A Colorado man accused of murdering his wife, who has not been seen since Mother’s Day last year, initially told authorities he suspected a mountain lion played a part in her disappearance before changing his story several times to include a vast menagerie of other animals.
Suzanne Morphew was last seen alive leaving her home in Chaffee County for a bike ride the afternoon of May 10, 2020. Her disappearance sparked a massive search effort and investigation, ultimately culminating in the arrest of her husband, Barry Morphew. He was charged earlier this year with tampering with physical evidence and an attempt to influence a public servant as well as murder, even though Suzanne’s body has not been found.
On Monday, Morphew was spotted exiting the Chaffee County jail, his two daughters by his side, after posting a $500,000 cash bond. His release came the same day Colorado authorities released his arrest affidavit, providing further insight into Morphew’s interactions with law enforcement and what they believe are the steps he took to cover up his wife’s slaying.
According to investigators, Morphew uncovered details about Suzanne’s affair with a man who has since been identified as Jeff Libler. Upon realizing he would not be able to prevent her from leaving him, Morphew, an avid outdoorsman, “resorted to something he has done his entire life — hunt and control Suzanne like he had hunted and controlled animals,” according to the affidavit.
He initially told law enforcement that he left for work Mother’s Day morning last year around 5 a.m., but did not disclose the extra stops he made along the way. Based on a Telematics report on Morphew’s truck, officers believe that “from 2:47 p.m. May 9 until 5:37 a.m. May 10, he took steps to dispose of evidence of Suzanne’s disappearance and death,” according to the affidavit.
What’s more, data from his phone revealed Morphew left his home the following morning at 5:37 a.m. for a construction landscape project in Broomfield, the Denver Post reported. After he arrived, surveillance video and Google Map photos revealed that he made five different stops to toss some trash — first at his worksite, then near the Holiday Inn where he checked in and changed shirts, at a Men’s Wearhouse, at a McDonald’s restaurant and then at another dump.
Authorities said Morphew, in a bid to explain away his extra stops, cited unexpected run-ins with animals amid his commute.
“Since January 2021, Barry has admitted to: chasing a chipmunk with a gun around the house while Susan was outside sunbathing, shooting a deer with a tranquilizer dart to explain a dart and needle cap in the dryer, disposing of the tranquilizer solution during this trip to Broomfield, following a bull elk down Highway 50 in the 4:00 AM hour on the May 10th to explain why his truck would be headed west (where [a] helmet was discarded), and finally stating to the FBI on April 22, 2021 that he looks guilty from the evidence and God allowed these things to happen,” according to the affidavit.
Morphew is required to wear an ankle monitor while out on bond. His trial is scheduled to begin on May 3.