Multiple police squads join ‘significant’ renewed search for Samantha Murphy

This is the second major resumption of the search

Source: AAP

Police will conduct a “significant search” on Thursday for the body of missing Victorian woman Samantha Murphy in an operation involving multiple specialists.

Victoria Police will scour the Enfield State Park area near Ballarat as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged murder of Murphy, who disappeared more than two months ago.

Officers will focus on “an area highlighted by intelligence derived from a number of sources”, a spokesperson said.

“A range of specialist units will join missing persons squad investigators including search and rescue squad, mounted branch, dog squad, public order response team and motorcyclists from the road policing command as well as local police from western region,” Victoria Police said.

“Today’s search will be undertaken in an area within the Enfield State Park and will focus on trying to locate Samantha’s body.”

Police have asked the public not to join the search effort.

Murphy, 51, was last seen leaving her home on Eureka Street, Ballarat, to go for a run in the Canadian State Forest on the morning of February 4.

Police allege 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson murdered the mother-of-three at Mount Clear on the same day. The tradesman was arrested at the beginning of March and will return to court in August.

He is the son of former AFL player Orren Stephenson, who played 15 games for Geelong and Richmond between 2012 and 2014.

Authorities have many spent weeks searching for Murphy’s body, mostly within the Canadian State Forest.

On March 21, highly-trained police dogs with the ability to sniff out mobile phone SIM cards joined the search in a targeted effort near the Buninyong Bushland Reserve, 11 kilometres south of Ballarat.

That search failed to yield any sign of Murphy, who was known to be carrying her phone and wearing a smartwatch when she was last seen.

Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt said police were focused on doing everything they could to return Samantha to her family.

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