CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — Tuesday marks exactly six months since Suzanne Morphew, a mother and wife from Chaffee County, went missing, but the sheriff says they learn new information in the case every day.
Since she was reported missing on Mother’s Day, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the 11th Judicial District have been working through intensive investigations to find her.
Despite several searches and interviews, and hundreds of tips, Suzanne Morphew, 49, remains a missing person.
In a Facebook post Tuesday morning, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said he wanted to thank the community for their assistance and patience as they continue to work the case.
“Suzanne is missing,” he said. “We in law enforcement hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. The worst-case scenario is that something unlawful occurred, and as such we go about our investigation ensuring we are working within the rules of law and treating everything we learn as potential evidence for court.”
Authorities have explained previously that while updates on this case may be scarce, that doesn’t mean the investigation hasn’t been rigorous. Spezze once again assured the public that the case remains a priority for the sheriff’s office.
“To preserve the integrity of this investigation, we cannot reveal all we have learned nor all that we are doing, but we understand your frustration in wanting this case resolved quickly,” he said. “That said, with each day that passes, we learn new information in this case.”
The task force assigned to this case will continue to investigate it, despite the challenges of the approaching winter months. Members of the task force are continuing to focus on Suzanne Morphew’s social media presence, Spezze said. She kept in touch with her friends through those channels.
The sheriff’s office has asked anybody who communicated with Suzanne Morphew around her disappearance or since — whether by Facebook, Instagram, Voxer, FaceTime or WhatsApp — to come forward through the tip line at 719-312-7530, even if they think the information they have is insignificant.
“(Investigators) also believe that sometimes in these types of cases that people don’t come forward with information for concern that they may get someone in trouble,” Spezze said. “To those who may be fearful to come forward, they can reach out anonymously. Once investigators know your concerns, they can address them.”
Suzanne Morphew has been missing since May 10, 2020 — Mother’s Day — from the Maysville area in Chaffee County. That day, a neighbor called 911 to report that she had gone for a bike ride and never returned that day, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office said. The sheriff’s office said her husband, Barry Morphew, was the last person to see her.
Search efforts in the two weeks following her disappearance turned up empty.
On May 17, a week after her disappearance, Barry Morphew, posted a video on a Facebook page set up to share updates on the search for Suzanne Morphew, pleading for her safe return.
“Suzanne, if anyone is out there that can hear this that has you, please, we’ll do whatever it takes to bring you back,” Barry said as he held back tears in the video. “We love you. We miss you. Your girls need you.”
He continued, saying “I’ll do whatever it takes to get you back. Honey, I love you.”
Barry Morphew and a family friend said they were offering $200,000 for her safe return.
Throughout the month of May, authorities searched bodies of water, asked residents to check their outdoor surveillance cameras, and continued searching the area.
On May 22, the sheriff’s office confirmed that despite a spike in online rumors throughout the day, they had not located Suzanne Morphew or made any arrests.
Months later, on July 9, investigators at the local, state and federal level returned to the Morphew property west of Salida to search for any new information. The sheriff’s office said more than 600 tips had been called into the tip line as of then.
“This case remains very active, as more than a dozen investigators are aggressively working this case on a daily basis,” Spezze said. “And until we determine what happened to Suzanne, we can’t discount any scenario or formally eliminate anyone from suspicion.”
The case then went quiet for several months, with very few updates.
Toward the end of the summer, when Andy Moorman, Suzanne Morphew’s brother, announced he was going to initiate his own independent volunteer-run search in the area, the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook that they weren’t able to lead the search due to liability issues, but wanted to support it.
“As with any major undertaking it takes many different resources to complete a task and we once again appreciate the Moorman search effort and its many volunteers,” Spezze said in the press release.
Moorman’s search began on the morning of Sept. 24.
“My sister was murdered,” Moorman told Denver7 before the search began. “And she was hidden within a three-and-a-half-hour window. So that — I can draw a circle on that and tell you she’s within that circle. And that’s what I know happened.”
Prior to the start of the search, he said he’s prepared for it to end without success. But he wants closure, he said.
“That’s all I’m asking for,” he said.
The search ended in late September and despite hundreds of volunteers lending their resources and time, the teams didn’t uncover any evidence related to the case, according to Chaffee County authorities. The sheriff’s office said cadaver dogs — canines trained to find the scent of human remains and indicate as such to their handlers — appeared to find hits on three separate properties in the county during the volunteer search, but no significant evidence was uncovered.
This case remains under investigation.