Five months after Suzanne Morphew vanished without a trace while out on a bike ride last Mother’s Day, the Chaffee County Clerk’s Office in Colorado received a bizarre notification: a mail-in ballot for the 2020 election had been submitted under her name.
When a Chaffee County sergeant went to the clerk’s office to check out the ballot, he saw that it had been handwritten and dated Oct. 15, 2020—and included the signature of her husband, Barry Lee Morphew, on the witness line.
But according to an arrest affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast, authorities did not question the 53-year-old dad about his alleged voter fraud until April 22, just days before he was charged with first-degree murder and a slew of other crimes in connection with his wife’s disappearance.
“I wanted Trump… to win,” Morphew told FBI agents when questioned about submitting his wife’s voting ballot. “I just thought, give him… another vote. I figured all these other guys are cheating.”
Morphew added that he knew his wife “was going to vote for Trump anyway” and insisted he didn’t know you couldn’t vote on behalf of “your spouse.” Investigators also noted in the affidavit that Morphew submitted his own mail-in ballot at the same time.
But authorities believe Morphew intentionally took advantage of his wife’s disappearance to ensure another vote for the former president. On Thursday night, prosecutors charged him with one felony count of forgery of public records and one misdemeanor count of elections-mail-ballot offense.
While his bond was set at $1,000 for the new charges, Morphew is already being held without bail on the charges in connection with his wife’s May 10, 2020 disappearance. Investigators, however, have still not found the mother of two, and have thus kept Morphew’s arrest affidavit under seal since his May 5 arrest.
The Chaffee County District Court is expected to unseal the affidavit as early as May 27 in a case that has garnered national attention and confounded investigators for months.
Authorities began an investigation into Suzanne Morphew’s disappearance on May 10 after a neighbor reported she did not return home from a bike ride. For days, local and federal authorities conducted an exhaustive search over the 2.5-mile area near her Maysville, Colorado home. Police now believe that a “certain scenario” occurred near her home that resulted in the discovery of her bike—but not her body.
On May 17, Morphew, who was reportedly out of town the day his wife went missing, released a video pleading for her safe return alongside a social-media campaign to aid in the investigation. He also offered a $200,000 reward for information about her whereabouts.
“Oh Suzanne, if anyone is out there that can hear this, that has you, please, we’ll do whatever it takes to bring you back. We love you. We miss you. The girls need you. No questions asked. However much they want, I will do whatever it takes to get you back. Honey, I love you. I want you back so bad,” he said in the May video.
Despite Morphew’s public pleas for his wife, questions began to surface about his possible role in her disappearance, including reports that he had scrubbed his Denver hotel room clean around the same time she went missing. Morphew, however, denied the claims.
“People don’t know the truth, so they’re gonna think what they’re gonna think,” Morphew said in one rare August interview with Fox21 before insisting that unfair media coverage of his wife’s case made him out to be a villain.
Morphew also slammed the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office during the interview, stating he believed the local authorities “screwed this whole [investigation] up from the beginning and now they are trying to cover it up and blame it on me.” A lawyer for Morphew did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.