Family of missing Ballarat mum Samantha Murphy break their silence on what they think happened to her – and the ‘clue’ that baffles them the most – 12 days after she vanished


The heartbroken family of missing mum-of-three Samantha Murphy fear she was abducted by a deranged stalker who pounced while she was on a morning run. 

Ms Murphy, 51, left her home off Eureka Street in East Ballarat, north-west of Melbourne, to go for a run in Woowookarung Regional Park just after 7am on February 4 and has not been seen since. 

On Thursday, her uncle and aunt, Allan and Janice Robson, told Daily Mail Australia they suspected their beloved niece had met with foul play. 

‘It’s just like she’s gone off the face of the Earth. There’s nothing,’ Mrs Robson said. 

‘I would say that somebody would have been watching her. I can’t think it would be anything else.’

Samantha Murphy vanished without a trace on February 4

Samantha Murphy vanished without a trace on February 4

On Wednesday, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton confirmed detectives now believe Ms Murphy’s disappearance is suspicious. 

However, police are yet to reveal what, if anything, they believe is suspicious other than the fact it has now been 12 days since she vanished without trace. 

Mrs Robson said police had not been forthcoming with any information about the investigation other than what is already known among the general public. 

‘Any information (the police) have they’ll sit on it. They don’t want to spook anyone,’ Mr Robson said.  

Mr Robson said he asked his brother – Ms Murphy’s father John Robson – if he knew of any reason why his daughter may have vanished, but he had no answers. 

Samantha Murphy's husband Mick Murphy addressed the media last week

Samantha Murphy’s husband Mick Murphy addressed the media last week 

Mr Robson said his niece was financially secure and pondered whether someone may have hurt her in a robbery gone wrong. 

‘Mick had so many cars he couldn’t fit them in his garage,’ he said. 

‘I don’t think it’s an opportunist,’ Mrs Robson said. 

‘I think it’s been someone who has been stalking her. Someone who she didn’t even know was stalking her.’ 

Mrs Robson suggested anyone who knew her niece knew she was a creature of habit when it came to exercise. 

‘She would routinely go for a run in the morning,’ she said. 

The search for Ms Murphy has all but been abandoned

The search for Ms Murphy has all but been abandoned 

‘She normally does 20km,’ Mr Robson said. 

‘But she had to meet someone in Ballarat at 10am so she only did 10km.’

Both are baffled by the mystery of her phone, saying she would not have ventured as far away from her home where police believe her mobile made its last communication with a tower. 

State Emergency Services volunteers and police last week searched the bush in an area between the Canadian Plantation and Yankee Flat Road – about 15km from Ms Murphy’s home – where they believe her phone was switched off. 

‘She would never switch that phone off… that phone was always hooked up,’ Mr Robson said. 

The elderly couple said Ms Murphy was a clever and careful person who had the ability to defend herself if someone attempted to harm her. 

‘She would have put up a bloody good fight,’ Allan said. 

‘And I think if she suspected something, I don’t think she’d hang about. She was a runner. She would have got out of that area,’ Mrs Robson said. 

The couple said Ms Murphy was familiar with the terrain and would have known if anyone unusual had been lurking about the routes she ran on in the days before she vanished. 

‘She’s there that often, she would have came across something,’ Mrs Robson said. 

Police released this image of Ms Murphy from the morning she vanished

 Police released this image of Ms Murphy from the morning she vanished 

With police effectively abandoning the search for Ms Murphy less than a week after it began, the pair fear they believe she is already dead. 

‘You’d think the (search) dogs would have been able to pick up her scent. That’s what they do. They should have been able to pick up where she ran into that forest,’ Mrs Robson said. 

On Thursday, a woman who identified herself as Ms Murphy’s sister refused to allow Daily Mail Australia to speak to her parents, who reside in Gordon – about 22km from their daughter’s home. 

No new information on the investigation, which is being led by Victoria’s Police’s Missing Persons Unit, emerged on Thursday.  

Last week, Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt said detectives would look into Ms Murphy’s movements and interactions with others in the days before she vanished.

‘Absolutely, that will be a huge part of our investigation. Digging into the background, working out Samantha’s movements in the days leading up to her disappearance and also double-so the people who know her,’ he said.

Part of the investigation – now dubbed Operation Primus – will see detectives trawl through Ms Murphy’s computers and devices in the hope of finding clues.

Anyone with information on Ms Murphy’s disappearance is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

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