Everything We Know About Suzanne Morphew's Death So Far

Colorado resident Suzanne Morphew went on a bike ride on Mother's Day in 2020 — May 10 — and never returned. During the course of the investigation into her death, a lot of attention has fallen on her husband, Barry Morphew, who was the chief suspect for a time and may still be prosecuted in the future, the Associated Press reports.

Suzanne's remains were only found in 2023 after an extensive search. The 49-year-old was discovered in Moffat County, 40 miles away from the area where she allegedly went missing — County Road 225 near Maysville. Friends and family put out calls to find the mother of two, with husband Barry offering a $100,000 reward for her return, an offer that was later matched by a family friend.

By 2021, however, Suzanne had still not been found, and Barry had been charged with first-degree murder. According to CNN, the police conducted 400 interviews and received over 1,400 tips before they executed the warrant against Barry. The charges were dropped again in 2022 before he ever went on trial.

Tension between Suzanne and Barry Morphew

It did not take long for suspicions to develop around Suzanne Morphew's husband, Barry Morphew. Upon investigation, it turned out that the Morphew marriage was in trouble. CBS Colorado reported that a search of Suzanne's iCloud turned up a document labeled "grievances" with a list of complaints against Barry.

The extensive list — which can be found in the court affidavit — includes "Phy abuse," "Mental abuse while drinking NYE," and "Oppressive." A search of Suzanne's text messages also showed that she was having an affair, and Suzanne's friends confirmed that she had long suspected her husband of having an affair as well. In the bedroom, police found a spy pen in the closet that Suzanne had been using to keep tabs on her husband. While friends said that Suzanne had thought about leaving her husband many times, Barry told investigators that he would have given her divorce if asked. He claims he did not know about the affair until after she had vanished.

In the days leading up to her disappearance, the pair seem to have had a particularly heated exchange. A deleted text from Suzanne on Barry's phone read, "I'm done I could care less what you're up to and have been for years. We just need to figure this out civilly," to which Barry responded with a threat of suicide. The text conversation took place on May 6, 2020, just four days before Suzanne disappeared.

Evidence from the Morphew home

A search of the Morphew home turned up some strange evidence, which may or may not be relevant to the case. Police found a 22. caliber bullet next to the couple's bed and the needle cap from a tranquilizer dart gun in the dryer. Police speculated that Barry may have used the tranquilizer to knock out Suzanne. He objected and said he used it to shoot deer so that he could take their horns and sell them.

The doorframe of the bedroom also showed damage that police believe may indicate signs of a struggle. Investigators found a long crack in the wood, damage Barry claimed no knowledge of. The previous owner of the house said that it was not there when he sold it. Scratch marks on Barry's arm added to the police's belief there had been a scuffle.

Finally, in the fireplace of the house, police found the charred remains of a book. Barry claimed the couple had recently cleared out an old filing cabinet. However, investigators were mindful that Suzanne's journal, which she is known to have kept, was missing.

Barry Morphew's movements

In addition to the physical evidence, police took issue with Barry Morphew's movements on the day of the murder. According to CBS News, cellphone data showed that he had been rushing around the house the day before Suzanne Morphew disappeared, which could indicate some sort of dramatic event. He later claimed he was shooting at the chipmunks that plagued the property. The next day, he was also spotted disposing of multiple trash bags, which investigators believe might have been an attempt to dispose of evidence.

Barry also seems to have lied about his whereabouts the day before. He claimed to have gone to bed already around 8:00 p.m., but data from his car indicated somebody had backed his car into the driveway at 9:30 p.m. Between 3:00 a.m. and 4 a.m. on the night of her disappearance, Barry's phone was placed on airplane mode, and his truck door was opened and closed multiple times. He claims he was simply getting ready for work. On the way back from work, he took a detour to the area where Suzanne's bicycle helmet was later found, supposedly because he had seen an elk.

Charges against Barry Morphew

In 2021, Barry Morphew was charged with a laundry list of offenses, including first-degree murder. He was also charged with tampering with evidence, tampering with a body, attempting to influence a public official, and possession of a dangerous weapon.

Nonetheless, he would not stand trial. The judge scrapped the charges in 2022 after prosecutors asked that the motion be dismissed. It was decided that the police were close to finding the deceased's body — a crucial piece of evidence that could make or break the case. According to CPR News, the judge had also barred the prosecution from calling multiple witnesses on the grounds they had broken the rules about turning over new evidence. This included new DNA evidence that linked a man convicted of multiple sexual assaults to Suzanne Morphew. The DNA was found on the glove box in Suzanne's car.

The case against Barry was dismissed "without prejudice," meaning charges can be filed again at a later date. Barry's two daughters have publicly stated that they believe the accusations against their father are false, with Mallory Morphew telling ABC News, "We just know our dad better than anyone else and we know he was not involved in our mom's disappearance." After the case was dropped, Barry filed a lawsuit for $15 million in damages for his supposed wrongful arrest.

The bike and the body

Suzanne Morphew's bike was found on the day she disappeared, but it would take far longer to find her body. The bike was discovered at the bottom of a ravine near Country Road 225, though police believe that its condition indicates no crash occurred. Her helmet was also found during the initial investigation a few days after her bike was recovered, just under a mile away.

Investigators didn't find Suzanne's body until September 2023 through sheer dumb luck. The Denver Gazette reports that investigators were searching Moffat County on a completely unrelated case when they stumbled upon Suzanne's remains. They found bones in a shallow grave in a dry desert area filled with sagebrush and grasses just 30 to 40 minutes away from the Morphew home. The remains had been scattered after burial.

After being discovered, the bones were taken to El Paso for analysis. As of September 2023, nobody has been charged with Suzanne's death.