A body found in the River Wyre on Sunday has been confirmed as mother-of-two Nicola Bulley, Lancashire Police assistant chief constable Peter Lawson said.
The corpse was found on Sunday morning around a mile from where Ms Bulley went missing after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, at school on January 27.
Her family said they “will never be able to comprehend what Nikki had gone through in her last moments”, adding “that will never leave us”.
Lancashire Police held a press conference on Monday evening to confirm the body had been formally identified as Ms Bulley.
The force’s assistant chief constable Peter Lawson said: “Sadly, we are now able to confirm that yesterday we recovered Nicola Bulley from the River Wyre.
“Nicola’s family have been informed and are of course devastated. Our thoughts are with them at this time as well as with all her loved ones and the wider community.
“We recognise the huge impact that Nicola’s disappearance has had on her family and friends, but also on the people of St Michael’s.
“We would like to thank all of those who have helped during what has been a hugely complex and highly emotional investigation.
“Today’s development is not the outcome any of us would have wanted, but we hope that it can at least start to provide some answers for Nicola’s loved ones, who remain foremost in our thoughts.”
The investigation into Ms Bulley’s disappearance has attracted widespread speculation as well as criticism of the police response.
Lancashire Police faced public backlash for making her struggles with alcohol and perimenopause public weels after she vanished having revealed she was classed as a “high-risk” missing person.
Home secretary Suella Braverman said she was not “wholly satisfied” with the response of Lancashire Police’s chief constable to questions about the decision to release the details.
Lancashire Constabulary confirmed a date had been set for an internal review into the investigation.