The husband of missing mum-of-three Samantha Murphy has been spotted speaking with police officers on Friday morning.
Ms Murphy, 51, left her home on Eureka Street in East Ballarat, north-west of Melbourne, to go for a run in Woowookarung Regional Park just after 7am on Sunday.
No trace of her has been found since, and it’s understood homicide detectives have been called in to help with the search as it enters its sixth day.
Mr Murphy smiled after meeting with detectives at Buninyong Police Station on Friday.
Michael Murphy, the husband of missing mum Samantha Murphy has been pictured leaving Buninyong Police Station
He spent just an hour inside the station before leaving with an officer, who escorted him to his car
He spent just an hour inside the station before leaving with an officer, who escorted him to his car.
Mr Murphy appeared casual as a waiting media pack photographed him.
The station is being used by emergency services units as the headquarters for its ongoing search for Ms Murphy.
Victoria Police Inspector Bob Heaney said detectives were relying on information coming from the public to help track down Ms Murphy’s whereabouts.
Samantha Murphy, 51, left her home on Eureka Street in East Ballarat, north-west of Melbourne , to go for a run in Woowookarung Regional Park just after 7am on Sunday
‘You know, one of the challenges we have is the area where she normally runs, it’s a fairly remote area,’ he told Sunrise on Friday morning.
‘It’s within a forest and a lot of bushland and there is no CCTV coverage out there. That’s been one of the challenges we’ve had to face.’
Desperation grows as search enters sixth day
One line of inquiry was officially ruled out on Thursday after police confirmed a woman pictured in CCTV was not Ms Murphy, as previously stated.
Victoria Police had released CCTV footage on Wednesday which showed a person heading in a north-easterly direction toward Yankee Flat Road, near the intersection of Warrenheip Road.
The woman was believed to have been Ms Murphy heading out for a 20km run through the state forest.
Police and SES are seen combing through the Woowookarang National Park
However, another runner came forward to reveal she was the person pictured.
Inspector Heaney said the discovery had ‘eliminated’ a possible route Ms Murphy may have taken after she left home.
He added police were still treating her disappearance as not suspicious, despite homicide detectives from the missing persons squad reportedly joining the search on Friday.
‘Apart from covering a lot of terrain, a lot of area that we’ve physically searched looking for Samantha, we don’t know a hell of a lot more,’ he said.
‘A lot of the information has come in (from the public) which we need to filter through which then allows us to review that and focus on where we need to search next.’
The search for Ms Murphy has now entered its sixth day
CCTV of a woman believed to be Ms Murphy was later found to be another resident in the area
Inspector Heaney confirmed Ms Murphy was wearing an Apple watch and had her phone with her at the time she vanished, but said the area police were able to track from her devices was ‘limited’.
Her mobile phone had pinged in the nearby suburb Buninyong and inquiries are ongoing as to whether the phone is still on.
In another setback on Wednesday, officers were alerted to ‘items’ possibly related to Ms Murphy’s disappearance, however, it was later determined they did not belong to the missing mother.
Locals in the area have also raised concerns the mother may have fallen in an abandoned mine shaft, which can be difficult to see on the forest floor.
Distraught daughter calls for help to bring her mother home
Earlier on Thursday, Ms Murphy’s eldest daughter Jessica and husband Michael, issued a desperate plea for their loved one to return home.
Through tears, Jessica urged the public to continue searching for her mum.
‘Mum, we love you so much and we miss you and we need you at home with us, please come home soon, I can’t wait to see you,’ Jessica told reporters.
‘Mum’s a really strong woman, and she’s far too determined to give up this fight.’
Jessica’s father thanked the community for their support in recent days as he appealed for answers.
‘People just don’t vanish into thin air,’ Mr Murphy said.
‘Someone has got to know something … whether it be any little thing that you might think is relevant, just call the police, let them know.
‘It’ll give us a bit of peace of mind if we get some hope.’
Earlier on Thursday, Ms Murphy’s eldest daughter Jessica and husband Michael, issued a desperate plea for their loved one to return home