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New development in Samantha Murphy murder case

<p>In a significant turn of events, Patrick Stephenson, the man charged with the murder of Samantha Murphy, has secured high-profile legal representation. Samantha Murphy, a beloved mother of three, disappeared after going for a run on Sunday, February 4. Despite extensive searches near her home in Ballarat, her body has not been found.</p> <p>Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, was charged with the 51-year-old’s murder in March. He has now enlisted the services of renowned solicitor Paul Galbally from Melbourne law firm Galbally O’Bryan.</p> <p>Galbally is recognised for his expertise in handling some of the country’s largest and most intricate criminal cases, with previous clients including the late Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who was initially convicted but later acquitted of historic child sex charges.</p> <p>In a major breakthrough in the investigation, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/major-update-in-search-for-samantha-murphy-s-body" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police discovered Samantha Murphy’s missing phone</a> last Wednesday. The phone, found in a dam about 19km south of the Murphy family home, is in near-perfect condition despite being submerged in mud. Forensic testing on the phone is ongoing and could provide crucial information about her final movements.</p> <p>Samantha's husband, Mick, confirmed the phone belonged to his wife immediately upon being informed by the police. The recovery of the phone was a moment of subdued celebration for the officers, with footage from the ABC showing them hugging and shaking hands at the discovery site.</p> <p>Cybersecurity expert Nigel Phair called the phone’s recovery a “game changer” for the investigation. “The physical properties of the phone will obviously be damaged," he said. "But what’s behind it, those ones and zeros of data, will be retrievable.” </p> <p>Samantha Murphy was last seen leaving her Eureka Street home in Ballarat at around 7 am for a 14km run through the Woowookarung Regional Park. Police believe she reached the Mount Clear area, adjacent to the park, about an hour after leaving home. Subsequent searches by police and volunteers have yet to locate any trace of her.</p> <p>In February, a large group of volunteers gathered at Ballarat’s Eureka Stockade Memorial Park to search the surrounding bushland, using metal detectors and even a sniffer dog. Later, police conducted a targeted search of Buninyong Bushland Reserve, employing specialist units including mounted officers, the dog squad and motorcyclists. This search was driven by intelligence from multiple sources.</p> <p>Patrick Stephenson, who has not yet entered a plea, is scheduled to appear at Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on August 8, facing charges of Samantha Murphy’s murder. The case continues to unfold as investigators hope the data recovered from Samantha's phone will provide new leads and bring them closer to solving this tragic mystery.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied / Facebook</em></p>

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Former detective shares new theory on Samantha Murphy's murder

<p>After several weeks of no leads, police were happy to share their breakthrough on the case of Samantha Murphy's murder after they located her mobile phone. </p> <p>During a "<a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/major-update-in-search-for-samantha-murphy-s-body" target="_blank" rel="noopener">targeted search</a>", officers found Ms Murphy's iPhone on the bank of a dam, in what is one of the most significant developments in the case as police continue to search for Ms Murphy’s missing body.</p> <p>However, retired detective Charlie Bezzina has urged police and members of the public that just because the phone has been located, it could still be some time until Ms Murphy's body is found. </p> <p>Bezzina suggested that the phone had been planted in the dam and then concealed Ms Murphy’s body elsewhere in a bid to mislead police.</p> <p>Mr Bezzina, a veteran cop with decades of experience, said he found it perplexing that police could locate the submerged phone without prior intelligence. </p> <p>He speculated that authorities might have had some degree of tracking information while the phone was still active, hinting that the police may know more than they’re disclosing.</p> <p>Mr Bezzina went on to suspect that someone may have been in possession of Ms Murphy's phone for some time before discarding it. </p> <p>“With phones it’s amazing. There’s a lot the carrier, or carriers, don’t tell us about the capabilities of a phone,” Mr Bezzina said via Herald Sun.</p> <p>“When you’ve got a phone that’s off, people ask the question, ‘is it still transmitting’, and ‘if the battery goes flat does it still transmit?’ Some do and some don’t.”</p> <p>Mr Bezzina said it’s not uncommon for offenders to keep items for a while before discarding them, particularly mobile phones. </p> <p>“We don’t know when that phone was dumped in there, it is not unusual for offenders to keep items for a while, especially mobile phones … for all we know that might have been discarded just weeks ago,” he said.</p> <p>“Often offenders go back and do things, keep the phone somewhere or with them, and then dump it later on."</p> <p>“And that’s where they’ll get any evidence, if it’s been pinging … people can think ‘I’ll drive 10 or 15 kilometres away and I’ll dump the phone there to really put them off the scent, if the phone is in some way traceable’ … so not unusual at all for it to be dumped in a separate location (to the body).”</p> <p>Ms Murphy was last seen on February 4th, and although 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson has been charged with her murder, her body has yet to be found. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

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Major update in search for Samantha Murphy's body

