Ballarat community rallies to family of missing mother

Melissa Meehan and Steven Deare |

Samantha Murphy has not been seen since she left her Ballarat home to go jogging on February 4.
Samantha Murphy has not been seen since she left her Ballarat home to go jogging on February 4.

Dozens of volunteers continue looking for Ballarat woman Samantha 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.

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

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

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

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, in Ballarat on Sunday, passed on his thoughts to Ms Murphy’s family and friends. 

“It is, has been, I’m sure just such a difficult time,” he told reporters. 

“I thank all those people who are involved in the search and hope that it has a good outcome. “

Minister Catherine King, the member for Ballarat, said Ms Murphy’s disappearance has been a really distressing week for the family and thanked search crews for their efforts.

“The terrain they’ve been working through is really difficult. It’s beautiful bushland, we all love it, but we know how difficult it is,” Ms King told reporters.

“And just for a community like Ballarat, big hearts, very, very big hearts, and we just hope very much that there’s a positive outcome for Samantha Murphy and her family.”

Ballarat Mayor Des Hudson said the community response to Ms Murphy’s disapearance had been “extraordinary”.

“There is certainly great empathy for Samantha’s family,” Cr Hudson told Sky News on Sunday.

“I could not be prouder of our community.”

He said the community had come together to support and generously offered food to Ms Murphy’s family over the past eight days of the search. 

The landscape from Mt Buninyong near Ballarat
Missing mum Samantha Murphy regularly jogged about 14-15km through remote areas in Ballarat. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Official searches of areas such as parts of the Canadian State Forest have been paused until there is new information.

The tiny town of Buninyong, about 11km south of Ballarat, has been combed by SES volunteers.

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

Ms Murphy regularly jogged about 14-15km 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 been working with telecommunications staff to try to identify her route, given she carried a smart watch and phone.

Ms 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.

Anyone with information about Ms Murphy’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

AAP