The husband of a Colorado woman who has been missing since May 10 has filed for guardianship in Indiana, where the couple lived with their two daughters until they moved to central Colorado in 2018.
Suzanne Morphew, 49, was reported missing less than a month ago when she reportedly failed to return home from a bike ride on Mother’s Day. Sources familiar with the case have said that her husband Barry Morphew was in Denver that weekend, working on a landscaping job, although authorities in Chaffee County have not confirmed this.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office has revealed very little about the ongoing investigation, but investigators are continuing to follow up on tips and leads. In late May, detectives searched a property in Salida, Colorado, that had been a job site for Barry Morphew’s independent landscaping business, and concluded the three-day search with an announcement that no evidence was found connecting the property to Suzanne Morphew’s disappearance.
CrimeOnline obtained documents from Hamilton Superior Court in Hamilton County, Indiana, showing that Barry Morphew filed a petition for guardianship of Suzanne Morphew on June 1.
The pending petition states that Suzanne Morphew “is deemed incapacitated under Indiana Law because she cannot be located upon reasonable inquiry.”
The document also states that Barry Morphew is requesting to sell real estate in Indiana on behalf of Suzanne, who is the joint owner of a property that is currently in contract and scheduled to close on June 6.
“The need exists for the appointment of a guardian of the alleged incapacitated person in that she cannot be located upon reasonable inquiry and property in Hamilton County, Indiana, needs to be sold,” the petition reads.
A member of Suzanne Morphew’s family who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Barry and Suzanne owned multiple rental properties in Indiana, and said they recalled Suzanne saying that the couple was planning on selling at least one of them. The family member said they were unaware of Barry Morphew’s petition for guardianship when CrimeOnline asked them to comment on the matter.
The court documents show that Suzanne and Barry Morphew’s eldest daughter, who is an adult, provided consent for her father to be appointed guardianship of Suzanne.
CrimeOnline was unable to locate definitively established guidelines in Indiana for appointing guardianship of a missing person.
“It’s the wild west. There’s no uniformity,” Catherine Seal, a Colorado-based attorney with practice areas of guardianship and elder law, said of guardianship law in the U.S.
“Guardianship is the red-headed stepchild of the probate court,” Seal, a senior partner at Kirland & Seal, LLC, added.
James McGuire, a staff attorney at the Indiana Supreme Court, said that Indiana Supreme Court lawyers could not comment on the guardianship petition because the case is still pending, and could potentially proceed to the higher court. Several private practice attorneys based in Indiana declined to comment, and the attorney representing Barry Morphew in the petition for guardianship did not immediately respond to an interview request.
CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s office has encouraged members of the public who may have information related to Suzanne Morphew’s disappearance to call the dedicated tip line at 719-312-7530.