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Samantha Murphy search: Phone discovered on muddy dam bank believed to be missing mum’s

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Victorian police have made a possible breakthrough in the search for the remains of missing mother Samantha Murphy, crews locating a mobile phone.

Detectives from the missing persons squad have called off their search of a Buninyong location after fresh evidence sparked hope that the body of missing mum Samantha Murphy may be found.

“Their search of the Buninyong location has concluded – they will not be searching there again today” a Victoria Police spokesperson confirmed on Thursday.

On Wednesday, police recovered a mobile phone while scouring the banks of a dam on a property near where Mrs Murphy is believed to have been near from phone ‘ping’ records.

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It is understood that the phone recovered is the phone that belonged to Mrs Murphy.

Sources have told 7NEWS that the phone does belong to Mrs Murphy and that this is a significant clue in the investigation.

A fresh search for the mother-of-three’s remains was launched on Wednesday, with Victoria Police deploying an excavator and the dog squad to aid officers in their search.

Police were seen hugging and celebrating when they discovered the device in the muddy dam bank.

Mrs Murphy has not been seen since she left her rural home for a run on the morning of Sunday, February 4, and while a man has been charged with her murder, no trace of Mrs Murphy has been found.

Police search for missing woman Samantha Murphy
Police search for missing woman Samantha Murphy Credit: 7NEWS/7NEWS

“There is no update on the forensic assessment of the items,” the spokesperson confirmed.

About 12 officers searched an area beside a dam at the edge of a property a few kilometres south of where her phone last pinged on the day she vanished.

Police search for missing woman Samantha Murphy
Police search for missing woman Samantha Murphy Credit: 7NEWS/7NEWS

Vision captured by the ABC showed the search taking place on the edge of a property along Slaughterhouse Road and Buninyong-Mt Mercer Road, with a group of police officers placing an evidence marker by an item that appears to be a smartphone.

Officers were also seen with a metal detector and an excavator was used for part of the search.

Retired senior Victorian homicide detective Charlie Bezzina said the use of the excavator was a good sign that police had solid intelligence about Mrs Murphy’s whereabouts.

“It’s certainly hopeful,” Mr Bezzina told The Nightly.

A sign about Samantha Murphy.
Police looking for the body of Samantha Murphy are yet to say where in Ballarat they are searching. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, has been charged with murder in connection to Murphy’s disappearance and reportedly not assisting police.

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