Will Animal Tranquilizer Found in Suzanne Morphew's Body Lead to Re-Filed Murder Charges Against Husband?

Barry Morphew was previously charged with murder, though the charges were dropped

<p>Chaffee County Sheriff

Chaffee County Sheriff's Office

Barry Morphew, left, and Suzanne Morphew

The ruling that Suzanne Morphew’s death was a homicide could mean prosecutors could once again seek to file charges in connection with her case, which has been open since the Colorado woman's 2020 disappearance.

Suzanne, a mother of two, went missing after going on a bike ride on Mother's Day nearly four years ago. Her remains were found in Saguache County in September 2023.

A coroner’s report, reported by multiple outlets including KKTV and The Associated Press, detailing the circumstances of Suzanne’s death revealed that she was killed “by undetermined means in the setting of butorphanol, azaperone, and medetomidine intoxication.” The substances found in her system is a combination that's marketed as an animal tranquilizer.

Related: Cause of Death Revealed for Suzanne Morphew Years After She Vanished on Mother's Day Bike Ride

In May 2021, before her remains were found, Suzanne’s husband, Barry Morphew, an avid hunter, was arrested and charged with murder in her case. But he has vociferously denied the allegation and in 2022 the charges were dropped, albeit without prejudice, meaning prosecutors could decide to re-file.

<p>Suzanne Morphew/Facebook</p> Suzanne Morphew

Suzanne Morphew/Facebook

Suzanne Morphew

Years before the discovery of Suzanne’s remains, authorities found a dart gun and materials used to inject tranquilizer into darts in Barry’s gun safe, Colorado Public Radio reported. No tranquilizer chemicals were found in the home. CPR reported that Barry claimed he used the darts to remove deer antlers without killing the animals.

The AP reported that Colorado Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Schaefer did not say whether new charges would be filed against Barry in the wake of the cause of death reveal. Assisting in the ongoing investigation is the district attorney’s office for the 12th Judicial District of Colorado.

“We will continue to follow the evidence and seek justice for Suzanne,” District Attorney Anne Kelly in a statement, reported by the AP.

Barry has previously accused prosecutors of having “tunnel vision”. CPR reported that his legal team released a statement following the recent update in the case.

<p>suzanne morphew/Facebook</p> Barry, left, and Suzanne Morphew

suzanne morphew/Facebook

Barry, left, and Suzanne Morphew

“The Morphews have prayed the authorities would remove their blinders and not only find Suzanne, but find the suspect responsible for her disappearance and murder,” the statement reads. “However, the Morphews are left with more questions than answers and a lack of justice for Suzanne, the family and the community.”

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The AP reported that an attorney for Barry claims that evidence suggests that someone else abducted and killed Suzanne. The attorney says Barry's tranquilizer gun was not working at the time of her disappearance.

Barry's legal team has also claimed the tranquilizer found during Suzanne's autopsy is "a very common animal tranquilizer," 9 News reported.

In May 2023, Barry filed a $15 million suit in federal court against multiple entities and officials, including Chaffee County, 11th Judicial District Attorney Linda Stanley and Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze, among others, accusing them of violating his constitutional rights, according to a complaint reviewed by PEOPLE.

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