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Husband of missing mum breaks silence

Samantha Murphy had gone for a run but failed to return to her Ballarat home. Picture: Supplied
Samantha Murphy went for a run but failed to return to her Ballarat home. Picture: Supplied

An intensive search of bushland has failed to find a mother of three who has been missing for three days after going for a run.

Victoria Police have appealed for public assistance to help find Ballarat East woman Samantha Murphy.

The 51-year-old was last seen leaving her property on Eureka St to go for a run in Canadian State Forest about 7am on Sunday, where temperatures hit the high 30s during the day.

Ms Murphy’s husband told the Herald Sun his wife runs in the area daily.

“It’s just up in the air, we don’t know,” Mr Murphy said.

“It’s just a whole time thing at the end of the day.”

SEARCH for MISSING WOMAN
Women gather in front of a missing persons poster of Ballarat East woman Samantha Murphy outside the Buninyong Police Station. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

A major search operation has been under way for three days, involving local police who are being supported by officers from the Dog Squad, Mounted Branch, Solo Unit and Air Wing.

State Emergency Service, Forest Fire Management Victoria and Parks Victoria personnel are also involved in the search.

Locals have raised concerns that the bushland is not only very dense, but has mineshafts in it.

“That’s the biggest concern, that there are mineshafts out there that aren’t very noticeable in some areas,” volunteer Donne Crouch told Nine,

SEARCH for MISSING WOMAN
The SES is part of a large-scale search for missing Ballarat East woman Samantha Murphy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie
SEARCH for MISSING WOMAN
Ms Murphy friends on site with SES volunteers near Buninyong. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Police and family have concerns for her welfare due to the hot weather on Sunday and her disappearance being out of character,” Acting Inspector Lisa McDougall said on Monday.

“Obviously, yesterday was a hot day … there (is) obviously increased risk there because of the heat.

“It raises the urgency of the search for us and obviously we account for the fact that will have an impact on someone’s health.”

Samantha Murphy went missing from her Ballarat home on Sunday February 4. Picture: Supplied
Ms Murphy went missing from her Ballarat home on Sunday. Picture: Supplied
Samantha Murphy had gone for a run but failed to return to her Ballarat home. Picture: Supplied
She went for a run but failed to return to her Ballarat home. Picture: Supplied

Police and the SES searched the state forest area behind the Buninyong Golf Club on Monday.

The search continued on Tuesday morning for the missing mother.

Inspector McDougall said Ms Murphy usually went for a run every day and was very familiar with the Canadian State Forest and surrounding areas.

“The area of search isn’t completely remote, we are on the outskirts of Ballarat, and it’s not that far from urban areas as well,” MacDougall said.

SEARCH for MISSING WOMAN
Police on trail bikes are part of the large-scale search. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie
SEARCH for MISSING WOMAN
Police outside the Buninyong Police Station as the large-scale search continues. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Inspector MacDougall said data received from Ms Murphy’s phone, which she had been carrying at the time, pinged near the golf course.

Ms Murphy is described as caucasian, about 173cm tall with a slim build and shoulder-length blonde hair.
She was last seen wearing black half-length leggings and a maroon/brown coloured singlet.

Anyone who sights Ms Murphy is urged to contact Ballarat East Police Station on (03) 5336 6000.