Authorities said they’ve found a personal item belonging to a missing Colorado woman—the first break in a fruitless five-day search for the mom-of-two that has so far stumped investigators.
Suzanne Morphew, 49, disappeared last Sunday while on a bike ride outside Maysville, Colorado. She was first reported missing by a neighbor that evening. Search crews of more than 100 investigators, eight tracking dogs and four drones, as well as members of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, South Ark Swiftwater Rescue and Reach Air Ambulance have been unable to find her. The investigation is still open, and authorities have yet to rule out foul play.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that they had found a personal item belonging to Morphew on Thursday, but did not say what the item was or where exactly it was found. The sheriff’s office did say that nearly 90 investigators searched a 2.5-mile area around where the item was located in hope of finding more clues, and were still soliciting tips.
“The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, with support of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will continue to follow-up on tips forwarded to investigators,” the office said in a statement.
Morphew’s husband, who was reportedly out of town on the day she went missing, has offered a $100,000 reward for information regarding her disappearance. The reward was increased to $200,000 on Thursday after a friend matched the donation, according to The Denver Post. A GoFundMe started by Morphew’s nephew to aid searchers had also raised more than $28,000 by Saturday afternoon.
Morphew’s nephew Trevor Noel told CBS4 that her bike was found the evening she disappeared but the family don’t know what condition it was in. Sheriff John Spezze told the TV network Morphew had “probably not” been taken by animals.
“She’s a beloved member of her family and the sweetest person that you’ve ever met,” Noel told CBS4, adding that family members had been out searching the hilly terrain. “We want to leave our options open and we want to make sure that we cover every hill… and know that everyone out here is doing everything they possibly can to find her.”
Others have established a Facebook page to share updates and articles about the search. The page was flooded with comments from friends, relatives, and former students at Hamilton Heights, a middle school in Indiana where Morphew taught from 1995 to 1999.
“My thoughts and prayers are with you! Her students from Hamilton Heights are hoping and praying for her safe return!” wrote one former student. “My heart has broken in a million pieces and I wish I could stand with you in the search!”
“She was my sixth grade English teacher at Hamilton Heights,” another wrote. “One of the sweetest most caring teachers I've ever had.”
Anyone with information about Morphew’s disappearance is asked to call the dedicated Colorado Bureau of Investigations tips line at (719) 312-7530.