Benalla mother and daughter Judy and Isabel Stephens’ bodies have been found.
Benalla mother and daughter Judy and Isabel Stephens’ bodies have been found.

Sad end to hunt for missing mother and daughter

THE week-long search for Benalla mother and daughter Isabel and Judy Stephens has come to an end after police found two bodies in bushland 35km from where they went missing.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Natalie Webster said police located the bodies in Samaria shortly after spotting their white Toyota Yaris.

"A white Yaris was located by police near Aquila Rise, which is an extension of Exton Road, just after 4.30pm," she said.

"Two bodies were then located approximately 1km from the vehicle."

Police are yet to formally identify the deceased, but investigators believe the bodies are those of Isabel and Judy Stephens.

Ms Webster said family members of the pair were notified of the deaths at about 8pm.

"Unfortunately, it took other police units some time to reach the bushland scene in order to gain confirmation that it was the women we had been searching for," she said.

Ms Webster said detectives are not looking for anyone of interest.

"The exact circumstances of their deaths are yet to be determined; however, at this time, police do not do not believe it is suspicious," she said.

Judy, 53, who had an intellectual disability and required daily medication, was last seen at a Clarke St address on Saturday May 20 while Isabel, 89, was last seen at a Cooinda St address on Sunday May 21.

A significant search for the pair was conducted involving a number of police units, SES and other volunteers.

Earlier in the week, police mounted an extensive search of the local ranges and mountain terrain around Benalla, but found no trace of the mother and daughter.

On Friday, the search focused on water courses and water storage facilities north of Benalla to Lake Rowan and Lake Nillahcoorte.

The search was then expanded southwest to include Tatong and Whitfield.

News Corp Australia

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