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Investigators believe Barry Morphew may have been “chasing” his wife, Suzanne, around the house before she disappeared last year.
Retired FBI Agent Jonathan Grusing took the stand in a preliminary hearing last week to provide new details about the last day Colorado mom, Suzanne Morphew, 49, was seen alive.
Although Suzanne wasn’t reported missing until May 10, 2020, the last known image of her alive was captured the day before. Suzanne sent a photo of herself sunbathing to a man she had been having an affair with for two years, at around 2:03 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, according to local station KDVR.
“Guess who is alone again??” she captioned the photo.
Barry later told investigators after seeing the photo that he thought his wife appeared drunk in the image.
Phone records and telematics from Barry’s truck show that he returned to the house not long after Suzanne sent the message, around 2:44 p.m. that afternoon, authorities said. Grusing testified that cell phone data appeared to show Barry running around the house immediately after his return.
According to an affidavit, investigators believed that Barry was “most likely chasing Suzanne around,” according to local station KMGH-TV.
In an interview with authorities, Barry told investigators that he had been shooting chipmunks on his property at the time, local station KCNC-TV.
Yet, Grusing said investigators believe Barry may have done something to his wife and testified that authorities later found the cap from a tranquilizer dart in the dryer at their home.
When questioned by defense attorney Dru Nielsen, Grusing conceded that no neighbors reported hearing any unusual sounds at the time. Nielsen also argued that the cell phone data showed Barry would have had to be moving so fast he was going through walls and moving at speeds not possible for a human.
Over the next few hours, investigators said data showed the doors of Barry’s truck opened and closed several times. The door opened and closed at 4:44 p.m. that afternoon and data showed the vehicle backed down the driveway around 5:25 p.m.
Nielsen has argued that Barry went to Salida Stove and Spa that afternoon between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and talked to several employees.
Early the next morning, around 2:53 a.m. data showed that an outgoing call was placed from Suzanne’s phone, KDVR reports.
Data also showed that Barry’s truck doors were opened and closed around 3:25 a.m. Grusing testified that phone data from Barry’s phone showed him near the location where Suzanne’s bike was found abandoned the later that day, although he acknowledged the data could not be considered conclusive.
The final ping on Suzanne’s phone came at 4:23 a.m., KMGH-TV reports. Barry’s phone was placed into airplane mode just minutes later around 4:31 a.m., he said.
The phone pinged again after 5:30 a.m. as Barry headed to Broomfield for a job. Just before 7 a.m., he used the phone to text Suzanne a happy Mother’s Day and told her that he loved her, authorities testified.
Grushing said data from the phone and truck—combined with surveillance footage that investigators later obtained—showed that Barry stopped five different times to throw things away in Broomfield, including at a bus stop, the hotel where he was staying, a Men’s Warehouse and a McDonald’s.
At the Men’s Warehouse location, he reportedly stayed in the parking lot for 40 minutes.
Barry would later tell a neighbor—who was concerned about Suzanne’s whereabouts—that he had been out working at a job site, yet authorities said evidence uncovered during their investigation showed that he didn’t leave his hotel room between 12:42 p.m. and 5:55 p.m.
Suzanne’s bike was recovered later that evening. Her body has never been found.
The preliminary hearing is expected to continue on Aug. 23 and 24.
Barry is facing charges of first-degree murder, attempting to influence a public servant, tampering with evidence and tampering with a deceased human body in his wife’s case.
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