As missing Colorado mother Suzanne Morphew still has not been found 15 months after her disappearance on Mother’s Day in 2020, prosecutors moved forward with a preliminary hearing on Monday detailing evidence suggesting her husband, Barry Morphew, is responsible for her murder.
Suzanne and Barry’s two daughters held hands and sobbed while sitting in the Chaffee County Courthouse Monday while prosecutors played out body camera footage showing the moments when deputies found their mother’s abandoned bicycle the same day she was first reported missing, FOX 21 reported.
Video showed a deputy calling out for Suzanne as he approached the navy blue bicycle with light blue pedals found near Highway 50 and County Road 225. Deputy Brown is heard noting that there is no blood at the scene, neither skid marks, brake marks, any sign of struggle or damage to the bicycle.
"Something is up with the front tire," a deputy says. They bring the bike up the hillside. A deputy also radios for someone sto contact the hospital.
Suzanne’s bike helmet wasn’t found until several days later while searchers canvassed the area on May 15, 2020. It was 8.4 miles away from the bike and had a piece of paper inside with her name, number, and family contact information, prosecutors noted. The helmet wasn’t damaged.
Monday’s testimony also revealed the shocking detail that Suzanne Morphew had been having an affair for two years with a man named Jeff Libler, whom she had attended high school with in Indiana. Law enforcement had found out about the affair in November, according to the first witness, Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office Commander Alex Walker. Walker said Libler was questioned and had met up with Suzanne six times, twice in Indiana.
Text messages between Suzanne Morphew and Shelia Oliver, a friend and college roommate, had revealed that Suzanne also thought Barry might have been having an affair of his own. The women spoke of enlisting a "spy pen," which was voice-activated, to help find out more information.
Investigators did not find any evidence that Barry Morphew was having an affair, but the pen's recordings revealed that Suzanne Morphew was, Walker said. The man she'd had an affair with for two years did not contact authorities after Suzanne Morphew disappeared but spoke to investigators once they identified who he was, Walker said.
In another recording captured by the pen which was difficult to hear, the Morphews seemed to be arguing about money, FBI agent Kenneth Harris testified. Harris said Barry had told investigators he was not aware of his wife's affair.
Walker authorized the 129-page arrest affidavit, which he says took him weeks to write and has largely remained under wraps until this point.
Suzanne's cell phone last pinged at 4:23 a.m. on May 10, 2020.
Walker, who testified that he was present when the deputies first found the bicycle, also told District Attorney Linda Stanley on Monday that he had been communicating with Suzanne and Barry’s daughter, Macy, earlier that Mother’s Day. She had taken a road trip that weekend with her sister, Mallory, and a friend, Holly, and grew concerned when her mother wasn’t answering her text messages.
When deputies first arrived at the Morphew home, body camera video shows Macy’s boyfriend, Miles Harvey, exiting the garage. He told deputies it was unusual that Suzanne’s car was still at the home but her bike was gone, as she usually takes her car with her before she sets out on the bike trail. He also tells deputies that he knows his girlfriend’s parents had problems in the past and talked about separating.
Footage shows Barry Morphew getting to the scene around 8:46 p.m. He is seen getting out of his truck and asks "Where was the bike?" and then, "Was there a crash?" According to Walker, Barry told him that "His worst scare was someone picking her up" and described Suzanne as his "angel."
He also told Walker that the RV park near their house was a suspicious location that needed to be checked and mentioned a mountain lion.
More than 110 search warrants were issued in connection to the case. The first was executed on May 11, 2020, on the Morphew home, including their vehicles. The house was taken over for 10 days before it was returned to the family. FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents came back again that July. Barry Morphew’s close friend, George Davis, helped organize initial search efforts for weeks.
The defense team on Monday also handed the prosecution an over 600-page packet of exhibits to be shown in court.
Besides being charged with killing his wife around May 10, 2020, which was Mother's Day, Barry Morphew is also accused of submitting a fraudulent vote on his wife's behalf for then-President Donald Trump in November's election.
Morphew is charged with tampering with his wife's deceased body around the time she was killed as well as with evidence in the case from last May through early March, about two months before he was arrested. He is also charged with illegally possessing a short rifle and using deceit to influence law enforcement officers from the time his wife disappeared until he was arrested.
The hearing was scheduled to continue Tuesday and resume again later this month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.