Mon. Feb 26th, 2024
alert-–-samantha-murphy:-ex-homicide-detective’s-theory-on-why-the-search-was-scaled-backAlert – Samantha Murphy: Ex-homicide detective’s theory on why the search was scaled back

An ex-homicide detective has explained why police scaling back the search for missing mother-of-three Samantha Murphy may actually mean good news for the investigation.

The 51-year-old vanished on the morning of February 4 while going for a run in the Woowookarung Regional Park, northwest of Melbourne, at about 7am.

A major search was launched involving various police units but it was scaled back on Saturday with locals now taking it upon themselves to continue searching for Ms Murphy.

Charlie Bezzina, who worked in the Victorian Police on a number of high profile criminal cases, said he didn’t think the public should be disheartened by the update.

Samantha Murphy, 51, (pictured) vanished without a trace on February 4

Samantha Murphy, 51, (pictured) vanished without a trace on February 4 

EXCLUSIVEREAD MORE: More heartbreak for missing mum’s family

 

The family of missing mum Samantha Murphy have been dealt another cruel blow with the disappearance of her beloved dog

The family of missing mum Samantha Murphy have been dealt another cruel blow with the disappearance of her beloved dog 

‘It indicates the detectives are following a certain line of inquiry. The fact they’ve scaled it back should give people confidence that they’re following that,’ Mr Bezzina told Daily Mail .

‘They appear to be comfortable enough to scale this search back. That tells you they’re confident to some degree that she’s not in that area.’

He added that police would not jeopardise any possible line of inquiry by publicising it to the media.

‘The only people they’ve got to be honest with are the family,’ he said.

Some residents have rallied together together to continue coordinating their own searches.

The former detective said it was still worthwhile for locals to do, even for their own peace of mind.

Mr Bezzina added it was important for Ms Murphy’s case to remain in the public eye to help with the investigation, given police have heavily relied on residents coming forward with any information.

‘Clearly the case has waned in the Greater Melbourne CBD area, with the most interest coming from within the country areas,’ he said.

‘It’s important to keep the investigation alive in the media.’ 

Charlie Bezzina, who worked within the Victorian Police force on a number of high profile criminal cases, said it was possible detectives may be further along in the investigation than it seems

Charlie Bezzina, who worked within the Victorian Police force on a number of high profile criminal cases, said it was possible detectives may be further along in the investigation than it seems

Police and Country Fire Association and State Emergency Service volunteers and hundreds of locals spent six days scouring bushland for Ms Murphy, but the official search came to a halt on Saturday.

Small teams of locals scoured bushland for the missing mum on Sunday, while another group organised to meet at Buninyong Police Station the following morning, but with temperatures soaring to 36 degrees, no one showed up on Monday.

On Monday, the administrator of the Facebook group ‘Find Samantha Murphy’ – which garnered thousands of members since she disappeared – suddenly announced she would delete the group.

Cin Hobbs, who ran the group, said: ‘This group has served its purpose and we have been given the go ahead to delete.

‘This is a huge mission on its own as I have to remove every member… the best thing you can do for her is to help speed the process up by deleting yourself.’ 

There were other Facebook groups dedicated to the search, but none were as big as Ms Hobbs’ group.

Local volunteers are continuing their own searches for Samantha Murphy

Local volunteers are continuing their own searches for Samantha Murphy

Before it was removed, locals would post maps of the areas they covered during their independent searches and report their findings.

One person on Saturday found a black bra that had been chopped in half and hung on a fence and reported it to police.

Members were shocked and confused when they found out all their search maps and information about clues they found would be deleted, but no explanation beyond Ms Hobbs’ original post was provided. 

The official police search for Ms Murphy has now been handed over to the Missing Persons Squad and a full scale search will only resume if fresh information emerges.

Timeline of Samantha Murphy’s disappearance 

Sunday February 4, 7am: Mum-of-three Samantha Murphy is last seen leaving her home on Eureka Street in Ballarat East heading off on a run.

7.16am: She is captured on a neighbour’s CCTV wearing a brown singlet and black half-length leggings.

11am: Ms Murphy fails to show up at a planned brunch with family. She is reported to police as a missing.

Monday February 5: Victoria Police launch a public appeal to find Ms Murphy.  A search area is established just outside the suburb of Buninyong, about 14km from where Ms Murphy was last seen, as well as near her home. Police revealed Ms Murphy’s mobile phone had pinged in Buninyong

Tuesday February 6: Ms Murphy’s Mick husband tells media that he’s ‘not too bad under the circumstances.  He was pictured speaking with police as the desperate search continued. The search extended to more than 100 specialised police officers, SES crews and teams from Forest Fire Management and Parks Victoria.

Wednesday February 8, 12.30pm:  A search party found possible evidence near a walking trail in Woowookarung Regional Park

1.45pm: Mick Murphy turns up at the  cordoned off scene in Woowookarung Regional Park and appeared visibly stunned as he was turned away by officers. Police said the items found in bushland were not related to her whereabouts.

Police later released what they initially thought was CCTV of Ms Murphy leaving her property and heading off in a north-easterly direction toward Yankee Flat Road near the intersection of Warrenheip Road.

Thursday afternoon February 8: A runner came forward to reveal they are the person seen in the CCTV footage, ruling out a key line of inquiry.

Friday February 9: Victoria Police ramp up its efforts with the arrival of officers from the missing persons unit.

Saturday February 10: Investigators scale back the search and say that a full scale search will only resume if fresh information emerges.

Sunday February 11: As police down grade the search, locals continue their own search by scouring the area in small groups.

Monday February 12: Cin Hobbs, administrator of ‘Find Samantha Murphy’ Facebook group- which garnered thousands of members within days announced she was removing the group as it ‘has served its purpose.’

 

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