Ballarat still hopeful after days of searching for mum

The Ballarat community is weary but still hopeful of finding missing mother Samantha Murphy six days after she disappeared as State Emergency Service volunteers were stood down.

The service's volunteers mustered not far from Buninyong golf course around 4.30pm on Friday, exhausted after a day combing through local bushland in dry heat.

The crews were officially demobilised and stood down from the search effort for Ms Murphy at 5pm, an SES spokeswoman told AAP.

Vehicle after vehicle came down Somerville Road, with groups of volunteers piling out - each, with nothing much to report.

SES personnel at a staging area in Buninyong near Ballarat on Friday.
SES crews spent a long day searching for Ms Murphy before heading to a staging area in Buninyong. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

A few dozen volunteers were still in good spirits as a local unit leader checked there were no injuries from the day's operation, reminding them to take care of themselves.

"Obviously, a few of you have been here for a few days now," the leader said.

"Take care and thank you for all your hard work."

The group was joined by a Victoria Police officer who also thanked them for their efforts.

Missing Persons squad detectives have been deployed to Ballarat to take carriage of the investigation into the disappearance of 51-year-old Ms Murphy.

The mother of three, who is described as mentally and physically strong, was last seen leaving her Eureka St home in Ballarat East about 7am on Sunday to go for a run.

Search crews honed in on Buninyong on Friday after working through the Eureka and Canadian state forest areas in recent days.

A sign from the search
Ms Murphy was last seen leaving her Eureka St home at Ballarat East about 7am on Sunday. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

The community was still out in force to aid the search effort on Friday, with many locals heading into bushland to scope out dirt paths for any sign of Ms Murphy.

Police are yet to make a breakthrough but it's hoped the detectives, who are experienced in conducting complex bushland searches, will make ground in the case.

Investigators haven't identified any sinister circumstances surrounding Ms Murphy's disappearance.

Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt confirmed homicide detectives were not involved in the investigation, as of Friday.

"We do hold significant concerns for Samantha's welfare at this stage and that is growing as the days progresses," Det Supt Hatt said.

CCTV released on Wednesday was thought to have shown Ms Murphy running on Eureka St but actually depicted someone else and was therefore irrelevant to the case.

Police say this hasn't hampered the investigation.

Officers have appealed for residents in the suburbs of Ballarat East, Canadian, Eureka, Buninyong and Mount Helen to review any CCTV or dashcam they have from 7am onwards on Sunday for any sign of Ms Murphy.

SES crews at Buninyong near Ballarat.
Fears are growing for the missing mother with the search now in its sixth day. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

"One of the challenges we have is the area is so remote that there's not a lot of businesses or residential CCTV available," Inspector Bob Heaney said.

Detectives are working with telecommunications technicians to identify the route Ms Murphy travelled after confirming she had a smartwatch and phone on her.

Ms Murphy's movements on Sunday morning were in line with what she'd normally do, Insp Heaney said.

"Samantha's very fit - both physically and mentally - she would cover up to 14-15km on her runs," he said.

"She'd normally be due back from her run within a couple of hours and alarm bells went up when she didn't return from that run."

Ms Murphy's distraught eldest daughter Jess on Thursday called for help to bring her mother home.

"I know she's out there somewhere, so if you could please continue to search for her to give us something to work with, we'd really appreciate it," she said.

The missing woman's husband Mick added: "People just don't vanish into thin air. Someone has got to know something."