From a mountain lion to a chipmunk to a deer to a bull elk, Barry Morphew allegedly roped in a broad array of wildlife in telling a tall tale to obscure the death of his wife.
Hours before Suzanne Morphew vanished on a bike ride on Mother’s Day last year, her husband took deliberate steps to hide his involvement in her death that included creating a false alibi for himself and staging a crime scene, Colorado authorities said in an affidavit released Monday.
Also on Monday, despite facing murder charges, Barry Morphew walked out of jail after posting bail, a Chaffee County court spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
In a newly-unsealed arrest affidavit against Morphew, authorities provided shocking details into the lengths the 53-year-old allegedly took to plan, stage, and cover up his wife’s murder on or around May 10, 2020.
Investigators said that while Morphew initially insisted to authorities he was out of town while his wife went missing, he refused to take a polygraph test three days into the investigation.
Over time, authorities said, Morphew has admitted to lying about his involvement in the case—but also indicated his wife’s murder “was a form of God’s judgment” for an alleged two-year affair by the slain woman.
Indeed, the affidavit painted a lurid picture of the man making a series of unhinged claims and admissions about his actions in the days surrounding her death.
“Since January 2021, Barry has admitted to: chasing a chipmunk with a gun around the house while Susan was outside sunbathing, shooting a deer with a tranquilizer dart to explain a dart and needle cap in the dryer, disposing of the tranquilizer solution during this trip to Broomfield, following a bull elk down Highway 50 in the 4:00 AM hour on the May 10th to explain why his truck would be headed west (where [a] helmet was discarded), and finally stating to the FBI on April 22, 2021 that he looks guilty from the evidence and God allowed these things to happen.”
While Suzanne’s body has never been found, authorities said in the May 4, 2021 affidavit that they believed she was deceased and their investigation led them to believe she was the victim of a homicide. Prosecutors have since alleged that Morphew killed his wife after discovering an affair, and then tried to cover his tracks by ditching her bike on a path near their home.
The affidavit states that Morphew initially blamed a mountain lion for the death of his wife.
Morphew has pleaded not guilty to all charges—including first-degree murder after deliberation—in connection with his wife’s disappearance. He posted a $500,000 cash bond in order to leave jail Monday afternoon ahead of his trial next May.
Prosecutors have painted a harrowing picture of a woman trying to escape a marriage—and a husband who would not accept its collapse.
They say that for at least five months before Suzanne went missing, she took “clear, articulable steps… to separate from and divorce her husband,” including telling her friends and family about her intention and secretly recording instances in which he allegedly abused her.
The steps towards separation came amid an alleged two-year affair with a man named Jeff Libler, whom she had attended high school within Indiana. During the affair, detailed in the affidavit, Suzanne frequently communicated with Libler over social media and met up with him at least six times in different cities across the country.
Four days before a neighbor reported her missing last May, Suzanne even texted her husband saying that she was done with their marriage and wished to “handle this civilly.” Two days later, Suzanne wrote in her phone that her husband had accused her of having an affair, which he had allegedly been aware of for a year prior.
But when authorities began questioning Morphew about his wife on May 10, 2020, he portrayed their marriage as “perfect” and even “destroyed evidence that his relationship with Suzanne was deteriorating and that he was involved with her disappearance and homicide,” according to the affidavit.
Later, Morphew would tell authorities he “blamed God for Suzanne’s death after being informed of the affairs as a form of judgment on her and has stated repeatedly that God allowed this to happen,” the affidavit states.
During their initial probe, authorities discovered a bullet near the couple’s bed and a needle cap that would be used for a tranquilizer gun in their dryer. The affidavit states that Morphew’s truck was also used in the early morning of May 10—about an hour before his wife’s phone last pinged.
Suzanne’s bike, which was found hours after she was reported missing, had no obvious damage to indicate a struggle had occurred.
Surveillance video also shows Morphew making at least five “trash runs” that same morning, stopping at trash cans and dumpsters at hotels, bus stations, and fast-food restaurants around Broomfield, the affidavit states.
Three days into the investigation, Morphew refused to take a polygraph test—stating he “didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t 100% accurate,” according to the affidavit.
That was before Morphew released a May 17, 2020, video pleading for Suzanne’s 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 video.
Despite Morphew’s public pleas, questions quickly began to surface about his possible role in his wife’s disappearance, including one report that he had scrubbed his Denver hotel room clean around the same time she went missing.
Morphew denied the claims.
“People don’t know the truth, so they’re gonna think what they’re gonna think,” Morphew told Fox12 in one August 2020 interview, where he also slammed the media for making him out to be a villain.
On May 5, 2021, nearly a year after his wife’s disappearance, Morphew was arrested and charged with murder. Days later, he was hit with new charges for allegedly submitting a mail-in ballot on behalf of his wife for the 2020 election. The ballot for former President Donald Trump was submitted in October 2020—and included Morphew’s signature on the witness line.
“I wanted Trump… to win,” Morphew told FBI agents in April when questioned about submitting his wife’s voting ballot, insisting that she was going to “vote for Trump anyway” and thought he was allowed to vote on behalf of his spouse. “I just thought, give him… another vote. I figured all these other guys are cheating.”
Authorities are still preparing a case to prove, at trial, that Morphew murdered his wife.
But the affidavit suggests he snapped because he “could not control Suzanne’s insistence on leaving him and he resorted to something he had done his entire life—hunt and control Suzanne like he hunted and controlled animals.”