From Whispers to Roars

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Julie Michelle Bullard, Body Located

Michelle Bullard's mom criticizes police efforts
Updated: 10/23/2006 9:34 PM
By: Shelvia Dancy

SANFORD, N.C. -- The mother of a 23-year-old Lee County woman whose remains were found last week spoke out Monday night. Karen Riojas believes police could have done more to locate her daughter, Michelle Bullard.

On Saturday, police identified the human remains found near Cumberland County's Cedar Creek community as those of Michelle Bullard. The discovery ended nine months of uncertainty for Bullard's family.

"I am actually relieved that Michelle was found,” Riojas said. “That was always my want, always my wish."

Bullard had been missing since January, and she was last seen in a Lee County mobile home. Deputies say she disappeared after an armed man broke in and robbed the place. Riojas believes police did not react as quickly as they could have.

"Maybe Michelle did not fit the criteria of an Amber Alert, but she was my child. She was Julian's child,” Riojas said. “Was that not enough to alert the general public to be on the lookout for her?"

Bullard's father said he takes comfort in knowing that Michelle’s body has been found.

"I guess we need to move on and try to find who is responsible -- person or persons -- so justice can be served and that can be dealt with," Julian Bullard said Monday.

Riojas said she'd like to set up a foundation in Michelle's name. She wants to spare other families the pain that her family has endured.

"It’s just been a nightmare,” she said. “It’s been torture, horrific – I don't even know the words to describe it. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone."

Authorities have not made any arrests in the case. They believe a suspect in her kidnapping and murder committed suicide after police pulled him over for a traffic stop. Investigators have not publicly identified Bullard's cause of death.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bullard family.


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