Missing mum’s incredible act for ex-employee

More details about the life of missing mum Samantha Murphy have been revealed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

Incredible details have been revealed about the generous spirit of a missing Victorian mother who vanished while on a morning run almost a month ago.

Samantha Murphy, 51, was last seen on February 4 when she went for a run near the Woowookarung Regional Park. Despite extensive ground searches of the area, no trace of her has been found.

Up until now, little has been known about the mother-of-three’s life before she went missing; however, new details have come to light that reveal more about how she has shown up for her community.

In 2019, Ms Murphy threw her support behind a former employee of her family-owned panel shop Inland Motor Body Works after he was jailed over a traffic offence.

Supplied  Samantha Murphy: Homicide police set to be called in to investigate
Samantha Murphy has been missing for almost a month. Picture: Supplied
Jack Aston with Mike Murphy. Picture Facebook.JPG
Ms Murphy’s husband Mike with former employee Jack Aston. Picture: Facebook

Jack Aston was sentenced to 2½ years imprisonment after he crashed a bus into Melbourne’s notoriously low Montague Street bridge, leaving six of the 14 passengers with serious injuries. Following an appeal verdict quashing his convictions, he was released from jail.

Ms Murphy and her husband Mick were part of a community-led campaign, which included some of the injured passengers, that worked to prove the incident was nothing more than a tragic accident.

She even went so far as to put on the public record that she would hire Mr Aston back at the family business without a second thought.

Search crews have scoured bushland near her East Ballarat home. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

“He said to me last time he was talking to me he is scared he is going to be lazy, he is going to come out lazy because there isn’t enough to do. He is someone who is always doing something,” she told the Ballarat Courier at the time.

After Mr Aston served 10 months of his sentence, an appeals court overturned and quashed his convictions after finding there had been a miscarriage of justice. He was released from jail following the appeal verdict.

There is no suggestion that Ms Murphy’s defence of Mr Aston is related to her disappearance, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on his part.

The family smash repair business co-owned by Ms Murphy and her husband Mick has recently become part of the investigation into the missing persons case.

Ms Murphy’s daughter Jess speaks to media outside Ballarat West Police Station alongside her father Mick and Inspector Lisa MacDougall. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

“We are looking at everything we possibly can to find out what happened to Samantha,” Superintendent Mark Hatt told reporters on Friday.

The investigation has taken a turn over the last week, with police confirming they are “very doubtful” she is still alive.

Search crews focused their attention on the Mount Clear area, south of the family’s Eureka home, and the Woowookarung Regional Park, where she is believed to have regularly run.

Superintendent Hatt told reporters that “everyone” in her personal life, including her husband, was now a “person of interest”, though he stressed Mr Murphy was not a suspect in her disappearance.

No arrests or charges have been laid.