Investigators search Salida property in connection with Suzanne Morphew disappearance, Fire Chief remains “hopeful”

State

CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — Investigators searched a Salida property in connection with the disappearance of Chaffee County woman, Suzanne Morphew, the Sheriff’s office said Friday.

“The property owner is fully cooperative with law enforcement and is not connected with the disappearance of Ms. Morphew,” investigators said in a statement.

The search continued Saturday, off County Road 105 and Vandaveer Road, on the east side of Salida, according to the Public Information Officer.

They said their reasoning for searching in that area is based on information developed during the case.

Morphew, 49, was reported missing on May 10 after she didn’t return home from a bike ride. A family member told FOX21 News her bike had been recovered, but the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office would only confirm they had found “a personal item” they believe belongs to Morphew.

>> “Everybody loves Suzanne and Barry,” family member wants Chaffee County mother’s safe return

No other details about the search were released. However, on May 15, after the “personal item” was found, dozens of investigators worked in an area near County Road 225 and Highway 50 and dive teams searched nearby bodies of water. On Tuesday, investigators said they were not searching Morphew’s home, but did put a hold on it, due to the investigation.

Barry Morphew, Suzanne’s husband, volunteers with Chaffee County Fire and Rescue.

FOX21 News spoke to his boss, Chief Robert Bertram, who described the missing woman as well-liked.

“She was one of the most friendly people I’ve ever met,” Bertram said. ” Very genuine, she would come up and talk to you. It definitely hit hard when I heard that she was missing.”

Bertram told FOX21 News he recruited Barry Morphew in 2018 to become a volunteer firefighter.

He noted that there were no emergency calls during the weekend Suzanne went missing, and no planned training.

Bertram explained it’s not uncommon for people to go missing in the Salida area, citing difficult terrain and a number of 14ers. Still, he noted, those people are usually unfamiliar with the county, and not locals.

He described the process of those searches.

“[For] a typical missing person, a deputy is notified and assigned to it,” he explained. “They go up to locate their vehicle and call out search and rescue teams, but this was different.”

Bertram said firefighters out of the Maysville Fire Station, who work closely with Barry, have helped the family search for the missing woman. However, he clarified, investigators did not ask the department to help search.

“The last report I got from people is that [Barry] is having a difficult time sitting still, and pacing back and forth, constantly looking out the window, hoping he can see her” Bertram said. “He’s going out, driving up the road, and trying to remember any suspicious vehicles that he’s seen.”

He said Barry hasn’t gone on a call for the fire department since his wife disappeared.

Other than that, Bertram said, he doesn’t know much about the investigation.

“The initial report that I got when they told me on Monday is that she is missing and they found her bike in a ravine,” he said. “That’s all the information I have gotten.”

And, although concern for Suzanne Morphew grows with each day, Bertram said his department has faith search efforts will be successful.

“All of our firefighters still remain hopeful that she is out there and somebody will see her,” he said.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Chaffee Couty Sheriff’s Office tip line at 719-312-7530.

Stay with FOX21 for the latest on this developing story.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local Stories

More Local