<p>IMPORTANT UPDATE: Police have announced a significant breakthrough in the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Samantha Murphy, who went missing during her morning jog on February 4. In a renewed targeted search, “items of interest” have now been discovered, offering new hope in the case.</p> <p>Victoria Police, in a recent statement, revealed that the search area in Buninyong has been cordoned off as specialist police and detectives, with assistance from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), conducted an intensive search. Among the recovered items, one is reported to be a phone. However, police are withholding further details until testing is complete.</p> <p>“At this stage we are not providing further information about the items until that testing has been completed,” a police spokeswoman said. “The investigation remains ongoing. Further information will be provided once we are in a position to do so.”</p> <p>Samantha was last seen on the morning of February 4, leaving her home on Eureka Street in Ballarat East for a run in the Canadian State Forest. Despite extensive efforts, her body has not been found, and her disappearance remains a mystery.</p> <p>On Wednesday May 29, detectives from the Missing Persons Squad, along with a variety of specialist resources, began conducting a new, targeted search in the Ballarat area. In a statement, police paid special attention to the importance of this search to their ongoing investigation.</p> <p>"Police are undertaking a targeted search in the Ballarat area today as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Samantha Murphy," the statement read. "Police ask that members of the public do not attend the search at this time."</p> <p>The renewed search effort included the deployment of an excavator and other specialist equipment, in an obvious nod to the seriousness and intensity of the operation. </p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/05/Samantha_Murphy02_supplied.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Since Samantha's disappearance, police have been conducting regular enquiries and smaller searches. These efforts have included the involvement of mounted officers, dog squads and motorcyclists, particularly in a targeted search of the Buninyong Bushland Reserve in March. This earlier search was based on intelligence from multiple sources, according to a police spokesperson.</p> <p>Samantha's family has been kept informed about the ongoing searches. The emotional toll on them has been immense, with the community also expressing widespread concern and support.</p> <p>The investigation took a significant turn when <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Patrick Stephenson</a>, the son of former AFL player Orren Stephenson, was charged with Ms. Murphy’s murder. Police believe he acted alone in what they have described as a deliberate attack. "He has been charged with murder so, by definition, we are saying this was a deliberate attack on Samantha," Chief Commissioner Shane Patton stated in March.</p> <p>The details surrounding Samantha's disappearance have been particularly harrowing. She was reported to have left her home around 7am for a 14-kilometre run through the Woowookarung Regional Park, and police believe she reached the Mount Clear area approximately an hour later. Since then, she has neither been seen nor heard from.</p> <p>As the renewed search progresses, the hope remains that it will yield new information or evidence to bring closure to Samantha family and the Ballarat community. The commitment of the police and specialist teams to this investigation is a true testament to the importance of finding answers and achieving justice for Samantha Murphy.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied</em></p>

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Samantha Murphy's alleged killer faces fresh new charges

<p>The man accused of murdering Samantha Murphy has been hit with fresh charges over a drug and alcohol-fuelled bender.</p> <p>Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, who has been charged with murdering Ms Murphy, has been slapped with several drink and drug driving charges after he allegedly crashed a motorbike into a tree on the night of October 1st. </p> <p>He has also been also charged with careless driving.</p> <p>A former friend of Stephenson told the <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/accused-samantha-murphy-killer-patrick-stephenson-charged-with-driving-offences/news-story/1ce6e68acdb7575b876f9e7f9100f285" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Herald Sun</em></a> the crash occurred following an AFL Grand Final gathering that kicked off in the afternoon and ran late into the night.</p> <p>Stephenson was first arrested in connection with the Ballarat mother's disappearance on March 7th, weeks after the 51-year-old was last seen alive. </p> <p>Samantha Murphy was last seen by her loved ones on the morning of February 4th when she went to go on her daily morning run in the Canadian State Forest. </p> <p>Stephenson has been charged with one count of murder, and is said to not be cooperating with police in efforts to find her body. </p> <p>The new charges come after police have continued their gruelling search for Ms Murphy, three months after she went missing. </p> <p>Despite numerous searches, Victoria Police detectives appear no closer to finding  her body despite having her alleged killer in custody. </p> <p>A Victoria Police spokesperson told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/melbourne/article-13374863/Alleged-killer-Samantha-Murphy-fresh-charges-Victoria.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> this week that the investigation remained "very much active and ongoing". </p> <p>"We are continuing to do all we can to locate her," the spokesperson said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine </em></p>

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New search commences for Samantha Murphy’s body

<p dir="ltr">A new search for the body of Samantha Murphy is set to take place on Thursday in the dense bushland in Victoria. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Ballarat mother, 51, went missing without a trace in February when she left home for her morning run and never returned. </p> <p dir="ltr">Since various sources came forward with fresh intelligence, authorities will lead a search through bushland in the Enfield State Park area, about 25km from Ballarat where she was last seen. </p> <p dir="ltr">"The search will focus on an area highlighted by intelligence derived from a number of sources," Victoria Police said in a statement on Thursday.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Since Samantha's disappearance over two months ago, a range of searches and other enquiries have been undertaken in the Ballarat area as part of this investigation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"This includes extensive large-scale searches such as we have planned this week, but also smaller targeted searches focused in very specific areas.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"I want to assure those in the Ballarat community that police remain focused on doing everything we can to return Samantha to her family."</p> <p dir="ltr">Police have urged members of the public not to join in the search, but assured concerned locals they will share updates on the search as they see fit. </p> <p dir="ltr">In March, 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson was charged with Murphy’s murder, as police allege he killed Murphy while she was on a run through the Canadian State Forest, but have not publicly identified any further details of their case.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

