05/18/2024

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Pictured: Suzanne Morphew and her bike.

Murdered Colorado woman’s autopsy years after she vanished on Mother’s Day bike ride raises obvious questions in light of ‘unknown male DNA’

Suzanne Morphew (inset) (Image via the Chaffee County, Colo. Sheriff’s Office), a photo of her bicycle from court documents.

Several months after Suzanne Morphew’s body was found, years following her Mother’s Day 2020 disappearance while riding her bike in Colorado, investigators have confirmed that she was the victim of a homicide and that an opioid and sedatives were in her system.

Morphew, 49, never returned home on May 10, 2020 after she went out for a bike ride in Chaffee County, and not longer after that investigators exclusively focused on her husband Barry Morphew as a murder suspect. But the case against Barry fell apart in the 11th Judicial District back in 2022, when the judge in the case identified discovery violations by prosecutors as “egregious” as failing the mention that unknown male DNA — which turned up in CODIS, a nationwide DNA database maintained by the FBI — was linked to sexual assaults in Chicago, Ill., as well as in Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz.

While the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) announced Monday that Suzanne Morphew was the victim of a homicide, investigators noted that her death was caused by “undetermined means in the setting of butorphanol, azaperone, and medetomidine intoxication.” The details shared about the presence of an opioid and sedatives raise obvious questions: Does the man whose DNA was linked to multiple unsolved sexual assaults have a modus operandi that involves drugging victims? Was Suzanne Morphew drugged, assaulted, and murdered by this unknown man? Did Suzanne’s killer use a firearm (we’ll get to that in a moment)? Where is this individual now and who else might be at immediate risk?

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    Recall that Barry Morphew sued because prosecutors and investigators knew “five months before Mr. Morphew’s arrest” — but did not disclose — that a serial sexual assault suspect’s DNA was found on “various items of the crime scene: the interior cushion of the bike helmet, Mrs. Morphew’s bike, the glovebox and back seat of Mrs. Morphew’s Range Rover.”

    Barry said that the state kept exculpatory hidden and “irreparably tarnished” his name all across America by accusing him of murdering his wife over an affair and their crumbling marriage.

    More Law&Crime coverage: Prosecutors in failed Barry Morphew murder case accused of plotting against judge, withholding evidence

    In September 2023, CBI agents searching an area in Moffat, Saguache County, in connection with a different case happened upon the remains of Suzanne Morphew, bringing a sudden end to a search that captivated the nation — and beyond.

    “While this case has garnered attention from around the world, it has touched our community and the sheriff’s office deeply,” Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said at the time. “We have never stopped our investigation and will continue to follow all leads in pursuit of justice for Suzanne.”

    Despite the legal case against their father, Barry Morphew’s daughters Mallory and Macy publicly supported him — both during and after his peril.

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    Their support continues to this day, as evidenced by the joint Morphew family statement issued through attorneys and reported by KMGH.

    “For the past four years the Morphews have agonized over Suzanne’s disappearance. This included not only the pain of the loss of their wife and mother but also the false accusations and prosecution of Barry Morphew,” the local ABC affiliate’s account of the statement began. “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. However, the Morphews are left with more questions than answers and a lack of justice for Suzanne, the family and the community.”

    From here, the Morphews reportedly said that the autopsy “confirms” that Suzanne was “abducted, allegedly drugged, and buried 50 miles south of their home.”

    “DNA left on her clothing by the murderer could bring justice for Suzanne, her family and the community,” the reported statement continued, raising another question about testing of a “bullet” in evidence. “The authorities will also not provide the Morphew’s [sic] any information regarding whether they have performed any testing on the bullet that was collected from Suzanne’s remains.”

    In closing, the Morphews also alluded to “the suspect.”

    “The authorities offered the victims, Barry, Mallory and Macy, the option to retrieve Suzanne’s remains, but they want to ensure the suspect is apprehended before they take what could be an important piece of evidence in the suspect’s prosecution,” they reportedly said.

    David Harris contributed to this report.

    The post Murdered Colorado woman’s autopsy years after she vanished on Mother’s Day bike ride raises obvious questions in light of ‘unknown male DNA’ first appeared on Law & Crime.