Police have delivered a devastating update in the search for missing mother Samantha Murphy, six days after she vanished near Ballarat in regional Victoria.
In a statement released on Saturday morning, police confirmed the “active search” for Ms Murphy would be “scaled back” over the weekend.
“An extensive six-day search has been conducted involving local police, along with personnel from the Search and Rescue Squad, Mounted Branch and Dog Squad, plus significant assistance from members of the SES and CFA,” the police said.
“Police continue to be in regular contact with Samantha’s family regarding the developments of the search and the status of the investigation.
“The investigative stage of the investigation continues and as any new information comes to hand identifying areas of interest, the search will be scaled up.”
Ms Murphy, a mother to three children, went missing house on February 4 after going for a regular morning run.
The 51-year-old left her home on Eureka St in Ballarat East about 7am last Sunday but failed to return, raising concerns for her welfare as temperatures soared to 36C across the area.
She had told her husband, Michael Murphy she was heading out on her regular 20km run through the Canadian State Forest.
A three-second clip released by the police, the last known image of Ms Power, shows her going for a run at 7.16am running in a north easterly direction.
Investigators have asked residents in the areas around Eureka St, Warrenheip Rd and Yankee Flat Rd to review their CCTV footage between 7am and 11am.
Emergency services have conducted an extensive search of the bushland near her house.
About 12.30pm on Wednesday, a crew searching a walking trail in Woowookarung Regional Park found an “item of interest”, but police have since ruled it out.
“Items located today during the search for Samantha have been assessed and at this time are not believed to be related to her whereabouts,” police said in a statement.
Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt from Victoria Police’s Crime Command said investigators held serious concerns for Ms Murphy but said on Friday there was “nothing immediate to indicate there is anything sinister behind Samantha’s disappearance”.
Ms Murphy’s daughter Jess delivered an impassioned plea for her mum to “come home soon” on Thursday.
“Mum’s a really strong woman and she’s far too determined to give up this fight,” she said through tears outside the Ballarat West Police Station.
“I know she’s out there somewhere, so if you could please continue to search for her and give us something to work with we’d really appreciate it.
“Mum we love you so much and we miss you … please come home soon.”
Mr Murphy also spoke and implored anyone with information about his wife to come forward to the police.
“People just don’t vanish into thin air. Someone’s got to know something,” he said.
“Whether it be any little thing that you might think is relevant, just call the police and let them know.
“It’ll give us a bit of peace of mind, some hope.”
Originally published as Police scale back search for missing mum Samantha Murphy