Ballarat missing woman Samantha Murphy’s family break their silence over her disappearance and address ‘malicious’ rumours about her husband – as desperate search enters fifth day

The family of Samantha Murphy have hit back at cruel trolls who are waging a whispering campaign against her husband after she disappeared last Sunday morning.

Ms Murphy, 51, vanished while out for a 7.30am jog in the Woowookarung Regional Park beauty spot near Ballarat, Victoria.

Now her family have hit out at those who are falsely trying to implicate husband Michael, as the search for the beloved mum-of-three enters its fifth day.

“For those who are questioning Samantha’s husband, there is no need to worry,” the family said in a statement released to the Facebook group set up to help with the hunt.

“He’s in more pain than anyone and would be the last person to suspect in any of this.”

The family of Samantha Murphy (pictured) hit back at cruel trolls who are waging a whispering campaign against her husband after she disappeared last Sunday morning

The family of Samantha Murphy (pictured) hit back at cruel trolls who are waging a whispering campaign against her husband after she disappeared last Sunday morning

Ms Murphy's family have hit out at those implicating her husband Michael (at the scene on Wednesday) as the search for the mum-of-three continues into its fifth day.

Ms Murphy’s family have hit out at those implicating her husband Michael (at the scene on Wednesday) as the search for the mum-of-three continues into its fifth day.

Michael Murphy, the husband of missing mother Samantha Murphy, drove to the crime scene in Ballarat East at around 1.45pm on Wednesday.

Michael Murphy, the husband of missing mother Samantha Murphy, drove to the crime scene in Ballarat East at around 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 about other claims circulating online.

“I have seen some misinformation being spread across all platforms that I want to inform people about,” the statement added.

‘Samantha’s phone pinging so far from home is not normal.

“Yes, she walked in different directions, but she kept to the paths, never walked more than 10 km in total and let family know when she walked further.”

And they stressed that Ms Walker knew the area and the local conditions and was physically fit enough to handle them.

“She is a very experienced hiker who is in incredible condition,” the statement said. “Some of the routes she’s done around Victoria are not for the faint of heart.”

The statement, said to be from an unnamed family member, also revealed their pain as the search continues and their gratitude to local residents for rallying to help.

“We want to thank everyone for the overwhelming support of this amazing community,” it said. ‘It brings tears of hope and joy to our hearts.

‘We keep as strong as we can emotionally and physically. We pray that Samantha will come home safe and sound soon. We all miss her very much.

‘The search that everyone did made a positive difference to the investigation as a whole. Without you, we are easily a few days back.’

The family said they were doing everything they could to help police in the search, but said they now knew as much as the media.

“We have been working with authorities to provide any information and have/have tried all techniques to locate her that are currently possible,” the statement said.

“We don’t know much more information than what is said in articles and news.”

Samantha Murphy, 51 (pictured) disappeared while jogging at 7.30am in the Woowookarung Regional Park beauty spot near Ballarat, Victoria

Samantha Murphy, 51 (pictured) disappeared while jogging at 7.30am 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, and has not been seen since.

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, and has not been seen since.

Police investigating the disappearance of missing mother Samantha Murphy found an item of interest in bushveld on Wednesday, but it was later found to be unrelated to the disappearance

Police investigating the disappearance of missing mother Samantha Murphy found an item of interest in bushveld on Wednesday, but it was later found to be unrelated to the disappearance

The family statement was published on the Find Samantha Murphy Facebook group set up by Ballarat local Cindy Hobbs.

Vouching for the authenticity of the family statement, she added: ‘Obviously they are devastated. Everyone is just as desperate to bring her home.’

Ms Hobbs told Nine’s Today program on Thursday that even though she Having never met Murphy, she wants to do everything she can to try and find her safe and sound.

“There is a mother out there who is lost and there is a family who is desperate to bring her home,” she said.

‘She has so much love behind her. It’s hard to imagine someone not wanting to find hr and bring her home.

“She is part of our community and we don’t want anyone out there alone, especially when there are children who are looking forward to her safe return.”

Some local residents expressed fear that her running path may have taken her past several hard-to-see mine shafts.

Volunteers were seen looking under bushes and inspecting scrubland directly outside the Murphy home.

Across the road, officers were seen questioning a neighbor before searching the back of his property.

Search crews were also observed conducting similar line searches along nearby Eureka Road.

Ms Murphy, 51, set out on a run through the Canadian National Forest, an area her husband Michael claimed she was very familiar with, but never returned.

Mr. Murphy, who owns and operates a wholesale repair business with his missing wife, has remained mostly tight-lipped since Ms Murphy went missing.

USA Online Post Australia has been told that media who approached his business on Tuesday received an icy reception.

“It’s just up in the air, we don’t know,” Mr Murphy said on Tuesday.

“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

A police car sat in the driveway of Ms Murphy’s home on Wednesday morning

The police are questioning one of Ms Murphy's neighbors on Wednesday

The police are questioning one of Ms Murphy’s neighbors on Wednesday

On Wednesday, a concerned neighbor told USA Online Post Australia Ms Murphy’s disappearance had shocked the community.

‘It’s just such a worry because you just don’t know what happened. Is there anyone out there? We just don’t know,” she said.

Some locals are already starting to come up with a range of theories about what happened, with some concerned about ‘suspicious’ characters living in the region.

A large-scale search was involved the Search and Rescue team, local police, over 100 specialized officers from the dog squad, mounted branch, solo unit and air wing.

SES teams and teams from Forest Fire Management Australia and Parks Victoria also joined the search.

The Ballarat community rallied, with a growing number of residents and Ms Murphy’s friends joining the search.

On the morning Ms Murphy disappeared, she was caught on her own CCTV wearing a brown singlet and black half-length leggings.

Acting Inspector Lisa MacDougall said on Tuesday that Ms Murphy’s mobile phone beeped in Buninyong, but that ‘inquiries are ongoing as to whether (the phone) is still on’.

“Obviously phones can run out of battery, but that’s 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

Ms. Murphy is an administrator at Inland Motor Body Works, which she owns with her husband

“The search area is not completely remote, we’re on the outskirts of Ballarat, and it’s not that far from urban areas either,” said Insp. MacDougall said.

Temperatures rose to a scorching 36°C on Sunday and it is 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 increases the urgency of the search for us, and of course we are responsible for the fact that it will have an impact on someone’s health.’

Ms Murphy is described as Caucasian, approximately 173cm tall, with a slim build and shoulder length blonde hair.

Anyone who sees her is urged to contact the police immediately.