigators were called to Watson Lake after receiving two tips. A Missing You Foundation volunteer found clothes by the lake; and a woman also called authorities after her dog was behaved strangely at a spot near the lake.

Michelle Bullard, authorities believe, went missing after someone broke into a mobile home where she was staying on Jan. 2 and kidnapped her at gunpoint. Since then, investigators from three counties have been involved with the search.

Divers searched for hours, and some of Bullard's family members were at the scene of the search, not far from downtown Broadway and near the residence where Bullard was last seen.

"I'm hoping we don't find her, in a bad way, you know what I'm saying?," said Bullard's father, Julian Bullard. "But I'm hoping we can find her, where we can put a closure to it."

Investigators were unable to link the clothes to Bullard or find any clues in the lake.

"(It) would be nice to give the family some closure, you know what I mean?" said Al Mignacci, the volunteer who found the clothing. "Like today, they got all hepped up over coming down here, thinking something was going to happen, and it ended up being a strikeout, you 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.

"It's just the worst possible thing that can happen to any parent -- to get that call, and then, on top of that, drag it our for four or five months or ever how long it's going to take," Bullard said.

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.