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Samantha Murphy’s heartbroken family mark first birthday without her

<p>In a heart-wrenching saga that has gripped the community of Ballarat and beyond, the disappearance of Samantha Murphy continues to haunt her husband, Michael Murphy, and all those who knew her.</p> <p>Two months have passed since Samantha vanished without a trace, leaving behind a void that cannot be filled. As the days stretch into weeks and the weeks into months, Michael clings to hope, fervently believing that one day Samantha's body will be found, bringing closure to this harrowing ordeal.</p> <p><a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/michael-murphy-i-need-to-be-strong-myself-and-look-after-everyone-around-me/news-story/f653bc98fcca22a81eac34c270a7d8bd" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Speaking to the Herald Sun</a>, Michael expressed the pain of his daily reality, where the absence of Samantha looms large. Despite his grief, he strives to maintain a semblance of optimism, eagerly awaiting any glimmer of positive news from the ongoing police investigation. Yet, as time wears on and the investigation inches forward, the anguish only deepens.</p> <p>The arrest and charging of <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">22-year-old Patrick Stephenson</a> with Samantha's murder provided a brief moment of reckoning. However, since then, the progress has been slow, and Michael understands that justice may elude them until Stephenson chooses to cooperate. Acknowledging the arduous nature of the legal process, Michael remains steadfast in his support for the detectives tirelessly working on Samantha's case.</p> <p>August 8 looms on the horizon as the date when Stephenson is slated to appear before the Ballarat Magistrates' Court. For Michael and the Murphy family, it's a pivotal moment in their quest for justice, a step towards closure in a saga fraught with uncertainty.</p> <p>For Michael, the passing of milestones like Samantha's birthday – she would have turned 52 on Saturday – serves as a stark reminder of her absence. The pain of marking such occasions without her presence is a burden he carries with stoicism, determined to navigate life's challenges for the sake of his family. </p> <p>“It’s the first things," Michael told the <em>Herald Sun</em>. "The first birthday without Sam … any anniversaries without Sam. That’s a hard thing but we’ve gotta face reality and realise she’s just not coming back ... I need to be strong myself and look after everyone around me.” </p> <p>The timeline of events leading to Samantha's disappearance remains etched in the minds of those who knew her. Two months ago, she was captured on CCTV, embarking on her routine morning run around Woowookarung Regional Park. Little did anyone know that it would be the last sighting of her, plunging her loved ones into a nightmare from which they are yet to awaken.</p> <p>The community's response to Samantha's disappearance has been one of unwavering solidarity. During the initial days, emergency services and local volunteers mobilised in a coordinated effort to search for any trace of her. Their commitment to finding Samantha has not waned, as evidenced by ongoing searches organised by community groups like the Ground Crew.</p> <p>While the road ahead may be fraught with challenges, the community's commitment to finding Samantha remains resolute. As they continue their search for answers, they do so with the unwavering belief that Samantha Murphy will not be forgotten, and that one day, her family will find the closure they so desperately seek.</p> <p><em>Images: Nine</em></p>

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"It's very serious": Australian Idol star's devastating diagnosis

<p>The news of Australian Idol alum Courtney Murphy's battle with late-stage bowel cancer has sent shockwaves through the music community, leaving many fans and supporters rallying behind the beloved musician and his family.</p> <p>Courtney, who rose to fame during the second season of <em>Australian Idol</em> in 2004, capturing hearts with his powerful vocals and captivating performances, now faces one of the toughest challenges of his life. Despite finishing third in the competition, Murphy left a lasting impression on audiences with his raw talent and genuine charisma.</p> <p>Since his time on <em>Australian Idol</em>, Murphy has remained an integral part of the Western Australian music scene, enchanting audiences with his performances and contributing his talents to various musical productions. From his memorable role in the Queen musical <em>We Will Rock You</em> to his collaborations with his brothers in bands like Murphy's Lore and The Murphy Brothers, Courtney has left an indelible mark on the music landscape.</p> <p>However, the news of his cancer diagnosis has cast a shadow over his musical career. At 44 years old and with a loving wife and three children, Murphy now faces a daunting battle against the disease. His family has confirmed the severity of his condition In a heartfelt statement shared on a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/courtney-murphy-and-his-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe page</a>.</p> <p>Set up to support Murphy and his family, his brothers Kieran and Chris express the gravity of the situation:</p> <p>"Our beautiful brother Courtney Murphy is in for the fight of his life. It is with heavy hearts that we share Court has been diagnosed with advanced stage bowel cancer. It's very serious.</p> <p>"As a self-employed musician with a wife and three young children, Courtney will not be able to work for the foreseeable future which leaves his young family fighting much harder than we want them to be.</p> <p>"Anyone who knows Courtney knows that his heart is as a big as his voice and we've set up this GoFundMe page in the hope that we can ease some of the burden on his young family. Any funds generated will go directly to Courtney Murphy, his wife Jane and children as they navigate the difficult road ahead."</p> <p>Tragically, the Murphy family has already endured the loss of their father to a brain tumour just 12 weeks prior to Courtney's diagnosis, compounding the emotional strain they are experiencing. As they navigate this tumultuous journey, they are met with an outpouring of support from fans, friends and well-wishers.</p> <p>From heartfelt reminiscences of past performances to expressions of unwavering support, the response from the community has been overwhelming. As he embarks on the fight of his life, Courtney Murphy is not alone; he is buoyed by the love and solidarity of those who have been touched by his talent and spirit.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram | GoFundMe</em></p>

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Inside the alleged hide out of Samantha Murphy's accused killer

<p>The Scotsburn property where Samantha Murphy's <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">accused killer</a> allegedly hid in is up for sale with a $1million-plus price tag. </p> <p>Patrick Orren Stephenson was staying at the property when he arrested on March 6, after police stormed in with a search warrant. </p> <p>The 5.46 hectare property is located about 18km away from central Ballarat, where Stephenson was believed to have been partying the night before he was accused of murdering Murphy. </p> <p>Stephenson is believed to have been living between this property and another one located less than 100m away on Yendon No 2 Road with his girlfriend prior to his arrest. </p> <p><em>The Daily Mail </em>reported that a for sale sign was recently spotted at the property, which has four bedrooms and is advertised as featuring "a renovated galley-style kitchen, a generous lounge room with plenty of natural light, two living areas including a family/rumpus room for shared moments."</p> <p>"A school bus passing the front door adds to the convenience for families," the ad read. </p> <p>The property is also described as practically off-grid, with solar power and an underground bore water supply. </p> <p>It remains unknown how long Stephenson had lived at the home. </p> <p><em>Images: McGrath Ballarat/ InsideLook- Real Estate Media</em></p>

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Detection dogs to lead search for Samantha Murphy's body

<p>Detectives have launched a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-update-in-search-for-samantha-murphy-s-body" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fresh search</a> for Samantha Murphy's body, but after spending eight hours on Wednesday trying to locate her remains in Buninyong to no avail, they are trying a different approach. </p> <p>Technology detection dogs will assist detectives in their search on Thursday, at a new site that police have not specified, with the intention of trying to track her phone or watch. </p> <p>“We’ll be going to a different location but we will also use assistance from the Australian Federal Police today in technical detection dogs,” Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told <em>ABC Radio</em>. </p> <p>“We don’t have the capacity — we are trying to get that capability — to run a dog that can detect a SIM from a mobile phone and that type of thing.</p> <p>“We still haven’t recovered her phone and her watch. We’ll use all those specialist skills.”</p> <p>He also added that the "intelligence" they received, which sparked this fresh search did not come from interviews with accused murderer, Patrick Orren Stephenson. </p> <p>“We are doing everything we can to try and find Samantha Murphy’s body. We weren’t successful yesterday but we will continue to do everything we can,” Chief Commissioner Patton said. </p> <p>In another statement, Victoria police also said that the search on Thursday is not a "full-scale targeted search". </p> <p>"This is not a full-scale targeted search as took place yesterday in Buninyong with a range of specialist resources," they said. </p> <p>"Detectives from the Missing Persons squad have been based in Ballarat for over a month and regularly undertake a range of enquiries and small scale searches as part of the current investigation." </p> <p>The accused murderer, who is the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">son of former AFL player</a> Orren Stephenson, was arrested and charged on March 6, and was refused bail at Ballarat Magistrate’s Court.</p> <p>He will next face court on August 8.</p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p> <p> </p>

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New update in search for Samantha Murphy's body

<p>A fresh search for Samantha Murphy's body has begun, with police targeting their search in areas “highlighted by intelligence” from several sources. </p> <p>The 51-year-old Ballarat mum, was allegedly murdered by 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson, after she went missing while on a morning run near her home on February 4. </p> <p>Officers will begin their renewed search for the mum's remains on select parts of the Buninyong Bushland Reserve on Wednesday. </p> <p>The search will be conducted by specialist units including  the Missing Persons Squad, Search and Rescue Squad, Mounted Branch, Dog Squad, Public Order Response Team and motorcyclists from Road Policing Command as well as local police. </p> <p>“Since Samantha’s disappearance, extensive searches have been conducted in the Ballarat area and today we will focus on an area of bushland in Buninyong,” Detective Superintendent Mark Hatt said.</p> <p>Victoria Police said that the search would “focus on trying to locate Samantha’s body” and members of the public have been urged to not join the search efforts. </p> <p>“We will have a range of specialist resources involved, however as we are searching for Samantha’s body, we ask that members of the public do not try and join today’s search," the detective added. </p> <p>“Hopefully today’s search will benefit the investigation or provide further avenues of enquiry for police. We will also look at further searches in the Ballarat area as the investigation progresses.”</p> <p>He added that police are doing everything they can to find her body. </p> <p>“While someone has been charged in relation to Samantha’s disappearance, we remain committed to doing everything we can to locate her and return her to her family,” Detective Superintendent Hatt said. </p> <p>Patrick Orren Stephenson was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-details-emerge-in-samantha-murphy-murder-charge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">charged</a> with Murphy's murder on March 6 and was refused bail at the Ballarat Magistrate’s Court. </p> <p>Police allege that the son of former AFL player Orren Stephenson killed Murphy in a “deliberate attack”. </p> <p>His identity was initially suppressed by the court out of fears for his safety, but the order was challenged by the media, and his <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">identity</a> was revealed days later. </p> <p>He is due to face court on August 8. </p> <p><em>Image: news.com.au</em></p>

