SALIDA, Colorado (WISH) — A former Indiana man was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with the murder of his wife who’s been missing since Mother’s Day 2020, authorities said.
Barry and Suzanne Morphew and their two daughters relocated from Alexandria, Indiana, to Salida, Colorado, in spring 2018. Before she was a mother, Suzanne taught at Hamilton Heights Middle School in Arcadia, Indiana.
Suzanne is an Indiana native who is the daughter of Gene Moorman, who owned Gene’s Rootbeer and Hotdogs, a drive-in restaurant that first opened in 1964 in Anderson. He died in November, but his family still owns the restaurant.
Barry, 53, was arrested at his home in the town of Poncha Springs, Colorado, without incident and charged with the murder of Suzanne, 49, said Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze. Barry also faces charges of destroying evidence and attempting to influence a public servant.
When Suzanne went missing Barry recorded a video that aired on national television pleading for his wife’s safe return, “please, we will do whatever it takes to bring you back. We love you. We miss you. Your girls need you,” he said in the video.
Suzanne’s body has never been found, said 11th Judicial District Attorney Linda Stanley during a Wednesday afternoon news conference with the sheriff. The district attorney said she could not comment on Suzanne’s cause of death however she said she was confident in her choice to file murder charges against Barry Morphew. “We do have information that led us to this point today and how we think a certain scenario had occurred but as we investigate further that may change,” said Stanley.
Barry appeared in a court hearing Thursday and was assigned a public defender. CNN has contacted Barry’s attorney for comment, but according to a notice on the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender website, their policy is to not comment on a criminal case.
Barry continued be held Thursday without bond in the Chaffee County jail.
Barry will be allowed to have contact with his two daughters, so long as the communication is civil, said Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial District Patrick Murphy on Thursday. Barry is due back in court at 4 p.m. May 27.
The sheriff said in the Wednesday news conference that his office in early April presented the evidence it had collected and presented it to Stanley’s office in an hourslong hearing. The charges came as a result of that hearing.
“Today is not a day for celebration, nor does it mark the end of this investigation; rather it’s the next step in this very difficult yet very important journey as we seek justice for Suzanne and her family,” Spezze said Wednesday.
The Chaffee County District and County Court suppressed details of the investigation and all court records from the public record. The district attorney defended the court’s decision: “I’m the one that considers how strong my case is before I bring charges and I wouldn’t bring charges unless I was confident.”
Spezze had said a few days after Suzanne’s May 10 disappearance that investigators had found an item possibly belonging to her, but several searches that included waterways did not turn up a body.
No additional arrests are expected in the case, the sheriff said Wednesday.
The search for Suzanne
Suzanne never returned from a May 10 bike ride near the mountain town of Maysville, Colorado, according to her brother, Andy Moorman of Alexandria. Family and friends in Alexandria and other parts of Madison County had helped with efforts in Colorado to find Suzanne. Her brother had helped bring together 500 volunteers in September to search the mountainous areas surrounding the Morphews’ Salida home.
Before October, authorities had searched the Salida home multiple times and a construction site where Barry was paid to lay dirt, but no remains were found.
Moorman told News 8 in September that he suspected his sister was the victim of foul play and died months ago.
A week after his wife went missing, Barry had posted a video on Facebook pleading for her safe return. “No questions asked, however much they want, I will do whatever it takes to get you back,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
- A woman went biking on Mother’s Day. She hasn’t been seen since
- Missing Colorado mom is Alexandria native
“May 5, 2021–Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office–The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office and the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced that Barry Morphew (DOB: 10/17/1967), Poncha Springs, was arrested on Murder in the First Degree (F1), Tampering with Physical Evidence (F6) and Attempt to Influence a Public Servant (F4) in connection with the murder of Suzanne Morphew.
“Barry Morphew, the husband of Suzanne Morphew, was taken into custody without incident by Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office deputies at approximately 9:15 a.m., near his home in Poncha Spring on Highway 50. He is being held at the Chaffee County Detention Facility without bond. A mugshot of Morphew is attached to this news release.
“Morphew’s first court date will be the advisement where any bond arguments will be heard. That hearing will be held at the Chaffee County Courthouse at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 6. The arrest warrant is sealed at this time.
“The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and its partners have spent thousands of hours in the effort to locate the mother of two who went missing on May 10, 2020.
“More than 70 investigators from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and dozens of local law enforcement agency partners have provided their expertise on this case, executed more than 135 search warrants across Colorado, and have interviewed more than 400 individuals in multiple states. The team has also investigated more than 1,400 tips generated from within and outside of law enforcement.
“With charges being presented in the investigation, the media function shifts to the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. All media inquiries should be directed to 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
“The public is asked to continue to report any information about this case by calling (719) 312-7530.
“All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”Chaffee County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office on Facebook