A Colorado man who issued a tearful video plea for his missing wife’s safe return last year has now been charged with her murder, in a case that has captivated U.S. media.
Barry Lee Morphew was arrested Wednesday on charges of murder after deliberation, tampering with physical evidence and attempting to influence a public servant in connection with the death of Suzanne Morphew, 49, who has been missing since last Mother’s Day.
The victim’s body has not been found but prosecutors are confident in the case against her husband, according to 11th Judicial District Attorney Linda Stanley.
“Today is a good day for Suzanne. As far as I’m concerned this day is all about Suzanne, and her family, and those who loved and cared for her,” Stanley said Wednesday, according to CBS4.
Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze says the victim is believed to be dead. No additional arrests are expected, he said.
The charges come nearly one year to the day since Suzanne Morphew, a mother of two, disappeared while out for a bike ride in Maysville, Colo., on May 10, 2020. Her neighbour reported her missing that day after she failed to return home, touching off a sweeping search-and-rescue effort in the area.
Barry Lee Morphew joined the effort by recording an emotional Facebook video plea for her safe return.
“Oh Suzanne, if anyone is out there that can hear this, that has you, please — we’ll do whatever it takes to bring you back,” he said in the video, which captured headlines at the time.
“We love you. We miss you. Your girls need you. No questions asked, however much they want. I will do whatever it takes to get you back. Honey, I love you and I want you back so bad.”
It’s unclear when Morphew became a suspect. However, Suzanne Morphew’s brother, Andy Moorman, told Dr. Phil last October that he believed her husband had killed her.
Moorman had led his own search effort earlier in the year.
Morphew also put the couple’s home up for sale last October. He told CBS4 at the time that his daughters were terrified of the property and that he wanted to move to avoid media scrutiny. He also shared several love notes with the broadcaster at the time.
Stanley says the arrest affidavit is sealed, and she declined to discuss why the victim’s husband was charged with murder.
The investigation involved 70 investigators, 135 search warrants and interviews with over 400 people in multiple states, the sheriff said.
Barry Lee Morphew was assigned two public defenders on Thursday after appearing in court for an advisement hearing. One of them declined multiple requests for comment as per office policy.
Morphew is due back in court on May 27.
—With files from The Associated Press