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"I've got goosebumps": Samantha Murphy honoured by touching act

<p>Samantha Murphy was last seen leaving her East Ballarat home to go for her usual morning run on February 4, a run that she never got to complete. </p> <p>Her disappearance gripped the nation for the past month, with local volunteers, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/new-development-in-search-for-samantha-murphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">specialist forces</a> and detectives all working together to try and figure out just what happened to the Ballarat mum. </p> <p>Now, Victoria Police allege that she was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-details-emerge-in-samantha-murphy-murder-charge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">murdered</a> by 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson, a tradie and the son of former AFL player Orren Stephenson, who was arrested last Wednesday. </p> <p>On Friday, Felicity Ryan put a call out on social media to see if anyone was interested in taking part in a community run to honour Murphy and complete the run she didn't get to finish. </p> <p>The post was met with overwhelming support, with Ryan telling 7NEWS: “I arrived and there was a handful of people... then the cars just started piling in."</p> <p>The group stood in silence for a minute in honour of Murphy's memory before heading off on a 7km run around Ocean Grove at 5.30am on Sunday.</p> <p>“I’ve got goosebumps talking about it now, it was the most heartfelt morning you could imagine ... there was lots of hugging ... there were lots of tears,” Ryan said.</p> <p>Ryan said that she hopes the run can become an annual event on February 4 or the long weekend. </p> <p>Detectives are currently doing everything they can to try and find Murphy's body, but Stephenson has so far refused to cooperate with police. </p> <p>He is due to return to court for a committal mention on August 8. </p> <p><em>Images: ABC News/ Victoria Police</em></p>

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Police seize suspect's car in Samantha Murphy investigation

<p>Detectives looking into Samantha Murphy's alleged murder have seized a car as part of their investigation. </p> <p>Police have reportedly been watching accused killer Patrick Stephenson for two weeks prior to his <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-details-emerge-in-samantha-murphy-murder-charge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">arrest</a> on Wednesday, according to <em>7NEWS</em>.</p> <p>They also reportedly seized Stephenson's 4WD as part of a probe into whether or not the Ballarat mum was hit by his car. </p> <p>Speaking to <em>The Herald Sun</em>, one neighbour recalled the moment police swarmed a Scotsburn home that Stephenson and his partner were reportedly house-sitting at on Wednesday morning. </p> <p>“There were all sorts of cars, they all looked like unmarked police,” the neighbour said.</p> <p>“It was about 6.30am when I went past… I put two and two together and I said to my wife: ‘I reckon something’s going on, I reckon they were police’.</p> <p>“And sure enough, later that day (the news of an arrest) was released.”</p> <p>Despite his arrest and murder charge, the 22-year-old, who is <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the son of retired AFL player Orren Stephenson</a>, is not cooperating with police as they continue to search for Murphy's body. </p> <p>Murphy's family have shared a desperate plea as they continue to search for answers. </p> <p>“We are hoping he has a bit of a change of heart and that he will co-operate. That will help bring her home,” Murphy's husband, Mick, said on Friday.</p> <p>“We’d just like some more answers now.”</p> <p>Stephenson is due to face a committal mention on August 8.</p> <p><em>Images: 7News/ Facebook</em></p>

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Everything we know about Samantha Murphy's accused killer

