Ballarat search for Samantha Murphy’s body: Police restart search for missing mum

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Police will return to bushland for the second day in a row to continue the search for missing mum Samantha Murphy.

Ms Murphy, 51, was last seen about 7am on February 4 after leaving her Ballarat home to go on a morning run.

Police allege she was killed on the same day, but her body has yet to be recovered.

Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, has been charged with her murder.

Officers will return to Enfield State Park on Friday after new “intelligence” directed them to search the section of bushland for Ms Murphy’s body on Thursday.

Dirt bikes and a NSW Police cadaver dog were used to search the land on Thursday, though bad weather called the search off early.

Police told the Herald Sun it was the first time search crews had used a cadaver dog.

It’s understood NSW and Queensland are the only two states in Australia with cadaver detection dog capabilities.

Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt said Thursday’s search involved “a significant number of detectives from the Missing Persons Squad and police from a number of specialist areas”.

Since Ms Murphy’s disappearance over two months ago, a range of searches and other inquiries have been undertaken in the Ballarat area as part of this investigation.

“This includes extensive large scale searches such as we have planned this week but also smaller targeted searches focused in very specific areas,” he said.

“I want to assure those in the Ballarat community that police remain focused on doing everything we can to return Samantha to her family.”

Police have previously combed large swathes of the Canadian Forest area since Ms Murphy’s disappearance, with dedicated locals also joining in the search.

Officers have asked civilian search groups to not join the new search effort.