Probe into disappearance of missing Australian woman Samantha Murphy darkens as homicide investigators called upon

  • 09/02/2024

Police in Australia's Victoria may bring in homicide investigators on Friday to probe the disappearance of a missing jogger. 

Officers were keeping an open mind but days after Samantha Murphy's disappearance, concern was growing about what had happened to her. 

The search to find the mum-of-three has now entered day six. 

Homicide detectives from the specialised "missing persons squad" could now be called upon to analyse the case, the Herald Sun reported on Friday. 

The newspaper said such officers were called in for investigations into potential foul play where a body hadn't been located. 

On Thursday, Murphy's daughter made a heartbreaking plea to the public to help find her mum. 

"I know she's out there somewhere," an emotional Jess Murphy told reporters. "So, if you could please continue to search for her - to give us something to work with - we'd really appreciate it. 

"Mum's a really strong woman and she's far too determined to give up this fight... Please come home soon, I can't wait to see you." 

Samantha's husband Michael Murphy echoed the same message. 

"People just don't vanish into thin air," he said. "Someone's got to know something. 

"Hopefully someone's got something they can remember, or they've seen." 

Samantha was last seen on Sunday wearing a Fitbit watch and activewear, setting off on a run she wouldn't return from. 

Investigators were using phone data to narrow the search, with her last "ping" being to a cellphone tower 11km from her home in the city of Ballarat. 

In another twist to the case, a woman was attacked in the same park a year ago. Her attacker was never found. 

While Ballarat Police acting Insp Lisa McDougall said on Thursday the case wasn't being treated as foul play "at this point", Insp Bob Heaney told 3AW radio nothing had been ruled out and "the focus is finding her".