Samantha Murphy: Ballarat man (22) charged with missing mum’s murder

David Johns
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Victorian police have charged a man with murder after the the disappearance of Samantha Murphy.
Victorian police have charged a man with murder after the the disappearance of Samantha Murphy. Credit: The Nightly

The 22-year-old man charged with the murder of missing mum Samantha Murphy has been revealed as the son of a former AFL player.

Police arrested the man at his home in Scotsburn on Wednesday morning and charged him on Thursday.

He has been charged with murdering Mrs Murphy who disappeared without a trace while on a morning run.

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Ms Murphy went missing on Sunday, February 4 after leaving her Eureka Street home in Ballarat East at 7am for a 14km run.

Her family reported her missing when she failed to attend a planned brunch that day.

Despite extensive searches of the nearby Woowookarung Regional Park, the 51-year-old has not been found.

After the charges were laid, Ms Murphy’s husband Mick said his family was “doing as good as we can”.

Speaking outside his home, Murphy told 7NEWS he was relieved after hearing of the charge.

“The adrenaline with everything ... it’s trying to be brave for everybody, it’s something you wouldn’t want anyone to experience,” he said.

“It’s like someone’s just let the pressure valve off, sort of thing.

“It hasn’t been a good nearly five weeks, but anyway, we’re doing as good as we can.”

A police spokeswoman said the investigation remained ongoing.

“We understand that there is a continued high level of interest in this investigation and concern about Samantha’s disappearance, however it remains critical that any speculation does not impede any aspects of the investigation,” she said.

“Detectives are continuing to appeal for anyone who has CCTV or dash-cam footage and is yet to speak to police to come forward.”

In February, Victorian police said while investigators were keeping their options open, it was unlikely the missing mum would be found alive.

“Unfortunately given the time and the fact we’ve found no trace of her, we do have severe concerns and are very doubtful that she is still alive,” Det-Supt. Mark Hatt said at the time.

“Everyone in relation to Samantha is a person of interest in our investigation. We’re speaking to everyone that was in her life.”

Dozens of volunteers and search crews scoured areas of the Ballarat region including Buningyong, Eureka and Canadian state forest when Ms Murphy went missing.

Samantha Murphy, 51, did not return home from a 20km run through the Canadian State Forrest.
Samantha Murphy’s daughter and husband Michael Murphy. Credit: TheWest

Any members of the public who see Ms Murphy should call triple-0 immediately.

Anyone with information regarding her disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report online.

KEY POINTS

  • Samantha Murphy, a 51-year-old Ballarat woman and mother of three, was last seen leaving her home on February 4 to go for a run
  • A 22-year-old Ballarat man was arrested over Ms Murphy’s disappearance early on Wednesday morning and charged with murder on Thursday
  • The man has been identified as 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson, the son of former AFL player Orren Stephenson
  • Police say the man is not linked to the Murphy family
  • No trace has been found of Ms Murphy, despite weeks of extensive searches by emergency services and concerned community members

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