Home Australia Devastating blow for missing mum’s desperate family as cops provide heartbreaking update on search after six days of hunting for her

Devastating blow for missing mum’s desperate family as cops provide heartbreaking update on search after six days of hunting for her

by Elijah
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The search for missing mother Samantha Murphy will narrow over the weekend as it entered its sixth day with little information about her whereabouts.

The search for missing mother Samantha Murphy will be dramatically scaled back this weekend after six days of searching failed to find a single trace of her.

Detectives from Victoria Police’s specialist Missing Persons unit will take over the investigation into the Ballarat woman’s disappearance, police confirmed on Friday.

Community Firefighters Association teams and SES volunteers have also been asked to withdraw from the search.

“Police continue to be in regular contact with Samantha’s family regarding the development of the search and the status of the investigation,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.

The search for missing mother Samantha Murphy will narrow over the weekend as it entered its sixth day with little information about her whereabouts.

“The investigation stage continues and, as new information arrives that identifies areas of interest, the search will be expanded.”

Specialist teams will continue searching despite the number of volunteers reducing over the weekend.

But police insist his disappearance is not yet being treated as “sinister”.

“We have not received any information relating to his movements since the time he left his home on Sunday morning,” Acting Detective Superintendent Mark Hatt said on Friday morning.

Detective Hatt added that missing persons investigators had more resources and experts who could help with the search.

Detectives from Victoria Police's specialist Missing Persons unit will take over the investigation into the Ballarat woman's disappearance, police confirmed on Friday.

Detectives from Victoria Police’s specialist Missing Persons unit will take over the investigation into the Ballarat woman’s disappearance, police confirmed on Friday.

“We have not received any information relating to his movements since he left his home on Sunday morning,” said Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt.

“There will certainly be additional crime command detectives attending the Ballarat area today and in the coming days,” he said.

The focus has moved to the town of Buninyong, 15 minutes south of Ballarat.

Anyone who drove through the area with dash cam footage from 7am to 7pm on Sunday is asked to come forward.

Murphy, 51, left her home on Eureka Street in East Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, to go jogging at Woowookarung Regional Park shortly after 7am on Sunday and has not been seen since.

Detective Hatt told reporters that detectives would now investigate Ms Murphy’s movements and interactions with other people in the days leading up to her disappearance.

Michael Murphy, the husband of missing mother Samantha Murphy, has been photographed leaving Buninyong Police Station.

Michael Murphy, the husband of missing mother Samantha Murphy, has been photographed leaving Buninyong Police Station.

‘Of course, that will be a big part of our investigation. Going deeper into the background, investigating Samantha’s movements in the days leading up to her disappearance and also investigating the people who know her,” she said.

Part of the investigation, now called Operation Primus, will see detectives trawl through Ms Murphy’s computers and devices in the hope of finding clues.

Superintendent Hatt said police were still working to determine who may have been in the area where Ms Murphy’s phone lost communication with the mobile towers.

His mobile phone had rang in the nearby suburb of Buninyong before going off.

Superintendent Hatt said detectives were still working with telephone companies to obtain data that could prove vital in shedding some light on the investigation.

‘At this time we cannot share any information regarding this. “We are still working with our telecommunications technicians to establish telephone movements and who was in the area at the time,” he said.

Detectives are still puzzled over where Ms Murphy went when she left her home.

CCTV footage showing Ms Murphy outside her home was the last confirmed sighting of her alive.

The family remembers reporting him missing after he failed to arrive at a brunch scheduled for that morning.

“I can also confirm that we have not identified any suspicious or sinister circumstances, however we have significant concerns for Samantha’s welfare at this time and that is increasing as the days go by,” Supt Hatt said.

Acting Detective Superintendent Mark Hatt (left) addressed a media group outside Ballarat West Police Station on Friday.

Acting Detective Superintendent Mark Hatt (left) addressed a media group outside Ballarat West Police Station on Friday.

He spent only an hour inside the station before leaving with an officer, who walked him to his car.

He spent only an hour inside the station before leaving with an officer, who walked him to his car.

Samantha Murphy, 51, left her home on Eureka Street in East Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, to go for a run in Woowookarung Regional Park shortly after 7am on Sunday.

Samantha Murphy, 51, left her home on Eureka Street in East Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, to go for a run in Woowookarung Regional Park shortly after 7am on Sunday.

Superintendent Hatt said specialist police would flood the area in a desperate search for clues.

“In the coming days you will see additional detectives working in the area,” he said.

Just hours earlier, Murphy smiled after meeting detectives at the Buninyong police station.

He spent only an hour inside the station before leaving with an officer, who walked him to his car.

Murphy appeared casual as a waiting media group photographed him.

The station is being used by emergency services units as a headquarters for the ongoing search for Ms Murphy.

Victoria Police Inspector Bob Heaney said detectives were relying on information from the public to help locate Murphy’s whereabouts.

“You know, one of the challenges we have is the area where he normally runs, it’s a pretty remote area,” he told Sunrise on Friday morning.

“It is inside a forest and a lot of bushes and there is no CCTV coverage.” “That has been one of the challenges we have had to face.”

Desperation grows as search enters day six

A line of inquiry was officially ruled out on Thursday after police confirmed that a woman pictured on CCTV was not Ms Murphy, as previously stated.

Victoria Police had released CCTV footage on Wednesday showing a person heading northeast towards Yankee Flat Road, near the Warrenheip Road intersection.

The woman was believed to be Ms Murphy who was out for a 20km run in the state forest.

Police and SES are seen canvassing Woowookarang National Park.

Police and SES are seen canvassing Woowookarang National Park.

However, another runner came forward and revealed that she was the person in the photo.

Inspector Heaney said the discovery had “eliminated” a possible route Ms Murphy may have taken after leaving home.

He added that police were still treating her disappearance as non-suspicious, even though homicide detectives from the missing persons squad reportedly joined the search on Friday.

“Other than covering a lot of ground, a lot of area that we’ve physically searched for Samantha, we don’t know much else,” he said.

“A lot of the information has come in (from the public) and we need to filter it, allowing us to review it and focus on where we should look next.”

Security cameras of a woman believed to be Ms Murphy were later discovered to be another resident of the area.

Security cameras of a woman believed to be Ms Murphy were later discovered to be another resident of the area.

Inspector Heaney confirmed Ms Murphy was wearing an Apple watch and had her phone with her at the time of her disappearance, but said the area police could trace from her devices was “limited”.

In another setback Wednesday, officers were alerted to “items” possibly related to Ms. Murphy’s disappearance, however it was later determined that they did not belong to the missing mother.

Locals in the area have also expressed concern that the mother fell into an abandoned mine shaft, which can be difficult to see on the forest floor.

Distraught daughter asks for help to bring her mother home

Earlier on Thursday, Murphy’s eldest daughter, Jessica, and her husband, Michael, made a desperate plea for their loved one to come home.

Through tears, Jessica urged the public to continue searching for her mother.

“Mom, we love you so much, we miss you and we need you home with us, please come home soon, I can’t wait to see you,” Jessica told reporters.

“Mom is a very strong woman and she is too determined to give up this fight.”

Jessica’s father thanked the community for their support in recent days while asking for answers.

“People don’t just disappear into thin air,” Murphy said.

‘Someone has to know something… whether it’s any little thing you might think is relevant, just call the police and tell them.

“It will give us some peace of mind if we have some hope.”

Earlier on Thursday, Murphy's eldest daughter, Jessica, and her husband, Michael, made a desperate plea for their loved one to come home.

Earlier on Thursday, Murphy’s eldest daughter, Jessica, and her husband, Michael, made a desperate plea for their loved one to come home.

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