A treasured family photograph has revealed how Samantha Murphy had long carried her phone in the distinct wallet case that it was still in when it was found in a muddy dam last month.

Seated beside husband Mick, the mother of three is seen clutching onto it during what is believed to have been her last family holiday abroad. 

The image showed Ms Murphy’s wallet stuffed with so many identification cards, credit cards, store cards and reward cards she couldn’t even clip it shut.

On May 29, police found what appeared to be a near identical match for the very same phone which Ms Murphy was pictured with during her holiday to Bali. 

The phone was retrieved on the muddy banks of a dam positioned along the Buninyong-Mount Mercer Road in the same region the phone last connected to a mobile phone tower before it went dark. 

An image of the device pulled from the scene showed what appeared to be an Apple iPhone contained in a wallet stuffed with identification cards. 

The dam sits about 15km from Ballarat East where Ms Murphy took off on her last run on February 4.

Samantha Murphy clutches onto her phone in its distinctive case during a trip to Bali in 2017

Samantha Murphy clutches onto her phone in its distinctive case during a trip to Bali in 2017

Samantha Murphy's phone

The phone pulled from a dam

Samantha Murphy owned a phone and wallet (left) which appears identical to the one pulled from a dam last month

Aerial footage from the scene showed police officers hugging, backslapping and shaking hands as they examined the phone.

On Friday, Victoria Police refused to provide Daily Mail Australia with any further information on the find, including whether or not it indeed was Ms Murphy’s phone. 

Mick Murphy claimed he instantly recognised his wife’s phone upon seeing the dramatic television footage. 

His wife had long used such a wallet to protect her phone and hold her various credit and identity cards. 

Ms Murphy had enjoyed a holiday to Bali in 2017 with her husband and three children. 

The hunt for clues in the Samantha Murphy case continues 

A police officer grabs a phone that appears to be a near identical match for that used by Samantha Murphy

A police officer grabs a phone that appears to be a near identical match for that used by Samantha Murphy 

The dam where police found the muddy phone

The dam where police found the muddy phone 

Touching photographs of what is believed to be her final overseas adventure were revealed by Daily Mail Australia in March. 

Dozens of images depict what appeared to be an enjoyable trip, with Ms Murphy and her family travelling to many of the island’s iconic sites.

Their guide into Ubud’s famous monkey forest, Pete Mahendra, told Daily Mail Australia he remembered Ms Murphy and her family fondly.

Mr Mahendra said the Murphys appeared happy and at ease during their time with him.

‘Hopefully the authorities will be given clues to find her. I hope the news is not true. I hope she is still alive and well. God bless her,’ he said.

Little did the guide know then that an image he snapped of Ms Murphy then would capture the distinct phone wallet police would discover years later. 

It’s understood detectives believe the discovery of the phone could be the key breakthrough they’ve been needing in the long-running search for Ms Murphy’s body. 

The phone is believed to have been submerged in the dam since February 4 – the very day police allege Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, murdered Ms Murphy while she was out on a Sunday jog.

Daily Mail Australia was told Missing Persons Unit detectives had been suspicious of the dam soon after taking charge of the investigation, questioning its owner just weeks later.

Police would not return until early May when they asked the owner again if he would mind police entering his property.

Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, has been charged with murder over the disappearance of Ballarat mum Samantha Murphy

Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, has been charged with murder over the disappearance of Ballarat mum Samantha Murphy

The Murphy clan enjoyed a trip to Bali in late 2017

The Murphy clan enjoyed a trip to Bali in late 2017

Samantha Murphy during her final visit to Bali. Her body is yet to be located

Samantha Murphy during her final visit to Bali. Her body is yet to be located 

Forensic tests are ongoing on the phone as police work to obtain data from it in a bid to receive further clues. 

Reports indicate the phone was found to be in a near-perfect working condition. 

Cybersecurity expert Nigel Phair told 9News last week the phone was a ‘game changer’ for the investigation.

‘The physical properties of the phone will obviously be damaged but what’s behind it, those ones and zeros of data, will be retrievable,’ he said.

It is understood Stephenson, who was arrested five weeks after Ms Murphy was allegedly murdered, has not told police where her body is located.

He is due to appear for a preliminary hearing at the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court in August.

Stephenson is the son of former AFL Richmond and Geelong AFL player, Orren Stephenson and is not known to the Murphy family.

Melbourne-based lawyer Paul Galbally from Galbally & O’Bryan, one of Australia’s top criminal lawyers, has reportedly been hired by Stephenson to head his defence case.

Anyone with information on the Murphy case has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Teacher Rachel King’s murder solved, details horrific: DA

Zakkee Steven Alhakim, Rachel King, Julie Jean (Image of King via Facebook;…

Man apprehended while trying to break into Drake’s Toronto home on day after shooting

Just one day after a security guard working at rapper Drake’s Toronto…

College Athletes Are ‘Employees,’ Have Union Rights

College Athletes Are ‘Employees,’ Have Union Rights – The National Labor Relations…

Ex-Olympian Scott Miller granted parole after three years behind bars

Former Olympian Scott Miller, who played a central role in a drug…