The family of Samantha Murphy have hit back at cruel trolls running a whispering campaign against her husband after she vanished last Sunday morning.
Ms Murphy, 51, disappeared while out for a 7.30am jog in the Woowookarung Regional Park beauty spot near Ballarat, Victoria.
Now her family have angrily lashed out at those falsely trying to implicate husband Michael as the search for the beloved mother-of-three enters its fifth day.
‘For those questioning Samantha’s husband, you need not worry,’ the family said in a statement released to the Facebook group set up to help in the hunt.
‘He is in more pain than anyone and would be the last person to suspect in any of this.’
The family of Samantha Murphy (pictured) have hit back at cruel trolls running a whispering campaign against her husband after she vanished last Sunday morning
Ms Murphy’s family has angrily lashed out at those implicating her husband Michael (pictured at the scene on Wednesday) as the search for the mother-of-three drags into its fifth day
Michael Murphy, the husband of missing mum Samantha Murphy, drove to the crime scene in Ballarat East at about 1.45pm on Wednesday
The family said they were keen to stamp out the attacks on Ms Murphy’s husband and also wanted to set the record straight on other claims circulating online.
‘I’ve been seeing some misinformation been spread on all platforms that I want to inform people about,’ the statement added.
‘Samantha’s phone pinging that far away from home is not usual.
‘Yes, she walked in different directions, but she kept to the paths, never went for more than 10km total roughly and would let family know if she was walking further.’
And they stressed that Ms Walker knows the area and the local conditions and was physically fit enough to cope.
‘She is a very experienced walker who is in amazing condition,’ the statement said. ‘Some of the trails she has done around Victoria isn’t for the light minded.’
The statement, said to be from an unnamed family member, also revealed their pain as the search goes on and their gratitude to locals for rallying around to help.
‘We would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support of this amazing community,’ it said. ‘It brings tears of hope and joy into our hearts.
‘We are holding up as strong as we can emotionally and physically. We pray that Samantha comes home soon safe and sound. We all miss her dearly.
‘The searching that everyone has done has made a positive difference in the investigation as a whole. Without you guys we’d easily be another couple days back.’
The family said they had done everything they could to help police in the search but said they now only knew as much as the media.
‘We have worked with authorities to give any information and have/had tried all techniques to find her that’s possible currently,’ the statement said.
‘We don’t know much more information than what gets said in articles and news.’
Samantha Murphy, 51, (pictured) disappeared while out for a 7.30am jog in the Woowookarung Regional Park beauty spot near Ballarat, Victoria
Samantha Murphy left her Ballarat home at 7am on Sunday to go for a run in the nearby state forest and did not return home, nor has she been seen since
Police investigating the disappearance of missing mum Samantha Murphy found an item of interest in bushland on Wednesday but it was later found to be unrelated to the disappearance
The family statement was published on the the Find Samantha Murphy Facebook Group which was set up by Ballarat local Cindy Hobbs.
She vouched for the authenticity of the family statement and added: ‘Obviously they’re devastated. Everyone is just so desperate to bring her home.’
Ms Hobbs told Nine’s Today show on Thursday that even though she had never met Ms Murphy, she wanted to do everything she could to try to find her safe and well.
‘There is a mother out there that’s lost and there’s a family that is desperate to bring her home,’ she said.
‘She has so much love behind her. It’s hard to imagine anybody not wanting to find hr and bring her home.
‘She’s part of our community and we don’t want anybody out there alone, especially when there are children looking forward to her being returned safely.’
Some locals have expressed fear that her running path may have taken her past several hard-to-see mine shafts.
Volunteers have been seen looking under bushes and inspecting scrubland directly outside the Murphy home.
Across the road, officers were seen questioning a neighbour before then searching the rear of his property.
Search crews were also observed carrying out similar line searches along nearby Eureka Road.
Ms Murphy, 51, had embarked on a run through the Canadian State Forest, an area her husband Michael claimed she was very familiar with, but never returned.
Mr Murphy, who owns and operates a smash repairs business with his missing wife, has remained mostly tight-lipped since Ms Murphy went missing.
Daily Mail Australia has been told media who approached his business on Tuesday were given a frosty reception.
‘It’s just a whole time thing at the end of the day.’
A police car sat in the driveway of Ms Murphy’s home on Wednesday morning
Police question one of Ms Murphy’s neighbours on Wednesday
On Wednesday, a worried neighbour told Daily Mail Australia Ms Murphy’s disappearance had shocked the community.
‘It’s just such a worry because you just don’t know what has happened. Is there someone out there? We just don’t know,’ she said.
Some locals are already beginning to come up with a range of theories as to what has happened, with some concerned about ‘suspicious’ characters living in the region.
A large-scale search has involved the Search and Rescue Squad, local police, more than 100 specialised officers from the dog squad, mounted branch, solo unit and air wing.
SES crews and teams from Forest Fire Management Australia and Parks Victoria have also joined the search.
The Ballarat community has rallied together, with a growing number of residents and Ms Murphy’s friends joining the search efforts.
On the morning Ms Murphy vanished, she was captured on her own CCTV system wearing a brown singlet and black half-length leggings.
On Tuesday, Acting Inspector Lisa MacDougall said Ms Murphy’s mobile phone had pinged in Buninyong but that ‘inquiries are ongoing as to whether [the phone] is still on’.
‘Obviously, phones can run out of battery, but that forms part of the investigation,’ she told reporters on Monday.
Ms Murphy is an administrator at Inland Motor Body Works, which she owns with her husband
‘The area of search isn’t completely remote, we are on the outskirts of Ballarat, and it’s not that far from urban areas as well,’ Insp MacDougall said.
Temperatures soared to a scorching 36°C on Sunday and it’s unknown whether Ms Murphy had food or water with her.
‘Obviously, [Sunday] was a hot day… there [is] obviously increased risk there because of the heat,’ Insp MacDougall added.
‘It raises the urgency of the search for us, and obviously we account for the fact that that will have an impact on someone’s health.’
Ms Murphy is described as Caucasian, about 173cm tall, with a slim build and shoulder-length blonde hair.
Anyone who sees her has been urged to contact police immediately.