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Tough terrain for volunteers in search for missing mum

Search for Samantha Murphy continues

Melburnians making their way to Ballarat to join the search for missing woman Samantha Murphy are warned to take safety precautions so resources are not unnecessarily diverted away.

Dozens of volunteers continue looking for Murphy despite police suspending their foot search.

The 51-year-old mother of three left home on February 4 to go jogging and has not been seen since.

Ballarat Mayor Des Hudson said it had been heartwarming to learn that people had made the trip from Melbourne, but also concerning because newcomers did not know the area.

“What we don’t want, and what emergency services don’t want, is to then need to mount another search for other people,” Hudson told Sky News on Sunday.

He said police had an information board at the local police station that newcomers could get some safety tips before starting their own search.

“Ideally, people would be [travelling] in twos at least, so they can work as a team. But people do need to be careful,” he said.

“Ballarat is a town that was built on gold, lots of gold mines are out there – and people have to be mindful of that when they are searching.”

Police have turned to CCTV footage to try to piece together Murphy’s final documented movements, saying a full-scale search will resume only if fresh information emerges.

Investigators are keen to review footage from the three suburbs even if it does not show Murphy.

Police on Saturday said there were no sinister factors about Murphy’s disappearance, but there were significant concerns for her wellbeing.

Police said they remained in regular contact with the Murphy family about the investigation.

Murphy regularly jogged about 14-15 kilometres through nearby remote areas.

She left her home on Eureka Street in Ballarat East at 7am the day she disappeared.

CCTV footage from the family home shows her about to depart.

Police have worked with telecommunications staff to try to identify her route, given she carried a smart watch and phone.

Murphy has been described as physically and mentally strong.

She and her husband Michael run a car repair business called Inland Motor Body Works at Delacombe, a few suburbs from their home.

– AAP

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