Three years ago, Suzanne Morphew vanished without a trace on Mother’s Day after going on a bike ride, sparking a high-profile case that once involved murder charges against her husband. On Wednesday, Colorado authorities finally revealed they had found the 49-year-old’s remains.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed to The Daily Beast that investigators located human remains in Saguache County on Sept. 22 in the course of an investigation not related to Morphew’s disappearance. The remains were positively identified as Morphew on Wednesday. Authorities said no arrests had been made since the discovery, but Morphew’s family had been notified.
“While this case has garnered attention from around the world, it has touched our community and the sheriff’s office deeply. We have never stopped our investigation and will continue to follow all leads in pursuit of justice for Suzanne,” Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said Wednesday. “Although locating Suzanne’s remains is a critical component of this investigation, and for her family, we are left with many more questions than answers, and it would be a disservice to conduct a news conference at this time.”
Authorities say that the mother-of-two was reported missing by one of her neighbors when she did not return to her Maysville, Colorado, home from a bike ride on May 10, 2020.
As an extensive search was underway in the 2.5-mile area where she vanished, her husband Barry Morphew released a video pleading for his wife’s return and offering a $200,000 reward for information. “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.
A year later, prosecutors charged Barry with his wife’s murder, alleging that Suzanne wanted to end their marriage in the midst of an affair. Days after his arrest, Barry was also charged for allegedly submitting a mail-in ballot for Donald Trump on behalf of his missing wife. He pleaded guilty last year to casting the ballot.
But just nine days before Barry was set to stand trial last April, prosecutors shockingly filed a motion to drop the murder charges. It came after 11th Judicial District Attorney Linda Stanley ruled that prosecutors could not use several of their key witnesses at trial because they failed to turn over evidence to the defense.
The case, however, was dismissed without prejudice—meaning prosecutors can refile charges at any time. It was not immediately clear if the discovery of Morphew’s remains would spur new charges.
Tisha Leewaye, one of Suzanne’s friends, told The Daily Beast that she was “happy and sad” about Wednesday’s news. But, she added, she believed “we will now find answers” about what happened to her friend three years ago.
“Barry is with his daughters and they are all struggling with immense shock and grief after learning today that their mother and wife whom they deeply love was found deceased. They had faith that their wife and mom would walk back into their lives again,” Iris Eytan, one of Barry Morphew’s lawyers, told The Daily Beast. “The news is heartbreaking.”
Eytan added her client “is as innocent as he was from Day 1” and that law enforcement “got it wrong.”
“We hope the authorities will quickly admit their wrongful persecution of Barry, an innocent man, to treat the Morphews like the victims they are, and charge the person(s) responsible for Suzanne’s killing,” the lawyer said.
In a May interview on Good Morning America, Barry slammed authorities for filing charges against him, and claimed that his wife was battling with drugs and chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma prior to her death. The Morphew family has since filed a $15 million federal civil rights lawsuit against prosecutors and local authorities, claiming he was wrongfully arrested.
“I know she was going through some hard things and made some bad decisions,” he said. “She was really having trouble with the chemotherapy and the drugs.”