<p>The disappearance of Samantha Murphy, a beloved mother-of-three, sent shockwaves through the quiet community of Ballarat. As details emerged, the focus shifted towards Patrick Orren Stephenson, a young man <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-details-emerge-in-samantha-murphy-murder-charge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">accused of the crime</a>, whose life story offers a complex juxtaposition of privilege, athletic ambition and now, alleged tragedy.</p> <p>Patrick Stephenson, now 22 years old, grew up in the shadow of his father, <a href="https://www.afl.com.au/news/118551/orrens-family-affair" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Orren Stephenson</a>, a prominent figure in the world of AFL. Orren's late-life draft into the AFL introduced Patrick to the glamorous world of professional sports at a young age. Patrick, often seen tagging along with his father, had a firsthand view of the prestige and camaraderie within the football clubs, an experience many boys would envy.</p> <p>The Stephenson family, well-regarded in the Ballarat community, seemed to exude an aura of positivity. However, perceptions of Patrick were mixed among locals. While a local newspaper once featured him advocating for road safety alongside his football friends, news of his arrest painted a different picture, depicting him as a troubled teenager.</p> <p>On a fateful Thursday, Patrick Stephenson was charged with the murder of Samantha Murphy, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/please-come-home-family-s-emotional-plea-to-missing-woman" target="_blank" rel="noopener">whose disappearance</a> had gripped the community since February 4. Despite initial suppression orders, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-details-emerge-in-samantha-murphy-murder-charge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">details about the accused</a> began to surface, shedding light on his upbringing and associations.</p> <p>Patrick's childhood was steeped in football culture, mirroring his father's passion for the sport. Orren Stephenson's stint in the AFL provided the family with unique opportunities, including access to elite football circles. Patrick, enamoured with the lifestyle his father's career afforded, embraced the world of football wholeheartedly.</p> <p>Neighbours recall a seemingly happy home life for the Stephensons, with Patrick attending private schools known for their conservative values and strong sporting traditions. However, in recent years, Patrick's involvement with the local football scene had waned, signalling a potential shift in his priorities.</p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/man-arrested-in-search-for-samantha-murphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The arrest of Patrick Stephenson</a> in Scotsburn, a rural hamlet near Ballarat, left the community in disbelief. Residents, unaware of any motive or connection to the accused, expressed shock at the unfolding events.</p> <p>Despite extensive searches and appeals for information from the police, the whereabouts of Samantha Murphy's body remains unknown, adding to the sense of unease gripping the region.</p> <p>As the Ballarat community grapples with the loss of Samantha Murphy, questions linger about the events leading to her tragic demise. Patrick Stephenson's life, once intertwined with the glamour of professional football, now stands at the centre of a harrowing investigation that in many was has only just begun.</p> <p><em>Images: Redan Football Club / Supplied.</em></p>

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New details emerge in Samantha Murphy murder charge

<p>The unsettling disappearance of Ballarat mother Samantha Murphy took a grim turn as Victoria Police made a significant breakthrough in the case, now alleging that Murphy's disappearance was not a random event but a deliberate act of murder that occurred on the very day she went missing.</p> <p>Authorities apprehended a 22-year-old Scotsburn man at a residence around 6am on Wednesday, shedding light on the mysterious circumstances surrounding Murphy's vanishing. The individual, whose identity was initially protected under a suppression order, has been formally charged with one count of murder and appeared in court on Thursday.</p> <p>Just before midday on Friday, that gag order was overturned, with several media outlets <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13170739/patrick-orren-stephenson-patrick-afl-samantha-murphy-alleged-killer.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">identifying the accused</a> as Patrick Stephenson, the only son of retired AFL footballer Orren Stephenson.<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p>Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton, in a press briefing, revealed that detectives subjected Stephenson to more than 30 hours of questioning following his arrest, and reiterated that the alleged murder was not a result of a hit-and-run accident but rather a premeditated act. While declining to delve into specifics, Patton refrained from speculating on the involvement of a vehicle or drugs and alcohol.</p> <p>"I'm not going to speculate on any other details about the death other than it was deliberate," Patton said. "He's been charged with murder, so by its definition, we're saying this was a deliberate act."</p> <p>Stephenson made his court appearance amid concerns regarding his age and lack of prior custodial experience. Defence attorney Daniel Tamineka also highlighted the potential risks of self-harm faced by his client.</p> <p>One poignant detail that emerged from Patton's statements is the suspect's refusal to disclose the location of Samantha Murphy's remains. Despite facing charges, he has yet to provide crucial information to aid in locating her body, prompting police to vehemently oppose any bail requests.</p> <p>The community's collective effort to support the investigation has been commendable, with Patton urging continued cooperation to bring closure to Murphy's family.</p> <p>In an emotional statement, Murphy's husband, Mick, expressed a mix of emotions following news of the arrest. Despite the relief of progress in the case, he acknowledged the toll the past weeks have taken on him and his family. The outpouring of support from the community, however, has served as a source of strength during this trying time.</p> <p>Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt echoed sentiments of gratitude toward the community for their unwavering assistance throughout the investigation. "Our thoughts today are with Samantha's family and friends," he said. "I know that Samantha's disappearance has had a profound impact on the Ballarat community and I want to thank all of those people who have assisted police in many different ways over the past month."</p> <p>As the inquiry progresses, authorities continue to appeal for any individuals possessing relevant CCTV or dashcam footage to come forward.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied</em></p>

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Samantha Armytage lists lavish holiday home

