A woman has been missing overnight after going for a run in a forest during Victoria’s heatwave.
Samantha Murphy, 51, was last seen leaving her home on Eureka St in Ballarat East to go for a 20km run at about 7am on Sunday.
It’s believed she was planning to run in the nearby Canadian State Forest.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
A CCTV image shows Murphy leaving the home wearing black half-length leggings and a brown singlet.
Police were notified on Sunday after Murphy failed to return home, and an extensive search was launched with the help of the SES, Search and Rescue teams and the mounted branch.
Protesters target police with paint bombs at Melbourne’s Midsumma Pride March
Multiple people injured after wave knocks them onto rocks in Melbourne
Acting inspector Lisa MacDougall said police have established a search area near Murphy’s home and also just outside the suburb of Buninyong, about 14km from where she was last seen.
MacDougall said Buninyong was an area of interest due to data received from Murphy’s phone, which she was carrying at the time.
She confirmed the phone had pinged, but that “inquires are ongoing as to whether (the phone) is still on”.
“Obviously, phones can run out of battery, but that forms part of the investigation,” MacDougall said.
Samantha was least seen wearing black half-length leggings and a brown singlet. Credit: Victoria Police
The mother-of-three usually goes out for a run every day, MacDougall said, and is very familiar with the Canadian State Forest and surrounding areas.
While she typically runs in the forest, MacDougall said certain lines of inquiries have led police to look into different possibilities.
“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,” MacDougall said.
An extensive search with multiple agencies has been launched. Credit: 7NEWSThe search effort will continue until at least Monday night. Credit: 7NEWS
It’s unclear whether Murphy had food or water on her at the time, with Sunday’s extreme temperatures a worry for police.
“Obviously, yesterday was a hot day … there (is) obviously increased risk there because of the heat,” MacDougall said.
“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.”
Murphy’s disappearance is very out of character, MacDougall said, with the woman’s family “very upset and concerned” about the situation.
Police will search until nightfall and will then reassess the safety of continuing.
Samantha is described as Caucasian, about 173cm tall, of slim build with shoulder-length blonde hair.
Anyone who sees the 51-year-old is urged to contact police immediately.