A Timeline Of The Suzanne Morphew Case: From Her Disappearance To The Confirmation Of Her Death
The Colorado wife and mother’s remains were found over three years after she vanished without a trace.
Suzanne Morphew, a 49-year-old Colorado mother of two, vanished from her home during the height of the pandemic. After Suzanne’s bicycle and helmet were located, some believed she was abducted while out for a ride. But others theorized Suzanne’s troubles could have something to do with the affair she had begun with a former high school classmate the year before. Ahead is a timeline in the confounding case, from the events leading up to Suzanne’s disappearance to the recent discovery of her remains.
May 6, 2020
According to the Denver Gazette, texts recovered from the phone of Barry Morphew, Suzanne’s husband of over 25 years, revealed she messaged him at 10:17 a.m., writing, “I’m done. I could care what you’ve been up to for years. We just need to figure this out civilly.”
At 3:51 p.m., he responded: “I promise you are wrong about all the crazy thoughts about me. Only a fool would stray from an angel like you. When I’m dead, which won’t be long, you guys will be taken care of.”
May 9, 2020
A preliminary hearing revealed Suzanne sent her former high school friend Jeff Libler, who was in Michigan at the time, a selfie at 2:07 p.m., marking the last time she was known to be alive. According to the Denver Gazette, over a year earlier, Suzanne and Libler had reconnected and started a romance. They met in person six times, but Suzanne’s husband later claimed he was unaware of the affair, the publication reported.
Between 2:42 p.m. and 2:44 p.m., Barry’s phone data indicated he was outside the couple’s home in Poncha Springs. He later explained to prosecutors in an interview that he was shooting at chipmunks.
Investigators used telematics to determine Barry’s truck was backed to the edge of the driveway at the family’s home at 9:25 p.m., and the vehicle’s doors were repeatedly opened and closed until 9:52 p.m.
Police also learned that for six hours that day, Barry’s cell phone was set on airplane mode. His attorneys noted the vehicle never left the couple’s property and police found neither blood nor DNA in it.
Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020
Between 3:25 a.m. and 3:52 a.m., the Denver Gazette reported, telematics show Barry’s truck doors again were repeatedly opened and shut. Around 4:23 a.m., Suzanne’s phone, which has never been located, pinged for what would be the last time. Barry later told police his wife was sleeping around 5 a.m. when he left home to travel to a landscaping job in Broomfield.
Barry arrived in the Colorado town shortly after 8 a.m., and surveillance video allegedly shows him at different locations discarding trash, according to the Denver Gazette.
At 5:15 p.m., a neighbor, phoned Barry and told him Suzanne was missing. Sheriff’s deputies located her bicycle, which had a bent handlebar, around 20 minutes later in a ravine near the couple’s home.
May 11, 2020
Suzanne failed to appear for a scheduled cancer treatment and a search was organized.
May 13, 2020
Suzanne’s undamaged bike helmet was discovered off a highway almost a mile from the location where her bicycle was recovered.
July 9 and 10, 2020
Blood doesn’t turn up during a search of the Morphews’ home, but investigators find the cap of a tranquilizer dart. Barry’s attorneys adamantly refuted investigators’ theory Barry had something to do with his wife possibly being subdued with a tranquilizer.
May 5, 2021
Nearly one year after his wife vanished, police arrested Barry and charged him with multiple crimes, including first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and attempting to influence a public servant.
September 20, 2021
Barry was released on a $500,000 cash-only bail. The two daughters he shares with Suzanne, Mallory and Macy Morphew, were by his side.
April 19, 2022
The case against Barry was dismissed, but prosecutors could choose to pursue the same charges again in the future, a judge ruled. At the time, the Denver Gazette reported, prosecutors believed investigators were close to locating Suzanne’s body. “She is in a very difficult spot,” Deputy District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said. “We actually have more than just a feeling … and the sheriff’s office is continuing to look for Mrs. Morphew’s body.”
May 2, 2023
Over a year after the case was dismissed, Barry filed a civil lawsuit and was seeking $15 million in damages from multiple prosecutors as well as Chaffee County, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.
September 22, 2023
Remains were discovered in a shallow grave and surrounding high-desert prairie outside Moffat in Saguache County, Colorado. The Denver Gazette reported investigators stumbled upon the remains while searching for another missing woman, though the cases were unrelated. The area is located about 40 miles, or a 45-minute drive, from the Morphews’ home in Chaffee County, where Suzanne was last confirmed to be alive.
September 25, 2023
The El Paso County coroner confirmed the remains found three days earlier belonged to Suzanne. Attorney Iris Eytan said his client, Barry, and Barry’s daughters were “struggling with immense shock and grief” after learning the news that “their mother and wife whom they deeply love was found deceased,” CNN reported.
“They had faith that their wife and mom would walk back into their lives again. The news is heartbreaking. From what we know, Barry is as innocent as he was from Day 1,” Eytan continued, claiming prosecutors as well as law enforcement “got it wrong” when the charged Barry in connection with the case in 2021. “We hope the authorities will quickly admit their wrongful persecution of Barry, an innocent man, to treat the Morphews like the victims they are.”
Suzanne’s nephew, Chris Moorman, said in a statement family was “grateful to all those who searched for Auntie Suzanne the past 3 years,” but, he continued, “there is no possible way to call yesterday's discovery good news.” He added: “Please pray for her daughters and that justice, however long delayed, comes for the monster who committed this heinous crime.”
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