Advertisement

Samantha Murphy: Man charged with murder as husband speaks of 'relief'

Michael Murphy spoke to media outside his home on Thursday.

The man arrested in relation to the disappearance of Ballarat woman Samantha Murphy has been charged with murder, police confirmed on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Ballarat man was arrested from his home in the regional city shortly after 6am on Wednesday. It’s believed the man has no connection to the Murphy family.

The 51-year-old mother of three left her home at Eureka Street in Ballarat East on February 4 to go jogging and has not been seen since. The arrest follows an extensive search for the missing mum which captivated the country.

Missing mum Samantha Ballarat
Samantha Murphy disappeared from her home in Ballarat last month.

Still no trace of missing mum

Despite a significant investigation and extensive searches of the Canadian Forest area no trace of the 51-year-old has been found. The investigation remains ongoing, police said on Thursday.

The hunt for answers has involved the missing persons squad, specialist commands and hundreds of Ballarat locals, with multiple theories emerging over her whereabouts. Police also spoke with a number of people close to Samantha as part of this investigation.

Husband's response to charge

Speaking to media outside his home on Thursday afternoon, Samantha's husband Michael Murphy said he was "relieved" progress had been made in the case of his missing wife, The Herald Sun reported, before police announced publically the murder charge.

News crews staked out the Murphy household near Eureka Street on Thursday following news of the arrest, where he was seen walking into his shed before getting into his truck and driving away.

Michale later told media he's trying to remain brave for his family after news of the charge. "God, the adrenaline with everything that’s been going on, it’s just trying to be brave for everybody. It’s something that we wouldn’t want anyone to experience," he said.

"It hasn’t been good for a while, nearly five weeks, but we’re doing as good as we can, it’s a brave face," he added. He also thanked the Ballarat community for "the generosity and the support".

Michael Murphy, husband of Samantha Murphy, is seen at his residential property in Ballarat, Victoria, Thursday, March 7,
Michael Murphy, husband of Samantha Murphy, spoke to media at his residential property in Ballarat, Victoria, on Thursday. Source: AAP

In late February, Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt said it was most likely her disappearance involved one or more parties. Police were doubtful she was still alive and had been looking at the possibility her body was moved from where she vanished, he told reporters on February 23.

"Unfortunately given the time and the fact we've found no trace of her, we do have severe concerns and are very doubtful that she is still alive," he said. "Anyone who has information about Ms Murphy's disappearance, including CCTV or dash-cam footage from the time she went missing, is urged to come forward."

Samantha Murphy disappearance had 'profound impact' on community

In an update on Thursday afternoon, Det Supt Hatt said Samantha's disappearance has had a "profound impact on the Ballarat community" and said "our thoughts today are with Samantha’s family and friends."

"Since Samantha’s disappearance at the start of February, a significant search and investigation has been undertaken in an effort to find her," he continued.

"This has included a dedicated and committed investigative effort led by the Missing Persons squad and also involving detectives from right across Crime Command, Counter Terrorism Command and Western Region. This has been further supported by a range of specialist resources from across Victoria Police."

"To get to a position where we have been able to charge someone is a testament to the commitment and dedication from all those areas," he added.

"We have also had exceptional support from many people in the Ballarat community, particularly local search volunteers and members of the SES and CFA.

"I know that Samantha’s disappearance has had a profound impact on the Ballarat community and I want to thank all of those people who have assisted police in many different ways over the past month."

SES volunteers fan out to search for Samantha Murphy in Buninyong, Victoria. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Wilson
SES volunteers fan out to search for Samantha Murphy in Buninyong, Victoria. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Wilson

"We understand that there is a continued high level of interest in this investigation and concern about Samantha’s disappearance, however it remains critical that any speculation does not impede any aspects of the investigation," Victoria Police said on Thursday.

"Detectives are continuing to appeal for anyone who has CCTV or dashcam footage and is yet to speak to police to come forward."

Anyone with any other information regarding her disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppers.com.au.

with AAP and NCA Newswire

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.