Missing Persons squad taking over search for Samantha Murphy

Missing Persons squad taking over search for Samantha Murphy

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Police have not identified any “sinister” circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a Victorian mother as the Missing Persons Squad takes over the investigation.

Samantha Murphy was last seen leaving her home on Eureka Street in Ballarat East to go for a run in the Canadian State Forest about 7am on Sunday, February 4.

The specialist Missing Persons detectives, who have played a supporting role since the beginning of the investigation, will now take the lead, continuing to work with local police.

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Samantha Murphy

Search ongoing

Police hold “significant concerns” for the 51-year-old mother, as the search enters its sixth day.

Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt told media the Missing Persons Squad had additional resources available that would aid in the investigation.

He made it clear that police do not believe the disappearance is suspicious.

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“I want to be clear that at this time, we have nothing immediate to indicate there is anything sinister behind Samantha’s disappearance,” Hatt said.

“We still have a number of avenues of inquiry to pursue and the search to try and locate her is ongoing.

“I also think it’s important that people avoid unnecessary and unhelpful speculation.

“However, it is especially concerning that we have now gone six days without any contact from her or any potential sightings.”

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Appeals for footage

Police have again appealed for anybody in the Ballarat East and Mount Helen areas, particularly around the Canadian Forest, to check their CCTV for any possible sightings over the past six days.

Detectives are also urging anyone travelling through the area, particularly between 7am and 7pm on Sunday, February 4, who may have dash-cam footage to also check this for possible sightings.

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CCTV that was thought to show her running past a fence is now believed to have captured another local, who came forward yesterday.

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But Inspector Bob Heaney told Today that revelation did not mean investigators would “change tactics”.

“So the area where we picked up that other lady running on the CCTV was well within our area of operations, an area that we’d searched anyway previously,” he said.

“It just allows us to eliminate that as a route that Samantha may have taken when she left home.”

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Family’s heartfelt appeal

Speaking to media through tears yesterday afternoon, Murphy’s eldest daughter Jess said she “knew her mother was out there”.

“Mum’s a really strong woman and she’s far too determined to give up this fight,” Jess said.

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“I know she’s out there somewhere.

”Mummy, we love you so much and we miss you and we need you at home with us.

“Please come home soon.”

Murphy’s husband Michael joined his daughter in appealing for public information, thanking the community for its help in the search.

He urged anyone with information to contact police.

“People just don’t vanish into thin air, someone’s got to know something,” he said.

“Whether it be any little thing that you might think is relevant, just call the police.

“It’ll give us a bit of peace of mind if we get some hope.”

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