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Cops call on search for missing mum

A composite image of missing mum Samantha Murphy and volunteers searching for her. Picture: Supplied
A composite image of missing mum Samantha Murphy and volunteers searching for her. Picture: Supplied

Volunteers from across the state have stepped in to continue searching for a beloved Ballarat mother after police announced the search would be “scaled back”.

Samantha Murphy vanished six days ago after telling her husband she was going on a 20km run.

Mother of three Samantha Murphy has been missing since last Sunday. Picture: Supplied
Mother of three Samantha Murphy has been missing since last Sunday. Picture: Supplied

In a statement released on Saturday morning, police confirmed the “active search” for Ms Murphy would be “scaled back” over the weekend.

“An extensive six-day search has been conducted involving local police, along with personnel from the Search and Rescue Squad, Mounted Branch and Dog Squad, plus significant assistance from members of the SES and CFA,” the police said.

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Volunteers gather near police, discussing their own plans to look for Ms Murphy as official searches begin to die down. .Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Wilson

Sunday marks a week since Ms Murphy, a mother to three children, went missing.

Police are now seeking dashcam footage from areas such as Ballarat East, Buninyong and Mount Helen, even if it doesn’t show her.

“The investigative stage of the investigation continues and as any new information comes to hand identifying areas of interest, the search will be scaled up,” police said.

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A local volunteer Laurenna Toulmin checking her dashcam for any hint of hope, as she drives through Buninyong in the search for Ms Murphy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Wilson

Since then, police conducted a search across the surrounding area, which involved members of the Search and Rescue Squad, Mounted Branch and Dog Squad, and had “significant assistance” from the State Emergency Service and the Country Fire Authority.

But in touching scenes on Saturday, volunteers took over.

Residents from Ballarat, as well as volunteers who have come from as far as Melbourne, have walked Woowookarung Regional Park, a known running spot for Ms Murphy, looking for clues.

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Ms Murphy’s family with police, calling for help with the investigation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

The 51-year-old left her home on Eureka St in Ballarat East about 7am last Sunday but failed to return, raising concerns for her welfare as temperatures soared to 36C across the area.

She had told her husband, Michael Murphy she was heading out on her regular 20km run through the Canadian State Forest.

Mr Murphy has urged people with “any little thing” they might think is relevant to come forward.

“People just don’t vanish into thin air. Someone’s got to know something,” Mr Murphy said.

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Search efforts move through Buningyong, 11km south of Ballarat. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Wilson