<p>Samantha Armytage has listed her stunning holiday home in Hyams Beach for $3.2 million.</p> <p>The<em> Farmer Wants A Wife </em>host previously leased the lavish three-bedroom, two-bathroom property as a holiday rental for $1200 a night.</p> <p>Armytage bought property which sits on 658sqm of land in 2018 for $1.765 million, and she has extensively renovated the property since, which includes adding a new roof and redesigning the interiors. </p> <p>The property boasts plenty of natural light, and is just minutes away from Hyams Beach, which you can see from the balcony of the home. </p> <p>All the rooms feature plenty of natural light, with the master bedroom boasting ocean-views, which makes it perfect for families or couples looking for a holiday home. </p> <p>The home has a cottage aesthetic, with bright white walls and floorboards, that when combined with bamboo tables, woven storage baskets, and neutral-coloured furniture looks like the ideal beach retreat. </p> <p>It also features a large private backyard with an outdoor entertaining area and pergola. </p> <p>Armytage previously sold her $2.8 million Bondi home in 2020, the same year she got married to Richard Lavender. </p> <p>Her and Lavender have relocated to  the Southern Highlands and are currently living on a 40-hectare farm in Berrima, which Richard purchased in 2007 for $ 1.95 million.</p> <p><em>Images: realestate.com.au / Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

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Samantha Murphy's father breaks silence over suspect's arrest

<p>Samantha Murphy's heartbroken father has spoken out following the news of a man being arrested in connection with her disappearance. </p> <p>The 51-year-old mother from Ballarat was last seen on February 4th when she left her home for her daily morning run. </p> <p>Now, over a month since she was last seen, a 22-year-old man has been <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/man-arrested-in-search-for-samantha-murphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">arrested</a> in connection with her disappearance. </p> <p>Since the news broke of the man's arrest, Murphy's father, John 'Pud' Robson told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13166853/samantha-murphy-arrest.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> that the arrest had taken the family by surprise. </p> <p>Robson, in his 80s, shared that he and his family found out about the arrest when it was first reported by the media.</p> <p>"My wife just texted me to say that it had been on the radio," he said. "We haven't been told and evidently Michael [Samantha's husband] hasn't been told either."</p> <p>Mr Robson said he knew nothing about the individual arrested by detectives, and had yet to be contacted by investigators about the arrest. </p> <p>"We haven't heard a thing unfortunately," he said on Thursday morning. </p> <p>"All my wife said is she heard it on Triple M [radio] that they'd arrested some bloke and that no charges have been laid yet."</p> <p>Mr Robson said he had no idea of any alleged links between the 22-year-old man arrested and his daughter, saying, "I haven't got the faintest, mate. Not in that age range. I'm never home, if you know what I mean."</p> <p>Samantha's father went on to say that he remained hopeful the arrest would provide some clarity over what had happened to his daughter. </p> <p>"I can only hope that he is the bloke responsible because that way, we might get a bit of closure," he said. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Victoria Police </em></p>

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How Samantha Murphy's digital data could be a crucial clue

<p>Last Friday, Victoria Police revisited the Mount Clear area after extracting information from her mobile phone data, as they continue to investigate the Ballarat mum's disappearance. </p> <p>Now, Former Australia Federal Police officer and professor of cybersecurity, Nigel Phair believes an "anomaly" or "change in the behaviour" of Murphy's data pattern may have prompted authorities to return to the area. </p> <p>Detectives have previously said that Murphy departed her residence and ran approximately 7km through Woowookarung Regional Park with data tracking her last location as Mount Clear. </p> <p>Phair who formerly headed investigations at the Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC), said that data from her iPhone and Apple Watch is particularly important as both devices constantly log her GPS coordinates, heart rate, altitude and can even detect falls among other biometric information. </p> <p>"From the second that she walked out of her door, when out on the street, they would be able to see where she was moving and how she was moving," Phair told told Liz Hayes on Channel 9's series <em>Under Investigation</em>. </p> <p>Additionally, her iPhone can be precisely located using triangulation from nearby cell phone towers. </p> <p>Phair said that this type of data is extremely reliable and accurate, and he believes that the disturbance in this data the 7km mark, where it stopped tracking the information, reveals some form of sophistication. </p> <p>"That means someone's done something active against those two devices and you have to know what you are doing to think I'm going to completely take these out," he said. </p> <p>"It's not just turning them off, it's destroying them and then getting rid of that piece of evidence."</p> <p>He added that tampering with these devices are particularly hard, because even if they may attempt to change SIM cards, mobile phones that are still on can still be traced. </p> <p>"A device has two signifiers. It has a phone number, which you can change, call that the software signifier," he said.</p> <p>"Then it has a hardware identifier, which is the IMEI number." </p> <p>He said that police would be notified if the IMEI number was still operational. </p> <p>"Regardless if you swap SIMs or don't use a SIM at all and just use it as a Wi-Fi-only device in a Wi-Fi area, it will always broadcast that IME number onto the network," he said. </p> <p>Phair said that it is "highly likely" that police have the data on potential predators and are tracking them, as they can see whether someone else was using a device in the Mount Clear area the day Murphy disappeared. </p> <p>Former Victorian detective Damian Marrett told Hayes the he believes Murphy's disappearance is the result of foul play, as changes in her digital data could suggest it was a "targeted attack". </p> <p>He also added that if anyone else had access to her Find My iPhone app or any of her other data, they could easily track her using this information. </p> <p>"Somebody who intimately knew the tracks that she takes or had access to be able to track her runs," he said.</p> <p>"So she could have been tracked without those people having to physically surveil her."</p> <p><em>Images: Under Investigation/ Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

