This article has been updated with an additional press release sent just before 10 p.m.
CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — Four months have passed since Suzanne Morphew was declared missing, after she reportedly left home on her bike and did not return.
On Thursday, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office issued an update on its investigation.
FOX21 News has reported on a lack of updates and information from the Sheriff’s Office. In Thursday’s post, Sheriff John Spezze wrote:
“Our investigative team would like nothing more than to disseminate information to the public in regards to our progress in this process however in any open investigation we cannot divulge any information as it puts the integrity of the investigation at risk.”
Sheriff Spezze also sent an email to FOX21’s Lauren Scharf on Thursday, which included the following statement:
“I, at this time, cant (sic) do on camera interviews as it only leads to no comment statements and that does nobody any good. I cant (sic) deny or confirm information as doing this is actually giving information. I am sure this is frustrating for you however my focus is Suzanne and the integrity of our investigation.”
While official updates have been sparse, people close to the Morphew family have agreed to speak about what they’ve experienced in the days and weeks following Suzanne’s disappearance.
Two contract workers who Barry Morphew hired for a job in Broomfield on Mother’s Day Weekend have questioned several events that occured.
Morgan Gentile came forward after her friend and coworker, Jeffrey Puckett, spoke to FOX21 News.
Gentile says the case has broken up her family, forced her to relocate, and is keeping her from finding employment.
“I got treated through all . this just like I’m the other woman, even though I’m not the other woman,” Gentile said. “I just happen to be a woman.”
Gentile said several people have accused her of having an affair with Suzanne Morphew’s husband.
Barry has also denied accusations that he may have had affairs.
“Everybody’s out there saying, ‘oh, you got a girlfriend, you must have an affairs.’ Where is it? There’s nobody. There’s never been another love in my life,” Barry told FOX21 News.
Gentile corroborated Puckett’s claims concerning a hotel room in Broomfield, where Barry had also spent time.
“We opened the door and I mean, like, the chlorine hit you and you’re, like, my eyes started watering and burning. And, like, the towels were like super wet on the floor, and it looked like he had, like, made the bed before he left,” Gentile said.
And, she said, Barry’s behavior that weekend had seemed strange.
“Barry had worked on the beach site Friday evening,” Gentile said. “Saturday, he had asked me to clean it up and rake it out, because we were going to bring it out to level – so it would be a beach sand and not muck.”
That area, a construction site off County Road 105, east of Salida, is the same area where investigators spent three days searching for Suzanne, just a week later, on May 21-23.
“He was acting really weird about [the beach area], I was like Barry what’s up,” Gentile said. “He seemed stressed. He definitely seemed weird on Saturday.”
And, although Gentile had agreed to work in that area for the day, she said Barry dismissed her from the job early – at 11 a.m.
“He said that he had to go make the wife happy – do some hiking or biking,” she said. “And I found out, like, later that day that he was in town all day.”
Gentile said she heard Barry was out shopping by himself.
The original plan for the Broomfield job – a retaining wall – included only Gentile and Barry, she said.
“We were originally supposed to go out there at the end of April,” Gentile explained.
She said, the plans changed, pushing the project to the first of May, then changed again to the weekend of May 10. Gentile said she was surprised when Barry called her asking her to assemble a crew for the job.
“Last minute he changed everything. In fact, he called me that Sunday – Mother’s Day – and was really frantic, really didn’t sound like himself,” Gentile said. “I hung up the phone and I thought he just had the worst night of his life.”
Still, Gentile agreed to pick up Jeffrey Puckett and head to Broomfield.
Barry called again around 6:10 p.m.
“Barry said that he had been up there all day, like getting the job ready for us,” Gentile said. And, he also told Gentile, he was leaving. There’d been a family emergency, he said. He left some tools behind, at the hotel.
“But we didn’t have the tools that we needed,” she said. “It looked like Barry had emptied out his truck… all kinds of stuff that we didn’t need to do a retaining wall.”
But Barry had asked the crew to finish the job. So, they waited at the hotel for further instruction. Gentile said Barry called, distraught, on Monday morning around 8 a.m.
“He said like, Suzanne has gotten gotten attacked, or a mountain lion has got her,” Gentile said. He told Gentile they were going up the mountain to find his wife. He asked the crew to wait for a delivery of bricks, so they could finish the job they had traveled to Broomfield to do.
Gentile said they waited until Tuesday, but the material never arrived.
“I wasn’t gonna bother Barry with these phone calls because, you know, his wife is missing and I feel like this is a little problem compared to his problem,” she said.
Gentile said she and Puckett packed up and drove back to Salida, where the investigation into Suzanne’s disappearance was well underway. She said, back in town, she was approached by two men, both linked to Barry, who told her, “We would give you your paycheck, but we don’t want it to look like hush-hush money. You have rights, but you don’t have to give CBI your phone.”
Still, Gentile reports she did cooperate with most of what investigators asked of her, including, she said, five interviews. She also turned over her phone, but said she declined a polygraph.
“I know my rights and I don’t have anything to hide,” she said.
She says she heard from Barry again, days after, through text.
“He fired me because I gave up my phone, I wasn’t staying quiet and I was complying with CBI,” she said of that interaction. “I feel like if he was innocent, he would have talked to me. I worked with him every day for a long time.”
But Barry Morphew has questioned Gentile’s character in conversations he’s had with FOX21.
“She’s a meth head,” Barry said. “She’s mad at me because I fired her and don’t let her work for me anymore. She’s mad. So they’re not gonna say anything good about me.”
“I’m scared of Barry,” Gentile said. “I don’t want to see him again, ever again.”
Barry, Puckett, and Gentile have said a third employee, Cassidy Cordova, was also hired to work on that Broomfield job. Cordova has declined all interview requests, but did send the following text message, after being asked to share his side of the story:
So far, no suspects or persons of interest have been named in connection to the disappearance of Suzanne Morphew.
“I am innocent. 100% innocent,” Barry told FOX21 News. “The social media and the news media has made it seem like I’m a bad guy.”
A search, led by Suzanne’s older brother, Andrew Moorman, is planned to take place in Salida beginning September 24.
NEW: Sheriff John Spezze sent a press release at 9:47 p.m. Thursday night. This update comes after FOX21’s Lauren Scharf has asked multiple times about the upcoming search effort:
“As part of this investigation numerous searches were conducted however Suzanne has yet to be located.
Andrew Moorman, brother of Suzanne Morphew, is organizing an independent search in the area of Suzanne’s disappearance. This effort will begin on September 24th and continue for the next several days. Andrew will be leading several hundred volunteer searchers from various towns and states in his effort to find his sister.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation want to support this effort. Although our team is unable to coordinate and lead this effort due to liability issues we want to support this effort in several different ways. We certainly appreciate this huge undertaking and want to offer support to facilitate their efforts.
We will be staffing our command post with liaison personnel to assist Moorman search members. Our SAR units will be on hand to assist with Moorman search team accountability and other search team coordination issues. Our crime scene team will be available to document and collect any evidence if found. We will have both Chaffee County and CBI case Agents on hand in this endeavor as well.
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.”