A former detective claims police probably have “nothing to work with” in the investigation into missing mother Samantha Murphy.
Samantha Murphy, 51, a mother of three, was last seen leaving her home on Eureka Street in Ballarat East to go for a morning run in Woowookarung Regional Park, Victoria, about 7am on Sunday.
Her husband Mick Murphy, 53, raised the alarm when she never returned in time for a pre-planned family lunch at 11am
Police, the SES and community volunteers organized a massive search for the mother before authorities revealed she would be “reduced” over the weekend.
The search for Ms Murphy was handed over to the Missing Persons Team and has reached a grim seventh day without a single trace of her being found anywhere.
On Saturday, police urged the public to call for help by requesting CCTV or dashcam footage, even if Ms Murphy does not appear in the video.
A former senior police investigator said the new statement “probably means (authorities) have nothing to work with.”
Samantha Murphy, 51, (pictured) disappeared without a trace on February 4.
The 51-year-old woman was last seen leaving her home on Eureka Street in Ballarat East to go for a run in the Canadian State Forest around 7am.
“It still seems like a real mystery… you have to look hard, but you have to do it,” the former police officer told Herald of the sun.
The Missing Persons Team is urging anyone with CCTV or dash cam footage in the Ballarat East, Mount Helen and Buninyong areas taken around the time of Ms Murphy’s disappearance to come forward.
Police believe images of vehicles, other runners and pedestrians could be crucial in finding witnesses or people who may have more information about their whereabouts.
“Even if the footage does not show Samantha, detectives are keen to review all footage in the areas between 7am and 7pm on Sunday 4 February,” police said in a statement.
‘Police previously urged everyone in the Ballarat East and Mount Helen areas, particularly around the Canadian Forest, to check their CCTV for possible sightings over the past six days, but would now like to collect all footage.
“Despite extensive searches in the area over the past six days, no sign of Samantha has been located.”
The search for Ms Murphy reached a grim milestone after authorities decided to scale back the search over the weekend.
Victoria Police said investigators would remain in contact with Murphy’s family.
“The investigation stage continues and as new information comes in that identifies areas of interest, the search will be expanded,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.
Community members volunteered in the search for the missing mother of three on Sunday even as authorities scaled back the ground search.
The search for Ms Murphy entered its seventh day on Sunday (pictured, members of the public volunteering in 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.”
It comes after police sent specialist rescue teams to investigate abandoned local mine shafts in and around the Goldfields area.
It is feared that he has strayed from the forest paths where he normally runs and fallen down one of the treacherous wells that are often hidden by bushes.
But locals have also said that mine shafts could be used to hide his body if he is the victim of a criminal act.
The police are also inspecting the countless local prey in the surrounding farmland to see if there is any trace of it there.
“There are many unused mines in the area,” admitted Crime Command acting superintendent Mark Hatt.
‘At the moment we have a police search and rescue squad involved in the operation (for that). They have been involved in the search since day one.
“It is a challenging area and terrain within the search operation area… it is also thick and rugged bush terrain.”
Local police, SES and hundreds of community volunteers – searchers searching for clues into Mrs Murphy’s disappearance – organized a massive search for the beloved mum.
In the photo, information board for ‘spontaneous volunteers’ who want to help in the search for Ms. Murphy.
Police sent specialized rescue teams to investigate abandoned local mine shafts in and around the Goldfields area (pictured, location of mines and mine shafts in the Goldfields area)
Missing Persons Squad detectives have also called in an army of telecommunications technology experts to try to reconstruct Ms Murphy’s movements from the phone data they have at their disposal.
Superintendent Hatt confirmed Ms Murphy was carrying an Apple Watch and her mobile phone with her when she disappeared.
But he was reluctant to share information about what the phone data had revealed so far.
“We are not commenting on that at this time,” he said. “We are still working with our expert telecommunications technicians to help us with that.”
It is understood that a local cell tower recorded a ping from Ms Murphy’s phone on Sunday after she disappeared, but police declined to say more about the timing or location of the phone.
“We can’t respond to that at this time,” Superintendent Hatt said. “Obviously, that’s what will happen with our telecommunications technicians.”
Superintendent Hatt added that there was no information to indicate foul play and urged the public to avoid unnecessary and unhelpful speculation.
He confirmed that the homicide squad was not involved in the investigation as of Friday morning.
Supt Hatt said the homicide squad was not involved in the investigation as of Friday morning.
Murphy’s daughter, Jessica (center), broke down in tears at a news conference Thursday. Jessica, along with her father Mick (left), made a desperate plea for her to come home.
On Thursday, Mrs Murphy’s husband Mick and eldest daughter Jessica made a desperate plea for her to return 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.”