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Body Cams Reveal Barry Morphew Asked If Suzanne Morphew Was Mountain Lion's Victim
“Lion, mountain lion?” Barry Morphew asked just moments after arriving at the scene where his missing wife's bike was discovered, though mountain lion attacks are uncommon in Colorado.
Shortly after Barry Morphew arrived on the scene where his wife’s bicycle had been found in an embankment, he suggested the possibility that a mountain lion had been responsible for his wife’s disappearance.
Morphew’s initial reaction to the bike’s discovery is just one of the new revelations from a series of body camera videos released to the public this week after the videos were shown in Chaffee County court on Tuesday, according to local station KMGH-TV.
Another video obtained by The Denver Gazette depicts Chaffee County deputies discovering the bike on the evening of May 10, 2020 and calling out to Suzanne — whose body has never been found — as they search the wooded area.
And yet another shows Miles Harden, the boyfriend of one of the Morphews’ daughters, acknowledging to deputies that he was aware there had been “some problems” between the couple in the past.
Barry Morphew is facing charges of first-degree murder in the death of his wife; authorities alleged that he killed her and then tried to stage it to appear like his wife may have encountered trouble while out for one of her regular bike rides.
Chaffee County Sheriff’s deputies Damon Brown and Sgt. Lamine Mullenax discovered Suzanne Morphew’s blue bike along the side of a hill just off the road around 7:31 p.m. on May 10, 2020.
Barry arrived at the scene later that night and can be seen in the footage getting out of his truck and approaching deputies.
“Where is it? Where’s the bike?” Barry said, before asking “Is it a crash?”
The deputy on the scene responded by saying he didn’t see any damage to the bike to suggest that Suzanne had crashed.
“Lion, mountain lion?” Barry asked. (Mountain lion attacks are fairly rare in Colorado: The Denver Post reported in November 2021 that, though sightings are up, there had been only 25 attacks on humans in more than 30 years, and only three had been fatal. Mountain lions tend to only act aggressively towards humans when they perceive danger to their food or kittens.)
The deputy told Barry that he “didn’t see anything” that would indicate there had been an attack and said the bike had just been lying along the side of the hill.
Barry later told one of the deputies that Suzanne “rides this road” and “goes up to the top” before getting onto nearby trails — but in a separate video, Harden told officers it would be “out of character” for Suzanne to have gone up the trail and said she hadn’t gone there in the past.
“The climb at the beginning is really hard and I think that it would be out of character for her to do that,” he said, adding that it was a “crazy climb” to get up the hill and that most people have to walk their bikes up.
As he stood outside the Morphew family’s home, Harden told law enforcement officers he had been searching for Suzanne for over an hour after she was reported missing, checking on some of the nearby trails but had not gone up the trail near where her bike was found because it was “not really rideable.”
In a separate video, obtained by the local paper, deputies asked Harden about the relationship between Barry and Suzanne.
“Did Barry and Suzanne get along pretty well?” the deputy asked.
When Harden appeared to hesitate in responding, his father — who was standing next to him — urged him to “answer honestly.”
“You know, I think they’ve had some problems, yeah, in the past,” he said, characterizing it as “normal husband and wife type deals.”
When the deputy asked whether they had talked about separating, Harden said, “They have.”
Earlier this week, Judge Ramsey Lama agreed to move Morphew's trial out of Chaffee County to Fremont County after concluding that the “pretrial publicity in this case has been so massive, pervasive and prejudicial, that the Defendant will not receive a fair trial in Chaffee County,” according to an order obtained by Oxygen.com.
Lama noted Chaffee County’s small size — there are just 16,535 residents over the age of 18 who would be able to serve on the jury — in his decision to move the trial to a larger locale.