‘Still hope’: Search for Victorian mum Samantha Murphy enters eighth day

‘Still hope’: Search for Victorian mum Samantha Murphy enters eighth day

Groups of volunteers in Victoria are continuing to search for missing woman Samantha Murphy despite police scaling back search efforts.

The search for the 51-year-old has entered its eighth day, with community members still holding out hope of finding the mother.

Murphy vanished after leaving her home on Eureka Street in Ballarat East to go for a run in the Canadian State Forest at 7am on Sunday, February 4.

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Despite strong efforts, police and search crews have not made any significant process in their investigation into the mother’s disappearance.

Police have scaled back their resources to instead focus on the investigative part of their inquiries.

The Missing Persons Unit has taken the lead on investigations.

The police and SES presence in the search area has diminished, as police urge community members to check dashcam or CCTV footage from the morning of Murphy’s disappearance.

Her phone was last pinged at a telecommunications tower in Buninyong, about 11 kilometres south of her home.

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On Sunday community members at Buninyong held a service at the local Anglican church, where locals were asked to light a candle for the missing mother.

“The Ballarat community is very, very strong,” local residents Madeleine Witham told 9News.

“And at times like this, that’s when it comes to the fore. We continue to pray, because we know there is still hope.”

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Despite police scaling back the search, volunteers have travelled from across the state to continue the search.

The move has prompted a warning from the town’s mayor for volunteers to take extra safety precautions.

Ballarat mayor Des Hudson said the terrain of the search area was complex, and that it could be difficult for people who didn’t know it.

“What we don’t want, and what emergency services don’t want, is to then need to mount another search for other people,” Hudson told Sky News.

“Ideally people would be in twos, at least so they can work as a team, but people do need to be careful.”

Murphy has been described as physically and mentally strong.

She and her husband Michael run a car repair business a few suburbs from their home.

Anyone with information about Murphy’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

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