Advertisement

‘Not looking good': Grim call on missing mum

SAMANTHA MURPHY PRESSER
Police have continued their search for missing woman Samantha Murphy in Woowookarung Regional Park in Mount Clear Picture: Brendan Beckett

As the desperate search for missing Victorian woman Samantha Murphy enters its fourth week, a former detective has revealed hopes for the mum’s return are fading.

The mother of three, 51 left her Eureka Street home in Ballarat on February 4 to go on a run in the Woowookarung Regional Park.

Despite major search efforts by the missing persons squad, specialist commands and hundreds of Ballarat locals, Ms Murphy has not been seen since.

Ballarat mother of three Samantha Murphy has been missing for more than four weeks. Picture: Supplied.
Ballarat mother of three Samantha Murphy has been missing for more than four weeks. Picture: Supplied.

Host of The Missing Australia podcast and former detective Meni Caroutas revealed: “it is not looking good.”

“Police are throwing a lot of resources at this, so it’s obviously very serious,” he told Sky News.

“I think police initially would have spoken to the family to find out what the lady’s routine was, to find out as much information about her as they can, but also to eliminate those close to her.

Host of The Missing Australia podcast and former detective Meni Caroutas has admitted the search is “not looking good”. Source Facebook/The Missing
Host of The Missing Australia podcast and former detective Meni Caroutas has admitted the search is “not looking good”. Source Facebook/The Missing

“Then what happens, once they speak to the family and find out all they can, then police cast a wider net.

“But given all the resources police have thrown at this and the fact she’s still missing … it’s not looking good. I pray for a miracle but … hopefully there’s someone that has information and, they need to pick up the phone and call police.”

It comes as more than 300 volunteers scoured dense bushland on Saturday, armed with metal detectors and a sniffer dog in hopes a clue as to the whereabouts of Ms Murphy might surface.

MEGA GROUND SEARCH SAMANTHA MURPHY
Ground Crew (volunteer group) organised a large scale search with volunteers to look for any sign of Samantha Murphy in bushland near Ballarat. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
MEGA GROUND SEARCH SAMANTHA MURPHY
More than 300 volunteers joined the search on Saturday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

Police have concentrated their search efforts to areas around Mount Clear, south of Ballarat, based on intelligence gleaned from phone data.

Police now hold grave concerns for the mother’s welfare and suspect she may have been the victim of foul play.

“We do have severe concerns and are very doubtful she is still alive,” the police said on Friday.

“We do think another party has been involved (in her disappearance), whether it be one person or a number of people.”

Detective acting superintendent Mark Hatt said “everyone” in Ms Murphy’s personal life has been deemed a “person of interest”.

BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA - NCA NewsWire Photos - FEBRUARY 09, 2024: Press conference relating to the disappearance of Samantha Murphy in south-west Ballarat. Pictured are Detective acting superintendent Mark Hatt (L), serious crime-operations, Inspector Bob Heaney hold a press conference (R). Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Wilson
Detective acting superintendent Mark Hatt said anyone in Ms Murphy’s personal life is a “person of interest”. NCA NewsWire / Ian Wilson

“Everyone in relation to Samantha is a person of interest in our investigation. We are speaking to everyone that was in her life … So that would include family, friends and work colleagues,” Superintendent Hatt told reporters on Friday.

“We have a number of people that we are speaking to and I can say the family have been absolutely fantastic in co-operating with police.

“At this stage [Mr Murphy] is not [a suspect]. Everyone in relation to Samantha is a person of interest. In our investigation we are speaking to everyone that was in her life.”

The possibility of Ms Murphy suffering a medical episode has been ruled out by police.