CHAFEE COUNTY, Colo. – For the first time since Barry Morphew was arrested last year, the public can see color photos of evidence from the investigation into the murder of his wife, Suzanne Morphew.
The Chaffee County woman was reported missing on Mother’s Day 2020. Almost a year later, on May 5, 2021, Barry Morphew was arrested and charged with her murder. He has maintained his innocence from the start.
This week, Chaffee County Judge Ramsey Lama, who is presiding over the case, ordered the release of certain exhibits – including video, photos, data and audio – which were all presented in court during the preliminary hearing.
Included in the published exhibits are text messages Suzanne sent to a friend in which she confided in about issues at home; photos of Morphew’s various weapons; tranquilizer darts found in the couple’s house; GPS data points from Morphew’s truck and phone; photos of the interiors of Morphew vehicles; and screenshots of surveillance footage from the Broomfield Hotel.
When Suzanne was first reported missing, it was thought she had gone on her bike and never returned. These details were provided by Morphew to his neighbors, Martin and Gene Ritter, prompting them to alert the authorities.
Suzanne’s bike was found the same day she was reported missing on Sunday, May 10, 2020. Her bike helmet was found four days later, less than a mile from where her bike was discovered , off Highway 50.
Suzanne, who had recently taken up mountain biking, usually wore sunglasses, her bike helmet and her Camelbak. Interior photos of her car show Suzanne’s sunglasses, Camelbak and the handbag in the passenger seat of her Range Rover.
Text messages sent from Suzanne’s phone to a friend paint a picture of a troubled family life. “I wonder what the younger me was thinking,” she wrote on April 2, 2020.
And those aren’t the only text messages investigators have uncovered. A May 6, 2020, text on Morphew’s phone – which had been deleted – reveals what FBI agent Johnny Grusing thinks was an important step, on Suzanne’s part, to leaving her husband.
“I’m done,” she wrote. “I don’t care what you do and what you’ve been doing for years.”
Based on a theory presented by investigators in the arrest affidavit, prosecutors believe a tranquilizer dart may have been used in the commission of the alleged crime. Documents show that tranquilizer darts were found in Morphew’s garage. The needle sheath cap was located inside the dryer.
Investigators believe Morphew shot Suzanne with a tranquilizer dart, chased her into the house before killing her, then hid her body. However, the tranquilizer gun found by investigators did not work. Morphew claims he uses the tranquilizer darts and gun to sedate deer and strip their antlers.
Morphews cellphone and Digital forensics Morphew’s truck information, both published in court documents, shows his whereabouts during the week of Suzanne’s disappearance.
The photos below show where his cell phone rang in the house on Saturday, May 9. When FBI agents asked Morphew why he was running that way, he said he was shooting chipmunks.
The prosecution believes that Morphew changed his phone in airplane mode the day Suzanne was murdered. Investigators believe she was killed on May 9, the day before she disappeared.
On May 9, Morphew replaced one of the blades on its Bobcat skid steer loader. Click here to view the telematics information of this equipment.
Photos of Morphew’s hands and arm have also been released, which investigators say show scratches Suzanne may have caused while trying to defend herself. Morphew says, instead, that the scratches were from tree branches and happened when he was looking for his missing wife.
Photos taken inside the Morphews’ home in Maysville reveal an unused shell casing left next to their main bed, as well as evidence of a cracked door frame in the same room. Additional photos show a bed, stripped of its sheets, in one of the girl’s bedrooms.
And, one of the more unusual pieces of evidence – a spy pen, captured audio recordings of conversations between Suzanne and Jeff Libler – a married father of six with whom she had an affair. The pen was found in the master bedroom closet. Libler was a high school friend of Suzanne. The investigation into his disappearance revealed that the two men had an affair for two years after moving from Indiana to Colorado.
Detectives didn’t learn who Libler was until more than six months after Suzanne disappeared.
On the day Suzanne was reported missing, Morphew had checked into a hotel in Broomfield, 150 miles from their home. He was there, he said, for construction work on a nearby retaining wall. Snapshots from surveillance footage captured Morphew bringing tons of items into his hotel room – he was also seen wearing different shirts as he entered and left his room that day.
Photos from the inquest show that Morphew also performed several trash runs that day at multiple locations.
Morphew left the yard when he and the couple’s daughters couldn’t reach Suzanne to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. Morphew returned home to find, what became, a massive research effort.
Morphew now faces a charge of first degree murder, as well as:
He is currently out of jail on $500,000 bond. He must reside in Chaffee County, but he can visit his daughters during the day in Gunnison and his attorneys in Denver.
The murder trial is scheduled for May 2020. Suzanne’s body has still not been found.