Suzanne Morphew is the married mother of two who vanished on Mother’s Day after going on a bike ride near her house in Chaffee County, Colorado. Investigators said a neighbor reported Morphew missing after she failed to return home.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office immediately began a thorough search the area, with the help of more than 100 law enforcement officials from Chaffee County Search and Rescue, the Department of Corrections and the Combined Tac Team. Drones and tracking dogs have also been used, but Morphew has not been found. The FBI has joined the investigation, along with other local agencies including the Salida Police Department. The sheriff’s office announced on May 15 that a personal item, believed to belong to Morphew, was found “just west of County Road 225 and Highway 50” and that search teams were focusing on that area.
As of May 25, law enforcement had still not found Morphew or located any further clues. Police say they searched a home along County Road 105 on the east side of Salida but have concluded that the homeowner was not involved in Morphew’s disappearance.
A dedicated tip line has been set up for information. Anyone with clues as to what may have happened to Morphew is asked to call 719-312-7530. The family also created a Facebook page to help spread the word.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. It’s Unclear How Long Morphew Had Been Gone Before a Neighbor Reported Her Missing & Investigators Say It’s Unlikely She Was Attacked By an Animal
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office says it received a call about a missing woman around 5:45 p.m. on May 10. Morphew was reported missing in the area of County Road 225 and West Highway 50 near Maysville, Colorado.
A neighbor told deputies Morphew had gone for a bike ride and never returned home. Her husband was away at the time. It was not immediately clear what time Morphew left her house or how frequently she may have taken long bike rides or hikes. Her nephew, Trevor Noel, says Morphew’s bike was found but details about the condition of the bike have not been shared.
But Sheriff John Spezze told CBS Denver that the department feels an animal attack is an unlikely scenario. He added that the case is not a criminal investigation at this point but the possibility of foul play has not been ruled out. On May 13, investigators blocked off Morphew’s neighborhood to traffic as the search continued.
2. Family Members Say Morphew’s Husband Was in Denver When She Disappeared & He’s Offering a Reward For Her Safe Return
Morphew’s husband, Barry Morphew, has offered a $100,000 reward for information about what happened to his wife. A family friend matched the offer, bringing the reward to $200,000 for info leading to Morphew’s safe return, “no questions asked,” according to the Denver Channel. Morphew’s family did not identify the friend. The Chaffee County Sheriff has not mentioned the reward and whether the department is coordinating with Morphew’s husband.
Friends of the Morphew family have also set up a GoFundMe campaign to help support the search efforts. The page says, “We have teams searching the hills, the towns, printing material, searching everywhere for her. We need $ to support our efforts and keeping everyone fueled and taken care of while we work.” As of this writing, the page had raised more than $19,000.
Family members say Barry Morphew was in Denver when a neighbor reported his wife missing. Denver is located about 150 miles northeast of Chaffee County.
3. Suzanne Morphew & Her Husband Barry Moved to Colorado From Indiana In 2018
The Morphew family is originally from the Midwest. Morphew’s husband, Barry, lists Alexandria, Indiana, as his hometown on his Facebook page and that he attended Purdue University.
According to property records, the Morphews moved from Arcadia, a small town about 35 miles north of Indianapolis, in 2018. She posted photos of their Arcadia house to Facebook in May 2018 after putting it on the market. Morphew wrote that the house sat on 13 acres of land and that the listing price was $895,000. Property records from Hamilton County, Indiana, indicate the property never sold and the Morphews still own it.
Property records in Chaffee County, Colorado, show the Morphews purchased their current home in April 2018 for $1,575,000. The house, which was built in 2008, sits on more than 7 acres of land.
4. Neighbors Describe the Community As a Safe Place Where People Keep Their Doors Unlocked
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office listed Morphew’s home as being in Maysville, which is a census-designated area with a population of about 135 people
I spoke with a few neighbors who do not know Suzanne personally, but tell me this is a very safe area and most people in town don’t even lock their doors. They say nothing like this has ever happened – that they are aware of. They say there are biking trails in the area. pic.twitter.com/WxXQv8qXoG
— Amber Jo Cooper (@AmberJoCooper) May 13, 2020
Images from the area show that it is a mountainous community where homes are tucked back into the trees. FOX21 reporter Amber Jo Cooper shared on social media that neighbors describe the community as very safe and that “most people in town don’t even lock their doors.”
5. Morphew Runs a NonProfit Charity Organization & Her Husband Is a Volunteer Firefighter
Morphew ran a charity organization that operated under her name. She started the Suzanne R. Morphew Hope Foundation in 2012, according to business records with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. Her husband was also listed as a principal.
Morphew formally dissolved the nonprofit organization in Indiana and relocated it to Colorado. It was registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office in February 2020, records show.
Morphew’s organization did not appear to have an operational website. It is listed with Propublica and Charity Navigator as a nonprofit entity in good standing, but neither indicates which causes Morphew may have focused her efforts on.
Morphew’s husband is a business owner. According to Indiana business records, he started a company called BLM Enterprises in 2004. He is also listed as an agent with BLM Landscaping in Indiana.
According to his Facebook page, Barry is a volunteer firefighter in Colorado. He wrote that he is a wildland firefighter at Chaffee County Fire Protection District.
The Morphews have two teenaged daughters.