Fri, 01 Dec 2023

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Searchers have found the remains of a woman who was reported missing on Mother's Day in 2020 after she did not return from a bike ride near her home in the Salida area in southern Colorado.

Agents with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation found the remains of Suzanne Morphew, 49, during an unrelated search near the small southern Colorado town of Moffat on Friday, and she was positively identified Wednesday. Investigators did not say what the unrelated search involved and declined to release the exact location and the state of the remains.

Moffat is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Salida.

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Morphew's husband, Barry Morphew, had been charged with murder and other crimes in her presumed death, but prosecutors dropped their case against him last year just as he was about to go on trial.

"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 Wednesday. "We have never stopped our investigation and will continue to follow all leads in pursuit of justice for Suzanne."

The sheriff said "we are left with many more questions than answers," and he declined to be interviewed or to hold a news conference. District Attorney Anne Kelly, whose jurisdiction covers the area where Morphew's body was found, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Barry Morphew after they were barred by a judge from calling most of their key witnesses for repeatedly failing to follow rules for turning over evidence in his favor. That included DNA evidence linked to sexual assault cases in other states that raised the possibility of a different person being involved.

At the time, prosecutors said they wanted more time to find Suzanne Morphew's body. Barry Morphew's lawyers announced in April they had filed a complaint asking that the prosecutors be disciplined for allegedly intentionally withholding evidence in the case.

Barry Morphew filed a $15 million lawsuit in May against prosecutors and investigators, accusing them of violating his constitutional rights. His attorney, Iris Eytan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The charges against Morphew were dismissed without prejudice, leaving the door open should prosecutors later decide to pursue a case against him again.

Source: Courthouse News Service

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