Police are investigating several movements made by people to and from Samantha Murphy’s home on the day the mother of three disappeared.
Ms Murphy, 51, left her home in Victoria’s Ballarat East to go jogging at nearby Woowookarung Regional Park about 7am on February 4.
Despite intensive search efforts, no trace of the missing woman has been found.
Everyone close to Murphy has now been considered a person of interest, with police revealing they believe the 51-year-old is likely dead.
Police have said there was a “number of movements” to and from Murphy’s home on Feb. 4 that they are investigating. A current issue reported.
Police are investigating several movements made by people to and from the home of Samantha Murphy (pictured with her husband Mick) on the day the mother-of-three went missing.
They are also speaking to known violent offenders in the area, including a male sex offender.
Detectives reportedly questioned that man for several hours and provided an alibi for the day of Ms. Murphy’s disappearance.
Additional detectives, including staff from the sexual crimes, counterterrorism, fraud and armed robbery divisions in Melbourne, have been brought in to assist with the case.
There is no suggestion that the sex offender was in any way involved in Ms Murphy’s disappearance.
Attention has also been focused on the large repair business, Inland Motor Body Works, owned by Mrs Murphy and her husband Mick.
Police have taken a number of “items of interest” from the repair shop.
Victoria Police Crime Command Acting Detective Superintendent Mark Hatt previously said police would speak to his family, friends and co-workers as part of their “open” investigation.
Police said that while Mick Murphy (pictured leaving a police station on February 9) was not an official suspect, he was a “person of interest” in the investigation.
Police released this image of Ms Murphy from the morning she disappeared. Detectives now believe ‘one or more parties’ are behind her mysterious disappearance.
Coroners are seen scouring the Mt Clear bushland in search of Ms Murphy on Friday.
Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt said that while Murphy was not a suspect, he and “everyone in Ms. Murphy’s personal life were persons of interest.”
When Superintendent Hatt was asked by Daily Mail Australia if Mr Murphy was a person of interest, he said he was not an official suspect, but that he and “everyone” in Ms Murphy’s close personal life were a person of interest.
“We have a number of people we are speaking to and I can say the family has been absolutely fantastic in cooperating with the police,” he said.
‘At this time he is not (a suspect). Everyone in relation to Samantha is a person of interest. In our investigation we are talking to everyone who was in his life.’
In a comment that appeared to suggest Ms Murphy may have been attacked, Supt Hatt said: “We have no intelligence or evidence to suggest there is any risk to anyone else.”
‘We are absolutely looking for his phone, we haven’t found it yet. We are looking for a body. Again, that area has been searched for Samantha herself and we have not found her in that area,’ she said.
The superintendent said the possibility that Murphy had suffered a medical episode had been ruled out and said he had “doubt” she was still alive.
“Given the extensive and detailed search that has already been carried out, and the fact that no trace of Samantha or her personal belongings has been located, we have ruled out any type of medical incident,” he told reporters.
“Unfortunately, since we have found no trace of her, we have serious concerns and highly doubt she is still alive.”
Samantha Murphy left her Ballarat home at 7am on February 4 to go for a run in the nearby state forest and did not return home. Police have launched a major new ground search after phone data led them to a specific area of bushland 6km from where she was last seen.
Forensic scientists began a search Friday in a new area of brush in the state forest.
Superintendent Hatt said police suspect Ms Murphy’s body may have been removed from the Mount Clear area they are searching after a crime encounter.
‘That is certainly a scenario we are studying. Based on our elimination process, we believe another party, either one person or multiple people, was involved.’
Superintendent Hatt said detectives had searched Ms Murphy’s home “to some extent” as part of their investigation.
“In relation to our investigation I will not comment further,” he said.
Officers are currently following more than 500 separate pieces of evidence and analyzing 12,000 hours of CCTV footage.
Superintendent Hatt said questions about the movements of those inside the family home during the period Ms Murphy was on that run were difficult to answer.
“There is a lot of movement to and from the house during the day and again we are very, very confident that we have tracked all of those movements and we are following up on everything,” he said.