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Experts shed new light on Samantha Murphy case

<p>A panel of experts have shed new light on the case of missing mum Samantha Murphy. </p> <p>The mother-of-three went missing on February 4 after going for her usual morning run in a local park in Ballarat. </p> <p>Despite major search efforts from the missing persons squad, specialists and the local Ballarat community, she has still not been found, and now a panel of experts have gathered to discuss the possibilities of what could've happened to Murphy. </p> <p>Former Victorian detective Damian Marrett, criminal psychologist Dr Peter Ashkar, missing persons specialist Valentine Smith and cyber expert Nigel Phair discussed a number of different scenarios in Channel Nine's show <em>Under Investigation </em>on Wednesday night. </p> <p>“The idea that Samantha has actually wilfully left the family is just unfathomable and just implausible to me,” Dr Ashkar said. </p> <p>Presenter Liz Hayes, who spoke to mine shaft explorer Raymond Shaw said that there's a possibility Murphy's body has been buried in one of the abandoned mine shafts around Ballarat. </p> <p>“I think there could be anywhere between 4000 and 5000 gold mines just underneath the town," Shaw told Hayes. </p> <p>The panel agreed that the most likely scenario was that Murphy’s body had been dumped in a mineshaft after meeting with foul play, as they believe that there was "no way" Murphy fell down a mineshaft by accident, as the locals all know how to navigate the terrain. </p> <p>“They could be a great place to conceal a body or a crime after the fact … and you’d probably never find it,” Marrett said. </p> <p>Dr Ashkar added that the absence of any trace of Murphy could point to her having been attacked by a “psychopathic predator … who would know that area, like the back of their hand”.</p> <p>The panel also considered a potential new clue, the possible sighting of a damaged vehicle, which was alluded to in a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/major-development-in-search-for-samantha-murphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police statement </a>requesting for new information about the case. </p> <p>The experts said that if there was a damaged car in the area, it could mean that Murphy was kidnapped at the 7km point of her run and could still be alive. </p> <p>“I would still like to believe the very real possibility that it’s a kidnapping and she’s still alive,” Dr Ashkar said. </p> <p>“That’s my hope. But I absolutely feel that whoever has taken her and abducted, they are very systematic and organised and knew very well what they were doing.”</p> <p>Marrett added that the police’s interest in the damaged car was significant.</p> <p>“They didn’t just say a car, they said a damaged car, it’s so specific,” he said.</p> <p>“So was that damage caused with this incident or was that damage because someone saw a damaged car leave?”</p> <p><em>Image: Nine / Facebook</em></p>

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Major development in search for Samantha Murphy

<p>Police are moving to a different search area around 5km away from where Samantha Murphy was last seen, after receiving new information from her mobile data. They now believe that “one or more parties” were involved in her disappearance. </p> <p>The Ballarat mum was last seen leaving her home at 7am on February 4 for her usual morning run. </p> <p>On Friday, detectives from the Missing Persons Squad will lead a targeted search of the Mount Clear area, which is adjacent to the Canadian State Forest where Murphy was known to frequent, as part of their investigation.</p> <p>The search will focus on an area “highlighted by intelligence derived from phone data”.</p> <p>Despite missing for almost three weeks now, police still insist that they did not believe Murphy;'s disappearance was “sinister”, but have now confirmed that she went missing under suspicious circumstances.</p> <p>“Police are treating her disappearance as suspicious due to the length of time she has been missing and given no trace of her has been found,” police said.</p> <p>Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt said that while police are keeping an open mind about what happened to Murphy they have ruled out any type of medical incident as there was nothing to indicate that she left on her own accord. </p> <p>"We are keeping an open mind, but believe the most likely scenario is that her disappearance involves one or more parties," Detective Acting Superintendent Hatt said.</p> <p>“Since Samantha’s disappearance almost three weeks ago, a significant search and investigation has been undertaken in an effort to find her,” he added.</p> <p>“I know that a lot of people, particularly those who live in the local Ballarat community, are extremely concerned about the fact we haven’t yet located Samantha or who may be responsible for her disappearance.</p> <p>“I want to reassure those members of the public that Victoria Police is doing everything we can to find out what has happened and provide some answers to Samantha’s family and the broader community.”</p> <p>Investigators are currently reviewing about 12,000 hours of CCTV footage and following up on over 500 pieces of information. </p> <p>On Thursday, police announced that they have called in additional detectives from <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/new-development-in-search-for-samantha-murphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">specialist units</a> to help with the search.</p> <p>They are also asking residents in the Ballarat East and Mount Helen areas particularly around the Canadian Forest to check their CCTV footage for any relevant information. </p> <p>“I encourage anyone who does have information that could be relevant to this investigation — whether that’s a person or vehicle seen in the area on that day, something unusual such as a damaged vehicle or property — to please come forward and speak to police or provide the information via Crime Stoppers,” Hatt said.</p> <p>“Police remain open to any and all possibilities, so if you know something or have seen something, then we want to hear from you.”</p> <p><em>Images: 7NEWs</em></p>

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