Live round found next to bed of Colorado woman presumed dead

Aug 23, 2021, 2:11 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm

SALIDA, Colo. (AP) — An unused .22-caliber round was found next to the bed of a Colorado woman who disappeared last year and whose husband is charged with killing her, and a tranquilizer gun and accessories were also found in the couple’s home, investigators testified Monday.

Prosecutors also showed body camera footage of Barry Morphew with deputies at the couple’s home on May 10, 2020, the day his wife Suzanne Morphew was reported missing by a neighbor, during the third day of a court hearing to determine if he will stand trial, The Denver Post reported.

The deputies were looking for an item of Suzanne Morphew’s clothing to help tracking dogs find her. It was the first time Barry Morphew had been in the house in the mountains of southern Colorado since his wife was reported missing and he acted oddly and did not try to look around for her, Chaffee County Undersheriff Andy Rohrich testified.

“He’s not even trying to call her phone,” he said. “This is the last place, according to his testimony, that he’s seen his wife alive and he’s not asking any questions.”

Barry Morphew, 53, is charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the death of Suzanne Morphew — whose body has not been found — after pleading for her safe return on social media. He has not yet been asked to enter a plea.

When Suzanne Morphew disappeared, investigators photographed injuries on Barry Morphew’s hands and scratches on his left arm that appeared to be caused by fingernails, Rohrich said.

Defense attorney Iris Eytan, countered Rohrich’s description of Barry Morphew’s behavior, pointing out that he only been asked by deputies to help them get some clothing, not start investigating.

“He followed the task as directed by law enforcement,” she said.

Investigators found a dart gun, empty tranquilizer darts and a needle used to inject tranquilizer chemical into darts in the house and Barry Morphew’s gun safe, retired FBI agent Jonathan Grusing testified. A cap used to cover the injecting needle was also found in the dryer along with clothes and bedsheets from one of the couple’s daughters, he said. However, no tranquilizer chemical was found and there is no way to know how long the needle cap had been in the dryer, Grusing said during cross-examination by another of Barry Morphew’s attorneys, Dru Nielsen.

Rohrich did not testify about how the live round may have factored into Suzanne Morphew’s death.

The testimony presented by prosecutors so far suggests they believe Barry Morphew killed Suzanne Morphew on May 9, 2020 — the day before Mother’s Day — before leaving for work in the Denver area the following morning, stopping at several trash bins there.

The hearing was scheduled to end Tuesday.

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Live round found next to bed of Colorado woman presumed dead