Suzanne Morphew Vanished on Mother's Day in 2020: Inside the Twists and Turns of Homicide Case

Suzanne Morphew, a 49-year-old mother of two, vanished in 2020 on Mother's Day

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

suzanne morphew/Facebook

Barry Morphew and Suzanne Morphew

Four years ago today, Suzanne Morphew was believed to have gone on a Mother's Day bike ride when she vanished.

Her bike and helmet were found near the $1.75 million Mayville, Colo., home the 49-year-old shared with her husband Barry Morphew and their two daughters. She was nowhere to be found.

Law enforcement and Suzanne’s brother led extensive searches for her, but found nothing.

Then, in Sept. 2023, came a shocking discovery when her remains were found 50 miles away in Saguache County. Her cause of death was homicide, the medical examiner recently ruled.

On the fourth anniversary of the day Morphew was reported missing, questions about what happened — and how — still abound.

The biggest question is: Did her husband have anything to do with her disappearance and death?

Here’s what to know about the shocking case:

A Husband Accused

When Suzanne vanished, Barry posted an emotional video online pleading for her safe return, along with the FBI tipline number and the promise of a $200,000 reward.

Find Suzanne Morphew/Facebook Barry Morphew's plea for wife Suzanne's safe return
Find Suzanne Morphew/Facebook Barry Morphew's plea for wife Suzanne's safe return

Nearly a year later, on May 5, 2021, he was arrested and charged with murder after deliberation, tampering with physical evidence and attempting to influence a public servant, court records showed.

Related: Missing Colo. Mom Suzanne Morphew's Husband Arrested on First-Degree Murder Charge

Still missing, Suzanne was presumed dead. He vehemently denied the allegations.

AP/Shutterstock Barry Morphew in court
AP/Shutterstock Barry Morphew in court

Damning Evidence?

In Aug. 2021, now-retired FBI agent John Grusing testified during a preliminary hearing that investigators found a tranquilizer cap in the dryer of the Morphew’s home after Suzanne disappeared, CBS Denver reported.

In July 2021, prosecutors revealed that Suzanne texted Barry on May 6, 2020, and told him she was "done" and wanted to end the marriage, 9 News reported.

Related: Police Found Tranquilizer Dart Cap in Suzanne Morphew's Home After She Vanished

She had been having an affair with an old high school friend and was texting him the day before she was reported missing, court records show, KRDO reports.

Barry told authorities that the night before Suzanne went missing, they were “eating steaks, having sex, and going to bed early,” according to unsealed court documents, KRDO reports.

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

Suzanne Morphew/Facebook

Suzanne Morphew

But that same night, Suzanne was texting the man police said she was having an affair with and told him at one point in a LinkedIn message, “You’re the only real love I’ve known…the only love I want,” the court documents show, KRDO reports.

Alleged Deadly Chase

When Barry got home on May 9, 2020, he began "moving in a pattern around the outside of the house," cell data records allegedly showed, Grusing testified, according to reporting by 9News. Barry was "most likely chasing Suzanne around," Grusing alleged in an affidavit, 9 News reported.

Barry told authorities he was shooting chipmunks. His lawyers argued that cell phone data showed him traveling at a rate of 45 mph and could not have been on foot, 9 News reports.

That Sunday, when Suzanne was reported missing, Barry was on a business trip, where investigators claimed he made five trash runs, 9News and Fox 21 reports.

Charges Against Barry Dropped

Barry pleaded not guilty to the charges and in April 2022, authorities dropped the charges against him, the Colorado Judicial Department told PEOPLE at the time.

However, a judge granted a request by prosecutors to dismiss the charges without prejudice, allowing prosecutors to file the charges against Barry at a later date.

At a press conference afterward, Barry’s attorney Iris Eytan blasted the prosecution, saying, “The prosecution was manufacturing a murder case. You've seen shows called 'Making a Murderer?' That's what was happening here in this courtroom … They absolutely dismissed this case at this point because they knew they were going to lose this trial and Mr. Morphew was going to be acquitted and exonerated."

Adding to the mystery, prosecutors said they found three unknown DNA matches on the glove compartment of Suzanne’s vehicle, 9 News reported. One was a partial match to an unknown male who was connected to sexual assault cases in other states. Barry’s DNA was not part of that sample, his lawyers said.

Barry's Lawsuit

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, claiming they violated his constitutional rights, according to a complaint reviewed by PEOPLE.

Autopsy Shows Homicide — by Animal Tranquilizer Cocktail

In September 2023, Suzanne’s remains were found in Saguache County. In late April, the El Paso County coroner’s office released her autopsy report saying she died by homicide, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. The report stated she was killed “by undetermined means in the setting of butorphanol, azaperone, and medetomidine intoxication."

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The autopsy stated that the mix of drugs is "marketed as a compounded immobilizer for wildlife" — or an animal tranquilizer, KKTV reports.

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

One of Barry's lawyers reiterated that her client is innocent, saying the tranquilizer found in Suzanne's body was "a very common animal tranquilizer," 9 NEWS reported.

Another Trial?

Now that Suzanne’s death was ruled a homicide, prosecutors could potentially file charges against Barry again.

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

“We will continue to follow the evidence and seek justice for Suzanne,” Anne Kelly, District Attorney for the 12th Judicial District of Colorado said in a statement, the Associated Press and ABC News report.

An attorney for Barry said Barry's tranquilizer gun was not working at the time of her disappearance, according to the AP.

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