CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — Investigators returned to a missing Chaffee County woman’s home to search for more clues after two months with no sign of Suzanne Morphew.
The 49-year-old mother was missing on Mother’s Day, May 10 after she reportedly didn’t return home from a bike ride.
Since then, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office tells FOX21 News, investigators have followed-up on 600 tips and conducted several searches in an effort to locate Morphew.
“This case remains very active, as more than a dozen investigators are aggressively working this case on a daily basis,” said Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze. “And until we determine what happened to Suzanne, we can’t discount any scenario or formally eliminate anyone from suspicion.”
To date, no arrests have been made, and Morphew has not been located.
On Thursday, local, state, and federal investigators returned to search the Morphew property in Maysville, west of Salida.
The public is asked to continue to report any information about this case to the tipline by calling (719) 312-7530.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office is being assisted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in this missing person case.
“This is a terrible thing the guy goes to work one day and the girls are doing their thing and in a matter of minutes or hours what have you somebody’s family is turned upside down and their whole life is destroyed and turned upside down and I just want them to have closure,” Troy Skinner said.
Skinner is a family friend and has known Barry since middle school. He visited the family twice after they moved to their Colorado home in Maysville. He described the family as a perfect family.
“They were the modern day little house on the prairie, I mean everyone got along in that family.”
Skinner said Barry would go on hunting trips to get away, it was his solitude time and it would re-energize him. During an elk hunting trip with Barry in Salida this past year, Skinner said he spoke with Suzanne about her health and having no hesitations in going on bike rides alone.
“She did talk about her bike rides, she liked it, she felt safe and she didn’t feel threatened on them,” Skinner explained.
When Skinner learned that Suzanne didn’t return from a bike ride, he immediately asked Barry what he could do to help. Unfortunately, in the beginning of the search efforts, his work schedule didn’t allow him to go to Colorado.
“I didn’t actually get to talk to Barry until two or three weeks into the ordeal and the times we have talked it’s not questioning on what happened or anything it’s hey I’m here for you and what can I do for you and letting him know that we care for him and the girls,” Skinner added. “It’s been two months but he’s still broken and the girls are having a hard time. I haven’t spoken with them directly but I’ve asked about them each time. He says it’s just very hard on everybody and you can hear it in his voice when he is talking to ya.”
He describes the Morphew’s as the sweetest people you’d ever meet. Skinner said Suzanne would talk to you like you were the only person in the room. He added that there were never cracks in the relationship.
“If Barry was involved, he would get his punishment and that’s the way it should be, but I would lose all faith in humanity because he just doesn’t have that in him,” Skinner said.
“It is very troubling that Suzanne vanished if you will and there is a lot of factors that are in play in this case that has come to light from my perspective,” Private Investigator Dan Corsentino said.
Corsentino has worked in law enforcement for 25 years and was the former Pueblo County Sheriff and Fountain Police Chief. He has worked on cases like Kelsey Berreth and Kelsey Schilling. He said Suzanne Morphew’s case could take months and even years to reach a point of conclusion.
“Barry and Suzanne owned homes in Indiana and there was guardianship of those homes that Barry had requested after Suzanne’s disappearance to protect their financial interest and I think that they are looking at all of that and they needed the FBI assistance,” Corsentino added.
Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency on the case. It has been 41 days since investigators returned to Morphew’s property. Corsentino said law enforcement won’t release information that hasn’t been validated or could be perceived as misinformation.
“They are restricting information intentionally to preserve the integrity of the case based on information that they may have that they do not want to be released,” Corsentino explained. “They want to be very methodical in what they are looking for any hair particle, any type of blood splatter, any type of semen, anything at all that they are afraid that they missed and they might go through the house with an ID specialist or a forensic specialist and the next day they might use a different forensic specialist to make sure nothing was missing whatsoever.”
Testing from the 3-day search on a construction site would have been done fairly immediately Corsentino said. He explained that forensic testing would likely take 72 hours depending on the intensity of the search. Corsentino believes the timing of Suzanne’s disappearance is especially unusual.
“So who was celebrating mother’s day with Suzanne? And you would think that would be a day of celebration with her,” he said.
Corsentino explains that those working on the case have questioned family members, friends, and any witnesses in the community multiple times. He also wasn’t aware of any Colorado private detective or investigator working with Barry.
“It becomes a big jigsaw puzzle and you have to put that puzzle together based on information that is consistent,” Corsentino said.
The community remains puzzled as the case goes into the third month. Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office believes this was an isolated incident and that there is no threat to the public.
“I think the best thing the family can do right now is trust law enforcement,” Corsentino said.
“We just keep praying that there is a happy ending involved,” Skinner added.
A plea from Suzanne’s husband, Barry was shared online exactly a week after she disappeared. A reward of $200,000 by family and friends of Suzanne Morphew has been offered for a safe return – no questions asked.