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SALIDA, Colo. — Even though Suzanne Morphew’s remains have been found, her memory and presence are still alive in Salida, the Chaffee County community where she lived.
On Thursday morning, a day after her body was discovered near the town of Moffat, a sign and bench marked with #ShinebrightSuzanne were visible outside Wild Horses Salon.
A friend of Suzanne works at the salon and she said when the news broke Wednesday of the discovery of the remains, she was overwhelmed with sadness.
Over the past several years, Tisha Leeway said she has worked to keep Suzanne’s memory alive through organized search parties around Salida and has followed every twist and turn of the case.
“I guess we’re going to start over because now the sheriff’s office and the FBI and CBi said what they needed was her body,” Leeway told Denver7 reporter Claire Lavezzorio on Thursday. “So now they have her body, so now let’s finish the job.”
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) announced on Wednesday Suzanne’s remains were discovered near Moffat, which is around 45 miles south of Maysville, where Suzanne was last seen.
The CBI said the discovery happened during a search on an unrelated investigation on September 22 and that the remains were positively identified as Morphew’s on Wednesday by the El Paso County Coroner.
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Suzanne’s husband, Barry Morphew was initially accused of killing her when she went missing in May of 2020 but the case was eventually dismissed in April of 2022.
Morphew was initially charged with first-degree murder after deliberation, tampering with physical evidence, among other charges.
But in April 2022, the prosecution asked the court to drop the charges without prejudice giving two reasons for the dismissal, including the fact that Suzanne’s body had not been found at the time and that if and when human remains were discovered, forensic evidence gathered could incubate or exculpate Barry Morphew, prosecutors said.
After prosecutors dropped charges, Barry Morphew filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking $15 million over his arrest. In that lawsuit he claimed his Constitutional rights were violated and that his arrest affidavit included false and misleading information. He has maintained his innocence.
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Denver7 anchor and attorney Jessica Crawford explained that ‘without prejudice’ means he could be charged again if prosecutors discover any new evidence, including forensic evidence from Suzanne’s remains.
Barry Morphew’s attorneys maintained there was no physical evidence connecting him to Suzanne’s death.
Meanwhile in Salida, Tisha Leeway, Suzanne’s friend told Denver7 she hopes the discovery of Suzanne will help investigators find the missing piece to what truly happened and that she’s thankful her friend can finally be laid to rest.
Denver7’s Stephanie Butzer has followed this case since 2020 and contributed to this report.
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