New challenge facing Sam Murphy cops

Police may have encountered a new problem in their investigation into the suspected murder of Samantha Murphy: she was having difficulty accessing her cellphone.

During a targeted search on Wednesday, officers found the mother’s iPhone next to a dam on a property in Buninyong.

The discovery of the phone represents a major breakthrough in the case and police are likely hoping it will lead them to the mother’s body, which has still not been found.

However, family members do not know the passcode and there have been cases where manufacturers have refused to provide passcodes to police in cases in foreign jurisdictions. Herald Sunreports.

If and when police unlock Ms Murphy’s phone, they are expected to compare the data with that of other phones known to be in the immediate area.

Ms Murphy’s phone also contains tracking data transmitted from her smartwatch.

This could provide information about whether it was transported by vehicle.

Apple can unlock phones, but accessing the phone will erase the data.

“Devices locked with a passcode are protected by passcode encryption, and Apple cannot remove the passcode lock without erasing the device,” Apple’s privacy policy states.

“For security reasons, Apple requires and verifies legal documentation before we can assist with a deceased person’s account. This generally includes a death certificate, but may also require a court order or other documentation. Requirements vary by country and region.”

Ms Murphy was jogging in Ballarat East on February 4 when she disappeared.

Retired detective Charlie Bezzina has suggested that someone may have thrown the phone into the dam and then hidden Ms Murphy’s body elsewhere to mislead police.

Mr Bezzina, a veteran police officer with decades of experience, said he found it baffling that police were able to locate the submerged phone without prior reconnaissance.

He speculated that authorities may have had tracking information when the phone was still active, suggesting that police may know more than they are revealing.

The phone, which was in a wallet case with cards inside, was among several “items of interest” found near the Buninyong Dam. It was spotted by a police dog on the Buninyong-Mt Mercer Road, where police teams were carefully searching the surrounding bramble bushes with pickaxes, shovels, rakes and metal detectors.

Later that afternoon, police divers entered the dam.

Mr Bezzina suspected that someone might have kept Ms Murphy’s phone for some time before throwing it into the dam.

“With phones, it’s amazing. There’s a lot that the network operator or operators don’t tell us about the capabilities of a phone,” Mr. Bezzina said of Herald Sun“When you have a phone that’s turned off, people ask themselves, ‘Does it still transmit?’ and ‘Does it still transmit when the battery is dead?’ For some it does, for some it doesn’t.”

According to Bezzina, it is common for perpetrators to keep items, especially mobile phones, for a while and then throw them away.

“We don’t know when the phone was discarded there. It’s not unusual for offenders to keep things for a while, especially cell phones… for all we know, these could have been thrown away just a few weeks ago,” he said.

“Often the perpetrators do the same things again after the crime, leave the phone somewhere or put it away and throw it away later.”

A man is due to appear in Ballarat Local Court on August 8 to face charges of Ms Murphy’s murder.

Leave a Comment

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL