The family of missing mum Samantha Murphy have been dealt another cruel blow with the disappearance of her beloved dog Ruby.
The three-year-old Vizsla breed is believed to have escaped from the family home – just off Eureka Street in East Ballarat, north-west of Melbourne – sometime on Thursday.
It is the same property Ms Murphy vanished from on February 4 after a planned a run in Woowookarung Regional Park.
A friend of the family, who asked not to be named, told Daily Mail Australia that Ruby had managed to escape the family home with the family’s other dog, which later returned to the property.
‘It’s just heartbreaking. Samantha loved that dog. It was her baby,’ the source said.
‘She would be out-of-her-mind if she knew Ruby was out there lost and alone in the bush.’
The family of missing mum Samantha Murphy have been dealt another cruel blow with the disappearance of her beloved dog Ruby (pictured)
A friend of Samantha Murphy’s (pictured) family told Daily Mail Australia that Ruby had managed to escape the family home with the family’s other dog, which later returned to the property. ‘It’s just heartbreaking. Samantha loved that dog. It was her baby,’ the source said
Ms Murphy had taken to social media in 2021 calling for assistance to find Ruby after the then 10-week old puppy escaped the family’s previous home in nearby Navigators.
The photo showed the cheeky puppy nestled on Ms Murphy’s bed.
Ms Murphy made no secret of her affection for the big-eared pup, providing constant updates on the search at the time.
‘Thank you everyone. Nothing yet but crossing everything,’ she wrote at the time.
Ms Murphy could hardly contain her joy when Ruby was found safe and well.
‘And Ruby has just returned. Filthy and frozen and in need of lots of cuddles!!,’ she posted to Facebook at the time.
‘Very happy family. One tired little dog with her belly now full having a big sleep.’
In an ironic twist, the last image of Ms Murphy shared with the public by Victoria Police appears to show her disposing of Ruby’s droppings.
‘She loved that dog like family,’ the source said. ‘We reckon Ruby is probably out there searching for her.’
Daily Mail Australia contacted Ms Murphy’s husband Mick Murphy for comment on Tuesday, but did not receive a response.
Police sources have told Daily Mail Australia Ruby had not been with Ms Murphy when she herself went missing.
Ms Murphy had taken to social media in 2021 calling for assistance to find Ruby after the then 10-week old puppy escaped her family’s previous home in nearby Navigators
In an ironic twist, the last image of Ms Murphy shared with the public by Victoria Police appears to show her disposing of Ruby’s droppings
On Friday, Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt told reporters detectives would now look into Ms Murphy’s movements and interactions with others in the days before she vanished.
‘Absolutely, that will be a huge part of our investigation. Digging into the background, working out Samantha’s movements in the days leading up to her disappearance and also double-so the people who know her,’ he said.
Part of the investigation – now dubbed Operation Primus – will see detectives trawl through Ms Murphy’s computers and devices in the hope of finding clues.
Superintendent Hatt said police were still working to ascertain who may have been in the area where Ms Murphy’s phone lost communication with mobile phone towers.
Her mobile phone had pinged in the nearby suburb of Buninyong before going dark.
Detectives still remain puzzled about where Ms Murphy went upon leaving her home.
CCTV footage showing Ms Murphy outside her home was the last confirmed sighting of her alive.
A smiling Mick Murphy is pictured with police last Friday – the day after his wife Samantha’s dog Ruby went missing
Ruby is believed to have escaped the Murphy home (pictured) sometime on Thursday night or Friday morning
It is understood the cameras caught Ms Murphy walking down the driveway on her run before she vanished without trace.
Family remembers reported her missing after she failed to arrive for a brunch scheduled for that morning.
Ms Murphy’s eldest daughter Jessica and her father issued a desperate plea for their loved one to return home that same day.
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 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.’
Anyone with information on Ms Murphy’s disappearance should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.