Updated: 7:03 ET:
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office has released an update on the Suzanne Morphew missing persons investigation. According to the statement, investigators have determined that the volunteer search effort organized by Suzanne’s brother Andy Morphew has not at this time yielded physical evidence in connection to her disappearance. The statement also says that none of the three locations that investigators searched in response to potential discoveries made by volunteer searchers are located on properties owned by anyone in the Morphew family.
CrimeOnline is awaiting further comment from investigators. Below is the statement in full:
With the private search by Andrew Moorman concluding on September 29, 2020, the Suzanne Morphew Missing Person Investigative Task Force, consisting of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office provides a recap of the search for Suzanne over the last several days, and since she went missing on May 10, 2020.
As reported previously, the law enforcement team responded to collect several pieces of possible evidence found by the searchers across the county, and will continue to follow-up to determine if there is any connection to Suzanne’s disappearance.
Also this week, members of the law enforcement task force responded to the report of human remains trained dogs “alerting” on three separate properties in Chaffee County. To clarify, none of these properties are owned by members of the Morphew family. One of the locations investigated by the task force was along the Arkansas River in the county. The dog handler used on that private property was interviewed by our team and explained that the dogs did not “alert” to anything on the property but did show interest. Our law enforcement team obtained consent from the property owner, and after further investigation, including working with the private human remains dogs on the property, it was determined this was not a viable lead in this case.
A second property near the Morphew home was also investigated after the same dog team alerted to an area on that private property. Our investigation team, immediately upon being notified, secured the scene and provided around the clock security until investigators from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s office, FBI and CBI arrived. This location of interest on the private property, with the consent of the property owner, was investigated extensively by members of the task force, and found to have no evidentiary significance to the case.
A third location was also identified in unincorporated Chaffee County near Salida on private property where a different pair of human remains dogs alerted. Also, once alerted, our team responded immediately and secured the property providing security around the clock. This morning our team, along with the FBI and CBI, and with consent of the property owner, excavated this location and once again, nothing of evidentiary value to the Suzanne Morphew case was located.
The Suzanne Morphew Missing Person Investigative Task Force remains dedicated to determining what happened to Suzanne. “The level of commitment from the entire team from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, CBI and FBI investigators is unprecedented and unparalleled,” said Sheriff John Spezze. “While the public may not see all of the effort being put forth in this case, I can assure the community that this investigation continues to move forward.”
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to assigning financial and staffing resources to this case, as leads continue to be extensively followed up on by investigators. “The investigative task force remains resolved in their commitment to finding Suzanne, and our hearts go out to her family and friends,” said Sheriff Spezze.
Anyone with information that could assist law enforcement in locating Suzanne Morphew is encouraged to call 719-312-7530.
Suzanne Morphew missing person Investigative Task Force Recap since May 10:
1,123 Total tips called to the designated tip line (includes hang-ups and duplicates).
180 Interviews conducted in Colorado, Indiana and other locations. This number does not take into account the hundreds of other contacts made between investigators and individuals as part of this case since May.
130+ Searches conducted (including warrants, which remained sealed at this time)
4,000+ Hours spent by Task Force investigators on the case.
Prior to an expected announcement from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office about the investigation into the disappearance of Suzanne Morphew, a new report appears to show law enforcement activity near a site where cadaver dogs reportedly detected a human scent during a volunteer search.
The day after Suzanne’s brother Andy Moorman reportedly said that trained cadaver dogs indicated the presence of human remains at multiple locations during a large-scale volunteer search effort, the Daily Mail published photos of people identified in the report as federal investigators at a plot of land reportedly owned by Suzanne’s husband Barry Morphew, located about 20 minutes from the couple’s Maysville home.
According to the Daily Mail report, investigators are searching a plot of land in Salida’s Longhorn Ranch district that Barry Morphew reportedly purchased in recent months. At this time, CrimeOnline cannot independently verify that investigators are at the scene or if the area shown in the photographs is land owned by Barry Morphew.
On Monday, following multiple reports that cadaver dogs had “hit” on a scent, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office released a statement denying that human remains had been found.
“Contrary to some media reports, there have been no remains found in the Suzanne Morphew case,” the statement read. “There have been a handful of potential leads that have been pursued as a result of the volunteer search; however, nothing has been identified as related to Suzanne’s disappearance. Investigators will not comment on specific leads being investigated or other information connected with this case.”
Also on Monday, Moorman was cited in two reports, published in the Daily Mail and the local news station KDVR, as a source for the news about cadaver dogs picking up on a scent. But in a more recent report, published in the Colorado Springs-based news outlet The Gazette, Moorman is cited as saying he had found no physical evidence connected to the disappearance.
“It’s exhausting,” Moorman told The Gazette. “We’ve found some things: a blanket, a towel and a tarp. We’ve turned them over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.”
“There’s no point in speculating,” Moorman reportedly said. “Reporters saw dog behavior and jumped the gun.”
A spokesperson for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation told CrimeOnline that the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office is expected to release an additional statement on Tuesday.
Early in the investigation, Barry Morphew offered a $100,000 reward for information that led to the return of his wife. That amount was matched by an unidentified family friend, bringing to total reward to $200,000. Also in the early days of the investigation, Suzanne Morphew’s nephew Trevor Noel acted as a family spokesperson and gave multiple media interviews. He has since stopped speaking publicly, and did not respond to a request for comment this week from CrimeOnline.
Anyone who has any information on the whereabouts of Suzanne Morphew is asked to call the dedicated tip line: 719-312-7530.
Read more of CrimeOnline’s extensive coverage of the Suzanne Morphew case here.
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