Missing Ballarat mum’s disappearance deemed suspicious

Search for missing Samantha Murphy intensifies

Police say the disappearance of Ballarat mother Samantha Murphy is suspicious, 10 days after she went missing.

The 51-year-old mother of three has not been seen since leaving her home in Eureka Street in Ballarat East on February 4 to go jogging.

On Wednesday, Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton said the situation was unusual because police had found no trace or leads to Murphy.

“When someone’s been missing for this period of time, we have no trace, clearly there must be some suspicions there because we haven’t been able to locate them,” he said.

Dozens of volunteers and search crews have scoured areas of the Ballarat region – including Buningyong, Eureka and Canadian state forest – to no avail.

Missing Persons squad detectives have also been involved in the investigation.

On Saturday, police said they had not identified any sinister circumstances surrounding Murphy’s disappearance but were very concerned about her wellbeing.

“Obviously missing persons is involved. It’s suspicious, whether it means there’s foul play involved or not, I don’t know,” Patton said on Wednesday.

“But detectives investigating a matter where a woman’s been missing for a significant period of time, call it unusual, call it suspicious, but it certainly is of significant concern to us.”

Detectives have worked with telecommunications technicians to track the route Murphy travelled, after confirming she had a smartwatch and phone on her.

Police are also sifting through CCTV footage submitted by the public to try to piece together Murphy’s final documented movements. But they have said a full-scale search will resume only if there is fresh information emerges.

“Missing persons is tracing, stepping through timelines, looking at CCTV, examining many information reports we’ve received from the public,” the commissioner said.

“It’s still early days but the concern is obviously there, given that we’ve really got no leads.”

The mother of three is described as mentally and physically fit. She was training for an upcoming race by doing 15-kilometre runs.

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